The Ultimate Piano (™)

Questions and discussion on technical, teaching and performance matters
fleubis
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Re: The Ultimate Piano (™)

Post by fleubis » Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:13 pm

The Stuart piano does have a nice sound to it, no question. I wonder if one will ever appear in the States. The best piano I have ever played or heard is the Steingraeber and while it may not have 102 notes it has superior resonance and overtone blending--at least to my ears.

http://steingraeberpianos.com/grands/272/index.htm

James

tosca1

Re: The Ultimate Piano (™)

Post by tosca1 » Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:24 am

Unfortunately, I have never played a Steingraeber piano nor a Stuart and Sons, but I am determined to make a journey to Newcastle in Australia to try the latter.
My impression of the sound of the Stuart and Sons' sound thanks to Fred's recording of part of Debussy's "La Cathedrale Engloutie" is that this instrument takes piano sound to a new level. For me it is sound of great clarity and purity without the cloying overtones of lesser instruments. . I would not describe the bass as thunderous, but it is sound of unfathomable depths. It is the piano par excellence for this monumental Debussy prelude.
Thank you, Fred.

Greetings to all.

Robert.

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fredbucket
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Re: The Ultimate Piano (™)

Post by fredbucket » Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:43 pm

I have posted two recordings I did on the 2.9m piano here - viewtopic.php?f=49&t=241#p1837.

Regards
Fred

rachmad

Re: The Ultimate Piano (™)

Post by rachmad » Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:09 pm

Have you heard of the piano Richard Dain (Hurstwood Farm Piano Studios) designed called the Phoenix, now manufactured by Steingraeber. It has the extra soft pedal but as a single double-blow system, bridge agraffes, adjustable hitch pins, carbon fibre soundboard, virtually zero downbearing. It doesn't have the extra notes, but has tremendous power and sustain.I would assume that it is in the same league as the Stuart. It has been rated as a Tier1A category I believe. Apparently the new soundboard design is a huge factor; besides the enhancement of the bridge agraffes that the Stuart shares. Incidentally, he has a Stuart for sale on his website.
http://steingraeberpianos.com/news/phoenix.html
http://www.steingraeber.de/english/inst ... ns_73.html

You will see other articles about the piano here also:
http://www.hurstwoodfarmpianos.co.uk/ne ... news_id=19

kh0815

Re: The Ultimate Piano (™)

Post by kh0815 » Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:37 pm

Here a link to a classical ultimate piano (Bösendorfer Imperial) : http://www.company7.com/bosendorfer/index.html

In particular remarkable the sound examples (Friedman-Gaertner Waltz No.2, Träumerei, Clair de lune = "Clair de Saloon") played by Victor Borge whose art to touch the keys corresponded to his humour:
http://www.company7.com/bosendorfer/victorborge.html
http://www.company7.com/bosendorfer/audio.html (downloads middle of page)

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fredbucket
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Re: The Ultimate Piano (™)

Post by fredbucket » Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:35 pm

rachmad wrote:Have you heard of the piano Richard Dain (Hurstwood Farm Piano Studios) designed called the Phoenix, now manufactured by Steingraeber. It has the extra soft pedal but as a single double-blow system, bridge agraffes, adjustable hitch pins, carbon fibre soundboard, virtually zero downbearing. It doesn't have the extra notes, but has tremendous power and sustain.I would assume that it is in the same league as the Stuart.
It's not :)

I haven't played one, but from what I've been told from a number of sources the agraffes are not as effective as in the Stuart, and the double-blow pedal is a compromise for those pianists who can't count past three, and doesn't allow the flexibility of the Stuart pedals. The carbon fibre soundboard has been tried before - and like other instruments made from 'artificial' meterials it doesn't seem as though it offers any real advantage over the natural sound, otherwise it would have been taken up years ago. Steinway put out pianos with teflon actions and that was an unmitigated disaster. I've made the point before that taking a 'normal' piano and adding bits to it is like putting a modern engine in a Model T - it's a better Model T but in the final analysis it's still a Model T. And that is what the Stuart is not - it's a totally redesigned piano from the ground up.

It's still a piano, of course - looks like one, plays like one - but everything else (including the Phoenix) is based on a 120 year design that is so far out of date for what the piano needs in the 21st century it's just not funny.

Regards
Fred

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fredbucket
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Re: The Ultimate Piano (™)

Post by fredbucket » Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:44 pm

kh0815 wrote:Here a link to a classical ultimate piano (Bösendorfer Imperial)
I used the term 'ultimate' in a totally different way to you here. The Imperial is an 'ultimate' Bosenyamaha, but it is limited by the fact that it is still a Bosenyamaha - i.e. a century old design. In fact the bass is nowehere near as good as the Stuart (I have played one) and the fact that they have to make the extra keys a different colour for those pianists who are too paranoid to play them is quite frankly ridiculous.

I used 'ultimate' very precisely - in the sense that in terms of our knowledge of piano technology that is as far as we can currently go in terms of enhanced piano design. The Imperial (and the Steingraeber Phoenix) do not come close.

Now I'm not saying they're bad pianos - far from it. But they are based on an outdated design which has long since outlived its usefulness. Of course, they will never admit that :)

Regards
Fred

kh0815

Re: The Ultimate Piano (™)

Post by kh0815 » Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:53 pm

fredbucket wrote:... The Imperial (and the Steingraeber Phoenix) do not come close. ...
You obiously haven't played, heard, and relished the one I mean (from 1980, no Yamaha at all) - justadream ...

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fredbucket
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Re: The Ultimate Piano (™)

Post by fredbucket » Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:59 pm

kh0815 wrote:
fredbucket wrote:... The Imperial (and the Steingraeber Phoenix) do not come close. ...
You obiously haven't played and heard the one I mean (from 1980, no Yamaha at all) - justadream ...
As I've said before, these are still very, very good pianos - but only so far as their construction and design will allow and they reached that limitation many, many years ago.

Regards
Fred

wilkgide

Re: The Ultimate Piano (™)

Post by wilkgide » Fri Nov 13, 2009 1:25 am

HullandHellandHalifax wrote:This reminds me of the 7th edition I have of Cramers guide to playing the pianoforte which came out at about the same time as 7 octave pianos were being introduced, around the mid 1830's. There he states quite categorically that such beast with 7 octaves had been made but would not catch on with the public, presumably people were so small that they could not reach the extremities of the keyboard even though they only had 6 octaves then. How wrong he was of course so I will not say that this 102 note beast won't catch on but wait with bated breath for the first composer or arranger to write somthing for it.
Looking forward to hearing your recordings Fred.
regards
Brian
Perhaps people then thought that a larger piano would be too big to reach across and therefore not catch on. I personally think this won't catch on because piano's already don't sound very good at the highest notes and notes are almost not discernible at the lowest notes. The only piece I've ever played that went up to the highest note on the piano is the third movement of Saint Saen's piano concerto No. 5 and it just sounds too high.

Personally I think the piece is already large enough. Unless you want to play organ music on a piano and you want to hear some pedal tones.
Just my 2 cents

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