America’s oldest pianos are being brought back into play (video)

America’s oldest pianos are being brought back into play (video)


norman lebrecht

July 21, 2014

Artis Wodehouse has been filming the restoration of an 1850s Chickering. American ingenuity added an iron frame to a German design in the middle of the last century, making the concert piano louder, tougher and more even-toned.

Take a look at a key moment in piano history.



  • Sixtus says:

    Recte: not middle of the last century but the century before.

    Fascinating video. I recommend 9:40ff to those who don’t fully the amount of mechanical engineering that goes into a modern piano keyboard.

    The metal frame along with the contemporaneous changes in piano scaling (a collection of parameters including string lengths, diameters and tensions as well as the positions along the string where the hammers strike) are indeed responsible for a more “even tone” — to the detriment of the music of Chopin and earlier composers who fully exploited the often striking differences in timbre that could be obtained from different regions of the keyboard.