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Often while listening to a recording of a concert artist such as Ashkenazy, Barenboim, Horowitz, Arrau, and others, I've tried to listen to the actual tone of the concert grand and wondered what brand of piano they used for their recordings... Some our a given... Horowitz and his Steinway, along with Barenboim. There is a distinctive "Steinway D" sound... While listing to Arrau and Ashkenazy's recordings, I've tried to guess which brand they used for their recordings too... Does anyone else do this or is it just me?

BTW, while listing to one of Ashkenazy's CDs for several of his Beethoven sonatas (circa 1981), I've tried to guess if he recorded it on a Beckstein or Bosendorfer; I don't think it was a Steinway... Does anyone know by chance?

Thanks


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Hello,

I'm thinking it would be fun to try and guess what kind of piano an artist is playing on a recording, but it would be very difficult, it seems to me. I've found that although some piano brands have a distinctive "tone" specific to that brand, a lot of things can change when recorded.

I do, however, think that I have the ability to distinguish the difference between a real acoustic piano and a digital piano in any recording. (At least before my hearing injury)

All the best,

Rick


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You can hear the Baldwin sound in Earl Wild's recordings, until he had to switch to S. Kawai.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yGsiFNStczQ

I think Alfred Brendel has done Schubert on Bosie.



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I agree with Rick here. It's helpful to remember that you aren't listening to a piano, you are listening to a recording of a piano, which goes through different amounts of audio processing, with the goal of producing the ideal sound the performer and producer are looking for. A recording will never capture the power and majesty of a great piano. You just have to be there for that.

It can be fun to guess what type of piano it is, but really, they are almost all Steinways. More interesting would be if there were more parity in the market, and you really had to try to figure out if that was C. Bechstein or a Shigeru Kawai on that album of Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words.

Interestingly, while I'm very fascinated with the piano industry and piano technology, as well as piano brands, I never find myself listening to music and wondering what piano is being played. I guess I just assume it's a Steinway. smile



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Yes, I often wonder what kind of piano is being played in recordings and wish it was mentioned in the liner notes.

One of my jazz pianist friends put out a CD several years ago. After I listened to it, I mentioned that it sounded like he used a different piano on different songs. I thought it was due to a change in the recording setup, but no, he did actually use different pianos (and neither one was a Steinway). Unusual for a single CD, and it's fun to listen to and try to match the piano with the track.


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Google the various pianists, and you'll be able to find out who signed up with which makers for C&A pianos. Those are exclusive contracts, so it's very rare to find them playing other makes.



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Originally Posted by JohnSprung

Google the various pianists, and you'll be able to find out who signed up with which makers for C&A pianos. Those are exclusive contracts, so it's very rare to find them playing other makes.



Steinway lists theirs alphbetically
http://www.steinway.com/artists/immortals/

Boesndorfer list
http://www.boesendorfer.com/en/artists-owners/reference-list

Yamaha artist list
http://www.yamaha.com/artists/pianos/classical.html?CTID=5070200



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I've often stated this in the past: It surprises me to some extent that liner notes included with CD recordings will list just about everything one could think of (in no particular order, here):
- producer
- sound engineer
- booklet artist (cover photographer)
- recording venue
- date of recording
- studio playback equipment for editing
- studio monitor speakers
but rarely mention of the brand of piano used.
Occasionally, the liner notes will even mention the piano technician, but still without mention of the piano.

That said, there are certain recordings and certain labels which do list the make of piano, some going so far as to list the serial number of the piano. But I see no consistency from one record label to the next in providing this information.

It seems that to most recording producers, a piano is a piano is a piano.

Regards,


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Originally Posted by Piano Practice
BTW, while listing to one of Ashkenazy's CDs for several of his Beethoven sonatas (circa 1981), I've tried to guess if he recorded it on a Beckstein or Bosendorfer; I don't think it was a Steinway... Does anyone know by chance?


I'm pretty sure that all of Ashkenazy's Decca recordings were on Steinway. (He's since made a few piano recordings on other labels, and I'd be very surprised if they aren't all on Steinway too.)

Decca (and DG and Philips) almost always tell us on their liner notes if the piano isn't Steinway, e.g. Bösendorfer for John McCabe's Haydn and Wilhelm Backhaus's Beethoven and András Schiff's Schubert, Bechstein for Jorge Bolet's Liszt.


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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Piano Practice
BTW, while listing to one of Ashkenazy's CDs for several of his Beethoven sonatas (circa 1981), I've tried to guess if he recorded it on a Beckstein or Bosendorfer; I don't think it was a Steinway... Does anyone know by chance?


I'm pretty sure that all of Ashkenazy's Decca recordings were on Steinway. (He's since made a few piano recordings on other labels, and I'd be very surprised if they aren't all on Steinway too.)

Decca (and DG and Philips) almost always tell us on their liner notes if the piano isn't Steinway, e.g. Bösendorfer for John McCabe's Haydn and Wilhelm Backhaus's Beethoven and András Schiff's Schubert, Bechstein for Jorge Bolet's Liszt.


Ashkensky is listed by Boesendorfer as one of their artists... and is not listed by Steinway. Would he have recorded on a Steinway piano anyway? I guess the bigger question is what can be assumed if a pianist is listed as a 'brand artist'..

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Originally Posted by dogperson

Ashkensky is listed by Boesendorfer as one of their artists... and is not listed by Steinway. Would he have recorded on a Steinway piano anyway? I guess the bigger question is what can be assumed if a pianist is listed as a 'brand artist'..

Ashkenazy is one of Steinway's most prominent "Artists". His name is listed in Steinway's roster of Steinway Artists (see under 'A').

But he's long since stopped playing piano in public because of arthritis, though he did continue to make piano recordings for Decca (Rachmaninov, Bach etc) and Ondine.


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Thanks everyone for the feedback... I didn't think about how the actual recording process... Placement of microphones--too close the strings or to far away for example... Good point.

As a side note, the Living Pianos YouTube videos have a consistent format--for each opening, he plays a short intro he uses for all of his videos. I've taken those opening snippets of the various pianos he introduces--Baldwin SD10, Steinway D, M&H Model BB, Baldwin SF10--and compared the tone... Of course, I'm assuming the recording setup is consistent for each video.

Overall, whether a CD recording of an artist or a YouTube video, it's a fun guessing game trying to figure which brand is being used smile


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Originally Posted by Piano Practice
Of course, I'm assuming the recording setup is consistent for each video.


Likely not, because he records each piano where it happens to be in the store. One may be in the middle of the room, another in a corner. It's still a very valuable resource for anyone looking for a piano.





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Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by Piano Practice
Of course, I'm assuming the recording setup is consistent for each video.


Likely not, because he records each piano where it happens to be in the store. One may be in the middle of the room, another in a corner. It's still a very valuable resource for anyone looking for a piano.

And indeed, the room itself can be a bigger difference than piano


Poetry is rhythm

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