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Piano Maintenance: Resolving a weighty problem

Chuck at work (Crop)

Chuck Terpo, who continues to finely regulate my Steinway M grand, gave an encore performance yesterday, as he meticulously “lightened” some weighty bass notes. His nifty maneuvers on display in my iPhone generated video, revealed an analytic approach and smooth follow-through.

Watch Chuck methodically check the bass range, that was a bit too heavy for me by comparison to the balance of tenor, alto and treble registers.

Using the principle of the seesaw, the masterful tech applied a small lead weight to a particular juncture of the keys under evaluation, and made each one depress with less resistance.

The whole process, so riveting to observe, deserved exposure among teachers, students and piano lovers so here it is:

PLAYING RESULTS:

My evening piano lesson on forearm and finger staccato provided an easier “feel” terrain in the bass range.

LINKS:

http://www.chuckterpopianoservice.com

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/my-steinway-m-piano-is-back/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2015/08/01/my-piano-assessment-adventure-at-walnut-creeks-steinway-piano-gallery/

Berkeley California, classissima, classissima.com, James Barron, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, New York Times, piano, Pianomania!, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Stefan Kupfer, Steinway 1098, Steinway piano, Steinway studio upright, word press, word press.com, wordpress, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video, you tube.com, yout tube, youtube.com

Piano Mania! and the Bezerkeley arrival of Steinway 1098!

Pianomania! is an apt title for a documentary about Stefan Knupfer, Steinway piano technician, who gallops upstairs and downstairs in a premier “Vienna concert haus,” trying to meet the needs of performing pianists, recording artists, et al. They demand the kind of perfection in voicing, tuning, aesthetics that’s often beyond human capability. One classic example is a relationship, easily characterized as neurotic that plays out with Knupfer and Pierre-Laurent Aimard. The pianist is gearing up to record Bach’s Art of the Fugue and requires “voicing” for Clavichord, Harpsichord and Organ by individual sections. Try transforming an acoustic piano into a 17th century artifact using more imagination than hands-on intervention, though in truth, Stefan has something up his sleeve that no other tech can dream up. (He’s a problem-solving dynamo)

http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/11/04/movies/pianomania-by-lilian-franck-and-robert-cibis-review.html

The assortment of pianos Knupfer deals with is mind-boggling. Steinway grands are numbered like thoroughbreds at the Kentucky Derby.

The numbering, so conspicuously referenced in James Barron’s The Making of a Steinway Concert Grand(book and documentary) also applies to my own assortment of pianos.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/01/books/review/Morris.t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Picture this, before I escaped from Fresno to Berkeley, California–

A living room hodge podge of acoustics: (and one digital)

The aerial view:

Fast forward to the latest piano shuffle in Bezerkeley, a sized-down space, that forced two acoustics out the door–one on loan to a piano teacher in Fresno.

The other, a Baldwin Grand, 1929, is housed up in the El Cerrito Hills! (my second E. Bay piano studio) Skyped piano lessons are launched at my Berkeley pad.

piano room where I teach El Cerrito

But Hallelujia! Yesterday, Steinway 1098, a bright-sounding studio upright made it’s maiden voyage to my apartment, displacing Yamaha Arius 141 that was shuttled off to the kitchen! The latter incensed Jakov Corsa, Facebook friend, who just purchased Arius 161, and considers it having altar status. (Kitchen?)

Well, it was better than relocating an electronic to the bathroom, if you consider the economy-sized layout of my digs. (By the way, a hamper joins the blended family, with an ironing board neatly folded into a custom-made cabinet–It’s ready for deployment) Talk about an all-purpose kitchen!

Yamaha Arius 141 in kitchen

Almost center-stage, but still UP-staged by my Steinway Grand, M, 1917, NO. 185152, is 1098, delivered expertly and with panache by Greg McCrea, AA Pianos, Oakland. (Check Yelp and you’ll need no further help)

McCrea piano movers

AA piano movers McCrea

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DSC05402

Sitting pretty, all dolled up, and ready for action!

Steinway dim lighting

How’s this for lighting and color framing!

pretty Steinway with blanket

A few camera pans around the room

2 Steinway pianos

Mac back and Steinway pianos

The back story. I purchased Steinway 1098 in Fresno about 7 years ago. A friend spotted an ad for a Steinway upright in the FURNITURE section of the Fresno Bee classifieds. Naturally, I raced to see/play it, and my curiosity was rewarded by years of playing pleasure. The seller, a native Italian, planned relocation to the homeland and desperately needed to find a good home for her sweetheart. I guess it was love at first sight and sound! A match made in heaven!

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Piano Lesson: An advanced adult Student plays Chopin Etude Op. 25, No. 9

We are practicing behind tempo because the student began studying this Chopin Etude Op. 25 No. 9 about two months ago.

“Joy” took piano lessons as a child and young adult, and then had a period without instruction. She started studying with me almost three years ago, and in that time we have explored advanced repertoire: Schubert Impromptus, Op. 90, no.2 in Eb and no. 4 in Gb Major, Chopin Waltz in C# minor, Beethoven Sonata Pathetique in C minor and Sonata in C# minor (“Moonlight” all 3 movements) among other compositions.

Joy is a joy to work with and learn from. About 18 months ago, she acquired a used GE-1 Kawai grand  that has a lovely personality–very resonant in all ranges, and with a strong, defined  bass. Its only drawback is its stiff, heavy action, though the resistance has helped Joy improve her technique.