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"Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book)

Posted By: sue_deutscher

"Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/26/08 07:23 PM

I am reading "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize. She mentions this website in her book, and that is how I found this website.

It's a book about finding the perfect piano for her. It is beautifully written and I highly recommend it.
Posted By: BB Player

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/26/08 07:30 PM

Sue,

See this thread for more discussion about Grand Obsession.
Posted By: sue_deutscher

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/26/08 07:47 PM

okay, thanks
Posted By: songwrks

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 12/09/18 09:33 PM

I loved it, too!
Posted By: cmb13

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 12/10/18 01:47 AM

Way to reopen an old thread! I should put this on my list.
Posted By: PianogrlNW

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 12/10/18 04:11 AM

I did not find this book witty or charming. I thought the author was a bit off kilter in her search for a piano with the perfect sound. I personally know an excellent technician who she complained about in the book - not cool in my opinion. It was a very self-absorbed inward-looking book. This book came up in a thread on this forum a few months ago.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 12/10/18 12:53 PM

There was something puzzling about this book. IF I remember correctly the key to getting the sound the author liked was the "Schubert tuning" used by the technician that prepped the piano for the dealer. If that's the case, why wasn't that brought up by the technician or the dealer as soon as the author found she didn't like the sound of the piano anymore because it sounded different from the sound in the showroom? Why was it necessary to send the original tech all the way from NYC to the author's home? It seems like the tech could have just told the next tuner to use that tuning and saved a lot time and grief.
Posted By: Beemer

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 12/10/18 01:15 PM

I found the last chapter a struggle to understand her to-and-fro travels both physically and in her mind. Perhaps we all have had a feeling that we once played a piano that we felt was the ultimate in tone and action for us. The flaw in that approach is that all pianos change their character over time and so does our mind.
An analogy could be if we pine for a relationship with a first or a lost love, or that the best of our time was in the past.

Her journey also involved her musical perception changing as her ability improved.

Ian
Posted By: Meaghanw

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 12/10/18 01:51 PM

I, too, loved the book.
Posted By: dhull100

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 12/12/18 01:10 PM

The book isn't without merit, but I wouldn't wish her tortured dissatisfaction on anyone.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 12/12/18 02:04 PM

Such varied opinions!
Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 12/12/18 07:34 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13
Such varied opinions!

I was thinking the same thing.
Posted By: John305

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 12/12/18 08:41 PM

I was thinking about getting this book, but now I’m not sure.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 12/12/18 08:53 PM

Originally Posted by John305
I was thinking about getting this book, but now I’m not sure.

I just ordered her book off of Amazon and will be judging myself. But the author used to be a PW member, although she hasn't been on. I wonder what has been happening in these intervening years? Is she still in love with her piano that was the book's raison d'être?
Posted By: Stubbie

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 12/12/18 10:20 PM

I enjoyed the book, but found the latter parts of it somewhat less so. The part I enjoyed most was earlier in the book when she took up lessons.
Posted By: Fidel

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 12/12/18 10:34 PM

I loved the book because it is a wonderful example of how neurotic pianists get over their piano!

Personally, the piano is important but not THAT important. When you step on stage you HAVE TO play whatever is there. Pianists need the skill of being able to play good, bad and indifferent pianos. Find something decent and start practicing! The better you get, the better a piano becomes.
Posted By: dhull100

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 12/13/18 01:00 PM

Originally Posted by John305
I was thinking about getting this book, but now I’m not sure.


Read and decide for yourself. Many people like it a lot.
Posted By: piqué

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/20/19 10:06 PM

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
There was something puzzling about this book. IF I remember correctly the key to getting the sound the author liked was the "Schubert tuning" used by the technician that prepped the piano for the dealer. If that's the case, why wasn't that brought up by the technician or the dealer as soon as the author found she didn't like the sound of the piano anymore because it sounded different from the sound in the showroom? Why was it necessary to send the original tech all the way from NYC to the author's home? It seems like the tech could have just told the next tuner to use that tuning and saved a lot time and grief.



Hahahahaha! That is absolutely hilarious.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/20/19 10:23 PM

Originally Posted by piqué
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
There was something puzzling about this book. IF I remember correctly the key to getting the sound the author liked was the "Schubert tuning" used by the technician that prepped the piano for the dealer. If that's the case, why wasn't that brought up by the technician or the dealer as soon as the author found she didn't like the sound of the piano anymore because it sounded different from the sound in the showroom? Why was it necessary to send the original tech all the way from NYC to the author's home? It seems like the tech could have just told the next tuner to use that tuning and saved a lot time and grief.



Hahahahaha! That is absolutely hilarious.

Welcome back to PW, pique! I am really liking your book. Just finished reading Chapter 6 Piano World! wink

How is "Marlene," still?
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/20/19 11:12 PM

Originally Posted by piqué
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
There was something puzzling about this book. IF I remember correctly the key to getting the sound the author liked was the "Schubert tuning" used by the technician that prepped the piano for the dealer. If that's the case, why wasn't that brought up by the technician or the dealer as soon as the author found she didn't like the sound of the piano anymore because it sounded different from the sound in the showroom? Why was it necessary to send the original tech all the way from NYC to the author's home? It seems like the tech could have just told the next tuner to use that tuning and saved a lot time and grief.
Hahahahaha! That is absolutely hilarious.
Did I remember things incorrectly? What do you mean?
Posted By: cmb13

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/21/19 12:14 AM

Originally Posted by piqué


Hahahahaha! That is absolutely hilarious.


Wow, a visitor from the past! Grand Obsession is on my list of books to read. What a story and what an accomplishment, not only with regards to the piano but writing the memoir in a novel! Some of us newer PW members would love to have you around some more!
Posted By: piqué

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/21/19 12:23 AM

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by piqué
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
There was something puzzling about this book. IF I remember correctly the key to getting the sound the author liked was the "Schubert tuning" used by the technician that prepped the piano for the dealer. If that's the case, why wasn't that brought up by the technician or the dealer as soon as the author found she didn't like the sound of the piano anymore because it sounded different from the sound in the showroom? Why was it necessary to send the original tech all the way from NYC to the author's home? It seems like the tech could have just told the next tuner to use that tuning and saved a lot time and grief.
Hahahahaha! That is absolutely hilarious.
Did I remember things incorrectly? What do you mean?


If anybody had known any of that at the beginning of my journey of course there would have been no problem--And no book.

But what is funny is the idea that there is something really called the Schubert concert tuning that the dealer or any tech would know about. As I think was pretty clear in the book, it was just something that Marc made up. I think you've forgotten most of what the story is about. smile
Posted By: piqué

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/21/19 12:25 AM

Oh i drop in once in a while. smile What inspired a visit this time is a very old friend of mine--someone i go back 30 years with--is in the midst of a piano search and she mentioned she's been hanging out here. Just trying to snoop on her. wink
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/21/19 12:39 AM

Originally Posted by piqué


If anybody had known any of that at the beginning of my journey of course there would have been no problem--And no book.

But what is funny is the idea that there is something really called the Schubert concert tuning that the dealer or any tech would know about. As I think was pretty clear in the book, it was just something that Marc made up. I think you've forgotten most of what the story is about. smile
What do you mean by he made it up? He just made up the name for a special tuning he used or it was an historical tuning or? In either case it seems like he could have told that to a tech in your area who could have duplicated the tuning. I was at a presentation you and Marc did at Beethoven pianos and I believe he referred to it as a Schubert tuning.
Posted By: huaidongxi

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/21/19 12:55 AM

count myself among the many readers who found Grand Obsession informative and entertaining. quite a feat of non fiction in a specialized realm, made very accessible and vivid. the notion of 'schubert tuning' has intrigued me since. the tuner who worked on our vintage (pre-aeolian) mason & hamlin tunes solely by ear, not devices, and it's among the most colorful equal temperament tunings in my limited experience. schubert strikes me as potentially benefitting from a temperament that enhances his constant modulations. peace + namaste, Ms.Knize
Posted By: nancyde

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/21/19 01:20 AM

I absolutely loved the book and I cannot believe I am getting to actually "meet" you.
Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/21/19 12:36 PM

You just never know who will be dropping by PW!
Posted By: piqué

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/21/19 05:31 PM

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by piqué


If anybody had known any of that at the beginning of my journey of course there would have been no problem--And no book.

But what is funny is the idea that there is something really called the Schubert concert tuning that the dealer or any tech would know about. As I think was pretty clear in the book, it was just something that Marc made up. I think you've forgotten most of what the story is about. smile
What do you mean by he made it up? He just made up the name for a special tuning he used or it was an historical tuning or? In either case it seems like he could have told that to a tech in your area who could have duplicated the tuning. I was at a presentation you and Marc did at Beethoven pianos and I believe he referred to it as a Schubert tuning.

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by piqué


If anybody had known any of that at the beginning of my journey of course there would have been no problem--And no book.

But what is funny is the idea that there is something really called the Schubert concert tuning that the dealer or any tech would know about. As I think was pretty clear in the book, it was just something that Marc made up. I think you've forgotten most of what the story is about. smile
What do you mean by he made it up? He just made up the name for a special tuning he used or it was an historical tuning or? In either case it seems like he could have told that to a tech in your area who could have duplicated the tuning. I was at a presentation you and Marc did at Beethoven pianos and I believe he referred to it as a Schubert tuning.


That's what we called it. But it's just a tuning Marc created for me when I told him I thought my piano would be perfect for Schubert. How on earth would he communicate to another tech what that was? It's something that only exists in his ear, in mine, and in the ears of the very few people who have actually heard it on my piano. It's not like he or Carl could have called up the local tech and said "Just put a Schubert concert tuning on it." That's what's so hilarious about your post. And none of had a clue which thing it was that made that piano special for me. None of us. It was a long process of discovery.

Your comment seems to suggest you didn't really read the book or you would know this.
Posted By: piqué

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/21/19 05:34 PM

Thank you, Nancy! Glad you liked it!
Posted By: piqué

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/21/19 05:45 PM

Originally Posted by huaidongxi
count myself among the many readers who found Grand Obsession informative and entertaining. quite a feat of non fiction in a specialized realm, made very accessible and vivid. the notion of 'schubert tuning' has intrigued me since. the tuner who worked on our vintage (pre-aeolian) mason & hamlin tunes solely by ear, not devices, and it's among the most colorful equal temperament tunings in my limited experience. schubert strikes me as potentially benefitting from a temperament that enhances his constant modulations. peace + namaste, Ms.Knize



Thanks so much for your kind words.

Marc came out to visit me for a week nearly 2 years ago, worked on the piano nearly every day, refined and refined the tuning, and then we threw a piano party for local musicians and music lovers. We wondered--will anyone else hear what we hear? Will it affect them the way it affects us? It was a kind of experiment. There were non musicians at the party, too, and my husband, who is nearly deaf.

EVERYONE heard it, immediately. An opera singer who studied in Berlin said to Marc: "thank you for ruining for me every other piano I will ever hear for the rest of my life." A trio that was in town to perform rehearsed on the piano the rest of the next day. The pianist couldnt tear herself away from it. Everyone in that room--including my husband--was struck and mystified by what they were hearing.

I asked Marc to explain what we were experiencing--What I called, in the book, "The Marlene Experience"-- He said what we experienced is "vibrational coherence."

Now we know it is real, and not subjective. It is a matter of art and physics.
And I personally do not know of any other techs who know how to do this to a piano. Though there may be, certainly. But most techs think there is only one way to tune a piano, so I have my doubts.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/21/19 05:53 PM

Originally Posted by piqué
Marc came out to visit me for a week nearly 2 years ago, worked on the piano nearly every day...

So Marlene is still well! One often wonders when reading a first-person account, what happens to the characters after the book ends? How does their later life go? And Marlene is certainly a character in your book smile
Posted By: piqué

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/21/19 06:02 PM

I'd say the piano is in her prime now. The first day of Marc's visit, he said, "I'm madly in love with your piano."
Posted By: piqué

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/21/19 06:03 PM

We've talked about him coming out again this year. Very much up in the air at the moment.
Posted By: Qwerty53

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/21/19 08:11 PM

I loved reading the book during my (re)introduction to piano a couple of years ago as a very-adult (re)beginner. It provided my introduction to some of the nuances that go in to making one piano sound different from another. This led me on to a lot more reading and learning, enriching my search for my own piano. Thanks, Author, for telling your story!
Posted By: spartan928

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/23/19 01:12 AM

I just finished the book and enjoyed it very much. I'm very much a beginner and could hardly believe the journey the author went through. In fact, as i worked through the book I was not only fascinated but almost paranoid to shop for a grand piano for fear that I'd never duplicate a tone i settled on once the piano left the store!. But, in truth, I've found some of the insights in this book actually helpful and the story has made me look and listen in a new way as I shop. It's actually inspired me to play as many pianos as i can until i find the right one for me and not settle. So, in that sense the book has helped make my experiences piano shopping more fun and allowed me to be more patient and enjoy the journey.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/23/19 03:43 AM

Originally Posted by piqué
I'd say the piano is in her prime now. The first day of Marc's visit, he said, "I'm madly in love with your piano."

That's so great! It's good to know that the "main character" of your book is still doing so well!
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 01/23/19 12:46 PM

Originally Posted by piqué
That's what we called it. But it's just a tuning Marc created for me when I told him I thought my piano would be perfect for Schubert. How on earth would he communicate to another tech what that was? It's something that only exists in his ear, in mine, and in the ears of the very few people who have actually heard it on my piano. It's not like he or Carl could have called up the local tech and said "Just put a Schubert concert tuning on it." That's what's so hilarious about your post. And none of had a clue which thing it was that made that piano special for me. None of us. It was a long process of discovery.

Your comment seems to suggest you didn't really read the book or you would know this.
I certainly read the book but that was a long time ago and the presentation at Beethoven Pianos with you and Marc was also a long time ago. But I have some other questions/comments:
1. Can't any tuning be described accurately in words(maybe not words that a layman would understand but that a tech would understand) or even more precisely by using one of those electronic tuners to exactly record how each note is tuned?
2. Was the piano tuned with the special tuning when you first played it in the showroom?
3. If this tuning is superior does Marc tune all his pianos this way or is this just a tuning that you personally prefer? Have any other techs adopted this tuning approach?
4. If the tuning was unusual and special, it would seem like that would be the first thing that Marc would have thought of in terms of what made the piano sound so special for you. It seems like the only other thing would be the inherent sound of the make you bought but that would have meant that any good tuner who tuned the piano is the standard way could have made the piano sound the way you liked it.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/19/19 03:00 PM

Currently I am a little better than halfway through the book and enjoying it quite a bit. For a non-tech I am impressed with the author's highly accurate descriptions of piano technical matters (about 98%). As I am not only a 40 plus year piano technician, I am also a musician. I have been able to identify (often with tears) a number of her experiences noted in the book.

As I was reading through this thread I said to myseif: "I'll bet this guy simply made it up (the tuning) to affect her emotionally. He seems like quite a character, one that obviously knows his stuff and does it well. I agree with much of what (virtually all) he is quoted as saying. It is true that the piano is always changing and maturing just like a person. However, it is also possible that he is applying a slight alteration of equal temperament that mimics some of the qualities of "well temperament" theory and practice. If done intelligently (as in Bill Bremmer's EBVT) a sensitive pianist will react to this (not realizing that it is not ET) very pleasantly because the music they are playing was composed with this in mind.

I have changed over to tuning this style almost universally as well as tuning my own piano this way. It could accurately be referred to as a "Schubert" tuning since it is constructed to enhance the simpler keys and put a "shimmer" into the more remote keys, but not so much as to shock someone used to equal temperament. I used to reserve this for my classical only clients but have found that it makes all pianos sound better, can only be done properly by ear (different on each piano), and SOMEHOW seen a to improve the resonance overall.

I am impressed with Perri's writing style and technical comprehension. I personally know some of the people mentioned in the book, including Lucien Hut from whom I learned many years ago about the fact that a person's bone (and particularly skull) structure has a big impact on how they are affected by the vibrational energy in a piano, and why a sensitive pianist can be repulsed by one instrument and fall in love with another. It is truly vibrational. Yes. I had an A3 that affected me that way.

Good book tech or no tech.

Pwg
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/19/19 03:05 PM

Originally Posted by P W Grey
I am impressed with Perri's writing style and technical comprehension.

I just corresponded with Perri by email a few days ago. She seems like a wonderful person!
Posted By: piqué

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/19/19 03:50 PM

PW Grey
Tyrone just alerted me to your post. Thank you for your positive comments--very high praise from someone such as yourself. I had no idea Lucien knew about such things or I would have sought him out for an interview. A very interesting man! I won't spoil the rest of the book for you but the answers to your suppositions lie within smile
Posted By: piqué

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/19/19 03:54 PM

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by piqué
That's what we called it. But it's just a tuning Marc created for me when I told him I thought my piano would be perfect for Schubert. How on earth would he communicate to another tech what that was? It's something that only exists in his ear, in mine, and in the ears of the very few people who have actually heard it on my piano. It's not like he or Carl could have called up the local tech and said "Just put a Schubert concert tuning on it." That's what's so hilarious about your post. And none of had a clue which thing it was that made that piano special for me. None of us. It was a long process of discovery.

Your comment seems to suggest you didn't really read the book or you would know this.
I certainly read the book but that was a long time ago and the presentation at Beethoven Pianos with you and Marc was also a long time ago. But I have some other questions/comments:
1. Can't any tuning be described accurately in words(maybe not words that a layman would understand but that a tech would understand) or even more precisely by using one of those electronic tuners to exactly record how each note is tuned?
2. Was the piano tuned with the special tuning when you first played it in the showroom?
3. If this tuning is superior does Marc tune all his pianos this way or is this just a tuning that you personally prefer? Have any other techs adopted this tuning approach?
4. If the tuning was unusual and special, it would seem like that would be the first thing that Marc would have thought of in terms of what made the piano sound so special for you. It seems like the only other thing would be the inherent sound of the make you bought but that would have meant that any good tuner who tuned the piano is the standard way could have made the piano sound the way you liked it.


1. Tuning is art as well as as science and the personality of the artist is indelibly stamped on it. It's a qualia so no, it's not so simple.

2. We don't know the answer to this question. Probably. The answer to this is in the book.

3. This also is in the book.

4. This also is in the book.

Seems like maybe you should re-read the book. wink
Posted By: cmb13

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/19/19 05:47 PM

Originally Posted by P W Grey
Currently I am a little better than halfway through the book and enjoying it quite a bit. For a non-tech I am impressed with the author's highly accurate descriptions of piano technical matters (about 98%). As I am not only a 40 plus year piano technician, I am also a musician. I have been able to identify (often with tears) a number of her experiences noted in the book.

As I was reading through this thread I said to myseif: "I'll bet this guy simply made it up (the tuning) to affect her emotionally. He seems like quite a character, one that obviously knows his stuff and does it well. I agree with much of what (virtually all) he is quoted as saying. It is true that the piano is always changing and maturing just like a person. However, it is also possible that he is applying a slight alteration of equal temperament that mimics some of the qualities of "well temperament" theory and practice. If done intelligently (as in Bill Bremmer's EBVT) a sensitive pianist will react to this (not realizing that it is not ET) very pleasantly because the music they are playing was composed with this in mind.

I have changed over to tuning this style almost universally as well as tuning my own piano this way. It could accurately be referred to as a "Schubert" tuning since it is constructed to enhance the simpler keys and put a "shimmer" into the more remote keys, but not so much as to shock someone used to equal temperament. I used to reserve this for my classical only clients but have found that it makes all pianos sound better, can only be done properly by ear (different on each piano), and SOMEHOW seen a to improve the resonance overall.

I am impressed with Perri's writing style and technical comprehension. I personally know some of the people mentioned in the book, including Lucien Hut from whom I learned many years ago about the fact that a person's bone (and particularly skull) structure has a big impact on how they are affected by the vibrational energy in a piano, and why a sensitive pianist can be repulsed by one instrument and fall in love with another. It is truly vibrational. Yes. I had an A3 that affected me that way.

Good book tech or no tech.

Pwg


I haven’t read the book, but may one day. Currently working on A Gentleman in Moscow. Regardless, the A3 comment caught my eye - is that the piano in question here? Just wondering as a new owner of one.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/19/19 06:36 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13
Regardless, the A3 comment caught my eye - is that the piano in question here? Just wondering as a new owner of one.

piqué's "Marlene" is a Grotrian-Steinweg, according to the book.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/19/19 08:33 PM

The A3 is one I bought, rebuilt over the course of about 15 years (intending to keep it as my own piano), but when a piano teacher happened to inquire as to what I might have available and that he had a student looking for something like an A3...I said: "Well, I happen to have a an A3 here and it's almost done...you can come and check it out..."

Well, the rest is history. He loved it, she loved it, she bought it.

This is another example of how important a good, fresh tuning is, because this instrument sparkles like a diamond when it is perfectly in tune. The bass is huge and the treble clean and bright. A few notes in the mid-treble have always given a little trouble but are overshadowed by the gorgeous sustaining tone and coloration in the rest of it. Everyone without exception that has played it has had the same reaction...WOW!

I would have loved to hear it when it was in its formative years. I imagine it was just as stunning then too...perhaps even more so. People have said I did a great job on it, but I really don't think there is anything in particular that I did to elicit this sound. I believe it was there to begin with. All I did was to apply everything I know about rebuilding pianos to it (maybe a few tweaks here and there and I did get my baptism into the use of Fandrich riblets on the soundboard with this one) and it came out that way.

That's the basic story on my comment about the A3.

Pwg
Posted By: cmb13

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/19/19 08:40 PM

Nice story, pwg, sorry you gave it up though!
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/19/19 08:44 PM

Perri,

I am just about to start chapter 17 "Hammers", but I'm the middle of a bathroom renovation amongst everything else in life. Eager to back to it.

I have a number of clients who I know will appreciate this book, but I want to finish it before I start recommending it (if you know what I mean). 😁

Pwg
Posted By: piqué

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/19/19 10:31 PM

Originally Posted by P W Grey
Perri,

I have a number of clients who I know will appreciate this book, but I want to finish it before I start recommending it (if you know what I mean). 😁

Pwg


By all means. I believe the PTG journal has a review of the book out currently.
Posted By: piqué

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/19/19 10:33 PM

Originally Posted by P W Grey
Perri,

I am just about to start chapter 17 "Hammers"


i'm sorry. possibly the most excruciating chapter in the book. i promise it will get better.
Posted By: malkin

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/20/19 01:55 AM

Originally Posted by piqué
Originally Posted by huaidongxi
count myself among the many readers who found Grand Obsession informative and entertaining. quite a feat of non fiction in a specialized realm, made very accessible and vivid. the notion of 'schubert tuning' has intrigued me since. the tuner who worked on our vintage (pre-aeolian) mason & hamlin tunes solely by ear, not devices, and it's among the most colorful equal temperament tunings in my limited experience. schubert strikes me as potentially benefitting from a temperament that enhances his constant modulations. peace + namaste, Ms.Knize



Thanks so much for your kind words.

Marc came out to visit me for a week nearly 2 years ago, worked on the piano nearly every day, refined and refined the tuning, and then we threw a piano party for local musicians and music lovers. We wondered--will anyone else hear what we hear? Will it affect them the way it affects us? It was a kind of experiment. There were non musicians at the party, too, and my husband, who is nearly deaf.

EVERYONE heard it, immediately. An opera singer who studied in Berlin said to Marc: "thank you for ruining for me every other piano I will ever hear for the rest of my life." A trio that was in town to perform rehearsed on the piano the rest of the next day. The pianist couldnt tear herself away from it. Everyone in that room--including my husband--was struck and mystified by what they were hearing.

I asked Marc to explain what we were experiencing--What I called, in the book, "The Marlene Experience"-- He said what we experienced is "vibrational coherence."

Now we know it is real, and not subjective. It is a matter of art and physics.
And I personally do not know of any other techs who know how to do this to a piano. Though there may be, certainly. But most techs think there is only one way to tune a piano, so I have my doubts.


I'm looking forward to the publication of a peer reviewed paper on "vibrational coherence." Since it is a matter of physics, there is surely a mathematical demonstration.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/20/19 02:04 AM

The review in the journal was what made me get it.

When I reached the end of 16 I said to myself: "Oh no...I know where this is going!" I'm ready for it. Bathroom work didn't end up going so well today. I'm beat. Maybe tomorrow morning. 😓

Looking forward to it.

Pwg
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/20/19 09:27 PM

Ah...page 248! You already knew about the bone structure! Ha!

Pwg
Posted By: piqué

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/21/19 03:59 AM

Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by piqué
Originally Posted by huaidongxi
count myself among the many readers who found Grand Obsession informative and entertaining. quite a feat of non fiction in a specialized realm, made very accessible and vivid. the notion of 'schubert tuning' has intrigued me since. the tuner who worked on our vintage (pre-aeolian) mason & hamlin tunes solely by ear, not devices, and it's among the most colorful equal temperament tunings in my limited experience. schubert strikes me as potentially benefitting from a temperament that enhances his constant modulations. peace + namaste, Ms.Knize



Thanks so much for your kind words.

Marc came out to visit me for a week nearly 2 years ago, worked on the piano nearly every day, refined and refined the tuning, and then we threw a piano party for local musicians and music lovers. We wondered--will anyone else hear what we hear? Will it affect them the way it affects us? It was a kind of experiment. There were non musicians at the party, too, and my husband, who is nearly deaf.

EVERYONE heard it, immediately. An opera singer who studied in Berlin said to Marc: "thank you for ruining for me every other piano I will ever hear for the rest of my life." A trio that was in town to perform rehearsed on the piano the rest of the next day. The pianist couldnt tear herself away from it. Everyone in that room--including my husband--was struck and mystified by what they were hearing.

I asked Marc to explain what we were experiencing--What I called, in the book, "The Marlene Experience"-- He said what we experienced is "vibrational coherence."

Now we know it is real, and not subjective. It is a matter of art and physics.
And I personally do not know of any other techs who know how to do this to a piano. Though there may be, certainly. But most techs think there is only one way to tune a piano, so I have my doubts.


I'm looking forward to the publication of a peer reviewed paper on "vibrational coherence." Since it is a matter of physics, there is surely a mathematical demonstration.


Read the chapter "Revelation". Michael Harrison explains the mathematics.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/21/19 04:28 PM

Michael also briefly touches on how an "orchestra" can be heard in a piano and although very brief, it is highly accurate.

Something to think about: The fundamental and all the other partials of ANY sound of ANY kind all sound EXACTLY the same. I saw and heard this demonstrated last summer at the national PTG convention in Lancaster, PA. It blew my mind. The one and only thing that differentiates one sound from another is the relative amplitudes of the partials generated. No matter if it's an elephant's blast, a cello, an oboe, or a barking dog...when the partials of each are separated, they sound exactly the same. What makes the sound identifiable to the brain (remember it's the brain that hears, not the ears) is the combination of, and different amplitudes of, all the partials.

So, the piano has the unique capability of synthesizing other sounds (under certain circumstances) in conjunction with a brain that is receptive to it. (Not all brains will do this ☺).

As Perri quoted Michael on the last page of the chapter: "It's physics".

Pwg
Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/21/19 05:49 PM

Ok, ok. I have ordered a copy from Amazon.
Posted By: Fidel

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/22/19 09:21 PM

Funny this should come up this week. I tuned my piano on Wednesday using the entropy piano tuner which mathematically calculates a tuning curve for the recorded piano. There are many possible curves and it presents one at random. While random it is nevertheless distinct to the recorded piano (you record the 88 notes individually to determine the overtone amplitudes).

I was very upset that the curve made me break the equal temperament of my prior tuning. "A=440" is just about the only note truly on pitch.

My piano ended up very warm and approachable after breaking strict equal temperament. When I read Pique's book last year I knew from her description of Marlene's tuning that i should try a stretched tuning curve. Took me exactly 1 year to actually do it. Very glad I did.

My piano has been called "it" for 24 years. After this tuning I may start calling it "Baldwin." It is an SF-10 so maybe "Sophie." Decisions, decisions...
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/22/19 10:34 PM

Originally Posted by Fidel


I was very upset that the curve made me break the equal temperament of my prior tuning. "A=440" is just about the only note truly on pitch..


Fidel,

Perhaps you already know by now...that is true no matter WHAT tuning you put on the piano, with the possible exception of a Pythagorean tuning which would put the key of C in near perfect tune, but that's it, and at least 1/3 of keys would be entirely unplayable.

Any "temperament" of any kind renders "the lie" spoken of in the book. Think of "tampering with" when you read "temperament". That is really what we are doing.

Pwg
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/23/19 01:43 PM

Finished the book!

Very, very good. Parts of it could serve as a technical presentation at a PTG meeting. I wish more people appreciated the effect of a GOOD tuning.

Nice job, Perri!

Pwg
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/24/19 01:26 AM

Perri,

Ask Marc please if he is familiar with "The Dynamic Scale", by R. Feaster. I would be most interested.

Pwg
Posted By: oivavoi

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/24/19 11:45 AM

The discussion here piqued my interest, so I bought the kindle version, and I'm halfway through it now. I must say I'm impressed and thrilled. Very well-written, engaging and informative.

If you don't read it like a piano bible, but more as a personal essay, there is also less stuff to become riled up about... As for me, there are several things I see differently from the author. The book throughout is very "grand-centric", like much of the mainstream piano culture in the US has been for many years. The possibilities of the upright are not given serious attention, even though the author visits the Fandrich factory and is impressed by their action. I believe the best European uprights available - from Sauter and Steingraeber and Bösendorfer and Bechstein, possibly from Fandrich & Sons as well - rival quite a lot of grands, both in their sound and their action.

I also don't think personally that the "break" between bass and tenor strings is such a big deal. Obsessing about this break is a fairly new and modern phenomenon. Older manufacturers often voiced their pianos with a deliberate break, in order to get a more orchestral sound - with a warm and enveloping bass, and a more clear and distinct midrange and treble. A few manufacturers still do this kind of voicing, btw. I prefer that kind of voicing myself.

But these disagreements or differences in perspective don't make it into a lesser book. Many other things in the book align very much with my own experience. And there are things which were completely new to me, which I read with great interest. The one thing I didn't much care for is the less than flattering descriptions of some of the salesmen etc she mentions. I really hope those characters have been somewhat fictionalized. Otherwise they would be easily recognizable, and that would really be an uncool thing to do to them in such a widely read book.

It's very interesting to read about the piano world forum back in the old days, btw!

Some further thoughts: How things have changed in 20 years! The "piano renaissance" the author describes in the years before 9/11 seems like a faint memory now, effectively killed by smartphones and distractions and social media and financial downturns.

And concerning the very particular wood that is harvested for high-end soundboards, which is described so incredibly well in the book... It just dawned on me that high-end pianos might become one more victim of climate change. We usually think about crops, food, coffee, chocolate, etc when we think about how climate change is starting to impact vegetation and farming. But the kind of climatic stability that is required for the particular wood that is used in the most expensive pianos seems to be a thing of the past. Alas, piano civilization is a fragile thing, it seems.

Anyway, thanks to pianoworld for bringing this wonderful book to my attention!
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/24/19 01:18 PM

Originally Posted by oivavoi
I also don't think personally that the "break" between bass and tenor strings is such a big deal. Obsessing about this break is a fairly new and modern phenomenon.
On almost any piano, even the best ones, if one plays the notes around the break back and forth one will hear some tonal change, The more important question is how much one hears any tonal change when actually playing music.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/24/19 03:04 PM

120 + years ago (when many of these scales were designed) nobody cared about the break. It was just there, part of the piano sound. In fact it was considered poor quality piano making to add wound strings in the low tenor. It is actually a rather recent (50 years) phenomenon to try to SMOOTH out the break, particularly with the advent of computer technology.

I think you will find out as you progress through the book precisely WHY she was not drawn to any (most) of the uprights.

You are correct though that it is not intended as a tech reference but a personal experience...extreme maybe...but personal. I agree that her grasp of technical info is highly accurate. Only had an issue with one or two statements which I can't recall right now as I'd have to reread it. And I'm inclined to think that it was simply not thoroughly understood or recalled accurately. No big deal. Better than any other similar thing I've ever read.

ALMOST like a good suspense novel.

Pwg
Posted By: cmb13

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/24/19 04:11 PM

Originally Posted by oivavoi
The discussion here piqued my interest, so I bought the kindle version, and I'm halfway through it now. I must say I'm impressed and thrilled. Very well-written, engaging and informative.

If you don't read it like a piano bible, but more as a personal essay, there is also less stuff to become riled up about... As for me, there are several things I see differently from the author. The book throughout is very "grand-centric", like much of the mainstream piano culture in the US has been for many years. The possibilities of the upright are not given serious attention, even though the author visits the Fandrich factory and is impressed by their action. I believe the best European uprights available - from Sauter and Steingraeber and Bösendorfer and Bechstein, possibly from Fandrich & Sons as well - rival quite a lot of grands, both in their sound and their action.

I also don't think personally that the "break" between bass and tenor strings is such a big deal. Obsessing about this break is a fairly new and modern phenomenon. Older manufacturers often voiced their pianos with a deliberate break, in order to get a more orchestral sound - with a warm and enveloping bass, and a more clear and distinct midrange and treble. A few manufacturers still do this kind of voicing, btw. I prefer that kind of voicing myself.

But these disagreements or differences in perspective don't make it into a lesser book. Many other things in the book align very much with my own experience. And there are things which were completely new to me, which I read with great interest. The one thing I didn't much care for is the less than flattering descriptions of some of the salesmen etc she mentions. I really hope those characters have been somewhat fictionalized. Otherwise they would be easily recognizable, and that would really be an uncool thing to do to them in such a widely read book.

It's very interesting to read about the piano world forum back in the old days, btw!

Some further thoughts: How things have changed in 20 years! The "piano renaissance" the author describes in the years before 9/11 seems like a faint memory now, effectively killed by smartphones and distractions and social media and financial downturns.

And concerning the very particular wood that is harvested for high-end soundboards, which is described so incredibly well in the book... It just dawned on me that high-end pianos might become one more victim of climate change. We usually think about crops, food, coffee, chocolate, etc when we think about how climate change is starting to impact vegetation and farming. But the kind of climatic stability that is required for the particular wood that is used in the most expensive pianos seems to be a thing of the past. Alas, piano civilization is a fragile thing, it seems.

Anyway, thanks to pianoworld for bringing this wonderful book to my attention!

The issue of the wood used was also covered in The Piano Shop On The Left Bank, which was also an excellent book. It's mind boggling to think that I'm playing a piano built 100 years ago, made of wood from trees planted 200 years ago!
Posted By: oivavoi

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/24/19 04:41 PM

Originally Posted by P W Grey
120 + years ago (when many of these scales were designed) nobody cared about the break. It was just there, part of the piano sound. In fact it was considered poor quality piano making to add wound strings in the low tenor. It is actually a rather recent (50 years) phenomenon to try to SMOOTH out the break, particularly with the advent of computer technology.

Pwg


Yap, I also got to know this quite recently, that trying to smooth out the break is a recent thing in piano manufacturing. I had for quite some time assumed that this break could only be a bad thing, to be overcome as much as possible. Then I came across a restored old piano which had a tone I fell madly in love with (unfortunately the action was less responsive than I wanted, even after regulation). As I played scales up and down, I started to notice that this piano had a more pronounced break than many other pianos I had played. I said that to the dealer, who is a very knowledgeable tech as well. He responded:

"Well, yeah, of course. That's probably one of the reasons you like it. It's only in modern times that manufacturers have tried to smooth out this break. Previously many manufacturers thought that the different registries should have different tonal characteristics. That way the piano becomes more orchestral, i.e. like an orchestra, where different instruments with different characters complement each other. It's a feature, not a bug".

This surprised me, but after reading up a bit and discussing with other techs, I understood that he was right. I also realized that some of the modern pianos I like playing the most - Steingraeber for example - also have kept some of this voicing as a deliberate decision.
Posted By: oivavoi

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/24/19 04:41 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13


The issue of the wood used was also covered in The Piano Shop On The Left Bank, which was also an excellent book. It's mind boggling to think that I'm playing a piano built 100 years ago, made of wood from trees planted 200 years ago!


Thanks, will check out that book when I finish this one!
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/24/19 09:24 PM

I also enjoyed 'The Left Bank'.

Pwg
Posted By: piqué

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/26/19 06:29 PM

Pwg,
I'm sure Marc would be glad to hear from you directly. He's at pianomarc@aol.com

Glad you enjoyed the book! I worked so hard to get the technical stuff right, thankfully I had a lot of help!
Posted By: piqué

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/26/19 06:38 PM

Quote
And concerning the very particular wood that is harvested for high-end soundboards, which is described so incredibly well in the book... It just dawned on me that high-end pianos might become one more victim of climate change. We usually think about crops, food, coffee, chocolate, etc when we think about how climate change is starting to impact vegetation and farming. But the kind of climatic stability that is required for the particular wood that is used in the most expensive pianos seems to be a thing of the past. Alas, piano civilization is a fragile thing, it seems.


I'd love to hear everything you know about this.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/26/19 07:01 PM

It's in his book wink
Posted By: oivavoi

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/27/19 01:34 PM

Originally Posted by piqué
Quote
And concerning the very particular wood that is harvested for high-end soundboards, which is described so incredibly well in the book... It just dawned on me that high-end pianos might become one more victim of climate change. We usually think about crops, food, coffee, chocolate, etc when we think about how climate change is starting to impact vegetation and farming. But the kind of climatic stability that is required for the particular wood that is used in the most expensive pianos seems to be a thing of the past. Alas, piano civilization is a fragile thing, it seems.


I'd love to hear everything you know about this.


Sure! I'll finish your book first, and revisit some of the stuff I've read that could be relevant, and do a short write-up.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/27/19 04:58 PM

Originally Posted by piqué
Pwg,
I'm sure Marc would be glad to hear from you directly. He's at pianomarc@aol.com

Glad you enjoyed the book! I worked so hard to get the technical stuff right, thankfully I had a lot of help!



I shall. Thx

Pwg
Posted By: backto_study_piano

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/28/19 01:24 PM

I just came upon this thread - I'd seen one about "Grand Obsession" about 8 or 9 years ago when I was dealing with issues with my previous piano (which was new), as well as the piano technician who was supposedly the factory trained technician for that brand. But no matter what he did, it never worked, or if it did, it was OK for a couple of days. I was pulling my hair out in despair.

Reading your book encouraged me to 1) engage a different technician who improved that piano out of sight; and 2) (a change in my financial outlook allowed) a change of piano - to a Grotrian Concert 7'4" - (named "Clara").

It took a couple of years and a second technician (the one I'd used on my first piano) to bring it to be the piano I thoroughly enjoy. I'm not sure what tuning he is using, but I just love how it now plays and sounds.

Thanks for the book!! I just pulled it off the shelf and put it in my "to be read" pile again.
Posted By: piqué

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) - 06/29/19 07:13 PM

Originally Posted by oivavoi
Originally Posted by piqué
Quote
And concerning the very particular wood that is harvested for high-end soundboards, which is described so incredibly well in the book... It just dawned on me that high-end pianos might become one more victim of climate change. We usually think about crops, food, coffee, chocolate, etc when we think about how climate change is starting to impact vegetation and farming. But the kind of climatic stability that is required for the particular wood that is used in the most expensive pianos seems to be a thing of the past. Alas, piano civilization is a fragile thing, it seems.


I'd love to hear everything you know about this.


Sure! I'll finish your book first, and revisit some of the stuff I've read that could be relevant, and do a short write-up.



thank you!!
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