Originally posted by curry: Some piano makes are said to have a much longer rate of decay,Steinway, M&H, Bosie, Grotrian, Estonia, etc.They sustain or sing longer. Other makes like some of the asians, are described by many as having a short rate of decay.This makes playing some types of music like classical sound choppy.Players of jazz and other pop music like this and don't mind the sacrifice.
This is an interesting observation. And one which I shared until I actually started building pianos. Our upright had particularly good sustain qualities, especially through the upper third of the scale. When we started showing the piano I fully expected the classical pianists to notice and be impressed by this. But such was not to be.
The classically trained pianists — for the most part, there were some noted exceptions — raved about the precision of the action, the reliable repetition, the touch and feel of the action, etc. Few noticed or commented at all about the tone or voice of the piano.
It was the jazz pianists who came in for a quick look-see and ended up staying for hours. It was the jazz pianists who stretched the piano to its acoustical limits, especially exploring the extremes of pianissimo and the depth of the dynamic range — qualities that largely went unnoticed by the bulk of the classical crowd.
My business partner is a jazz musician (mostly sax but he also plays the piano professionally) and, though his piano training was classical, he is the last one I’d ask to evaluate the touch and feel of an action. He’ll play anything! It is his observation that, since jazz pianists are so often required to play on pianos that are in truly horrible condition, they actively work to ignore the performance of action. But he is also the one who has been prodding me to keep working on soundboard theory to improve both sustain time and the rate, or slope, of decay. It’s never (well, rarely) enough. “The notes have to connect…” Especially through “the melody line…,” or the fifth to seventh octave.
I realize this is a generalization but, after observing several thousands of pianists of varying skill levels and musical tastes, I’d say the bulk of the classically trained pianist pay more attention to the performance — the precision and control — of the action and the bulk of the jazz pianists pay more attention to the overall sound and voice of the piano.