Tag Archives: fingers

Stanwood Piano Touch Weight Metrology

Stanwood Piano Touch Weight Metrology

Stanwood Piano Touch Weight Metrology™ [sc_embed_player volume=”50″ preload= “true” autoplay=true loops=”true” fileurl=”http://masterpianotuner.com/audio/_metrology.mp3″]

Watch this video on YouTube.

I was fortunate as a young man to be accepted into the North Bennet Street School (NBSS) Boston MA, Piano Technology Program by Bill Garlick the Piano Technology Program Director (department head) then at North Bennet. As all the good gifts we enjoy in this life I spent the following seemingly brief semesters among many talented young piano technology students at the North Bennet Street School which also included a then young David Stanwood, friend, colleague, and classmate that same year at North Bennet, technology program for piano. Stanwood is now also a long time North Bennet Street School Alumni.

Mr Stanwood, over many years, has placed a great deal of time and effort into his craft career and love for pianos.

This is about Stanwood Inovation Inc, Piano Touch Weight Metrology, a wonderful video presentation.

Mr Stanwood starts out by saying

My name is David Stanwood, President of Stanwood Piano Innovations.

Our shop is on Martha’s Vineyard, in the town of West Tisbury.
I’ve always had a passion for pianos, always loved pianos.

narration
David Stanwood’s passion for pianos lead him to question why even on some of the worlds best instruments the feel of the keyboard was sometimes inconsistent from note to note.
While training to be a piano technician at Boston’s North Bennet Street School Mr. Stanwood asked what could be done to improve pianos who’s actions didn’t feel right.

Stanwood
And the answer was, well-a – that’s not that easy.
So there really wasn’t an answer. That drove me to experiment and discover.

narration
The science of weights and measures is called Metrology.
Mr Stanwood’s quest lead him to develop a fundamental system and methodology for balancing piano action, something he called “the new touch weight Metrology.”

Stanwood
What was missing in pianos, was a metrology which explains the balance of piano actions in a whole way.

narration
Unlike a violinist who can carry his or her whole instrument on tour, the concert pianist must travel from hall to hall, playing on a variety of instruments, often with inconsistent playing action.

Stanwood
The equality of the mechanism of the piano can either act to support the pianist or it can act as a barrier to their art, and my quest has been to discover now what is the mystery in that mechanic of that keyboard what happens between the musical thought and the finger where it touches the key and the sound that comes out.
There’s a lot of stuff that goes on in this mechanism and that really shouldn’t be an issue for the pianist, they should have a thought and should be able to think it and express it in sound.

narration
The piano keyboard is a system of stepped weights. The hammers at the bass end are larger and heavier than the hammers at the treble end. The pianist expects the keys to feel consistent along the length of the keyboard much as we expect each of the steps in a stair case to be of the same depth and height.

Stanwood

Now a Pianist has the task not only to walk up and down the staircase but they have to dance up and down their stair case and do it artistically and do all these fancy things.

narration
The action for each of a pianos 88 keys acts in a series of movements much like a catapult, where the press of a key begins a rapid series of increasingly magnified movements through the key stick, the repetition or whippen, and the shank eventually catapulting the felt tipped hammer into the string. Engineers refer to this set of connected mechanisms as a folded beam.

Stanwood
Now here we have the analogy of the piano action which pivots, the main pivot is on the balance of the key, the finger goes down a little bit and the hammer goes up a lot. We have the same analogy the same pivot point, this goes down a little and that goes up a lot.

narration
Using one gram blocks to illustrate the balance beam analogy Mr Stanwood first weighs the hammer and shank mechanism a measurement called the strike weight.

Stanwood
..and ten grams out on the end, this would be the measurement of the weight of the hammer, and the way we would measure this in the piano would be taking the part off and actually tipping it and there we have ten point two grams(10.2).

narration
The process of weighing each component of each of the 88 key mechanisms continues with the whippen also known as the repetition.
It is followed by the key stick which is weighed by balancing it at it’s pivot point. This measurement is called the front weight.

Stanwood
We’ve measured the strike weight and that’s the weight out here – o k. We’ve measured the whippen radius weight. We’ve measured how far it is by measuring the ratio, playing the ten gram weight and seeing how it translates. We’ve measured the front weight by tipping the key on the scale, that would be this weight, o k. We’ve measured the balance weight by measuring up weight and down weight and averaging it by mid-point, that would be this weight.
We have an equation here that has one two three four five six variables. We’ve measured everything except one and thats how far out and thats the ratio.

narration
Mr Stanwood’s equation of balance is written as

balance weight + front weight = whippin weight x the key ratio + the strike weight x the strike ratio.

For the key mechanism measured here the formula would be

38 grams + 27.1 grams = 18 grams x .5 + 10.2 grams x 5.5

The primary use of the equation of balance is to fine tune and perfect the front weight, the variable that makes the key invisible to the player.
All of the data collected in the weighing of each of the 88 keys is then entered into the computer. The data is then analyzed to determine whether individual components should be made lighter by trimming or made heavier
by having weights strategically placed to achieve balance.

Stanwood
Now we’re gonna look at the Jordan Hall Piano, (at the computer) This is a Hamburg Steinway D
It’s a Jordan Hall, and this is the weight of the strike weight as from the factory (looking at the computer) and you can see that there’s a big bump, it gets very low here,
This is the ratio that we calculated using the equation of balance.
The next major component is the lead weight, that’s what you have to throw when you play the key and that can be measured by measuring the front weight where you tipped the key on the scale, erst the measurement of the front weight.

We added what’s called a whippen support spring so we use a combination of the lead weight and the spring and you can see that the effect is that we can use much less lead. So now we have a keyboard where the inertial weights (the stepped weights) are very uniform from step to step, no surprises.

The ultimate goal in the piano action is to really make the mechanism disappear, and have the hammers in your fingers – I mean that would be the ultimate goal, just not even think about the fact that there’s five thousand parts in between you and your performance.
You can just feel like you are right to it.
Connected to the hammer, that’s what we’re after here.

For more information

Contact

http://www.stanwoodpiano.com/

Watch this video on YouTube.

garee

Piano Florida State University Piano Technology

Piano Technology at

Florida State Univerity FSU

This is a terrific series about Piano Technology at Florida State University ( F S U ) a comprehensive public University containing it’s own College of Music in Tallahassee Florida U S A.

Anne Garee is the current Program Director, Piano Technology Department Head College of Music Florida State University Tallahassee Florida U S A . http://music.fsu.edu/garee.htm

The following Florida State University Piano Technology thread was started December 2006 to February 2008.

FSU Piano Technology Program Director Anne Garee begins by saying –

This piano was on its side for many years waiting patiently for it’s moment and the moment was fall semester 2006.

Anne felt it was a good candidate and very interesting journey. It had served in the College of Music actually since it was purchased in 1954.

Each project is totally unique and presents its own specific challenges which makes it a very interesting journey.

(Anne continuing)

My mother was a pianist and a professional musician. She was a theory professor at Oberlin Conservatory before she married my physicist father.

My father the physicist, my mother the musician is actually a synthesis of what I do now. It is really the unique combination that we bring to piano technology and was fortunate to have these two forces in my life. they were so supportive in choices we made in career path because obviously you don’t grow up to be a piano technician. Those of us in this field typically come to it by accident and sort of fall into it.

In the field there is a real shortage of training opportunities. Typically people get their information in a very patchwork fashion, um, a bit like here and a bit there and it was always my dream to provide some, a cottified way to accelerate peoples training so that they didn’t have the circuitous route than most of us have taken and because of the comprehensive nature of our music school and the breadth of the program material it was an ideal setting for a program such as this.

Jennifer Roberts

(Jennifer Roberts is a graduate student in the Florida State University FSU College of Music, Piano Technology program) said

I heard about the program when I was studying in Canada. I did my primary training at the University of Western Ontario and we were all looking for options after we left, we either worked in our own business or we worked for somebody else and I heard about this program down here as being really structured and intensive training program.

Amy Porter

(Amy Porter isa Graduate Student at the Florida State university (FSU) College of Music, Piano Technology) continues saying

It’s very much like a job. We are graduate assistants here in the College of Music and so we have (both Jenifer and myself) um, look after about fifty pianos, each year, each semester, we run through our list of instruments, um, some are in practice rooms, some are in faculty studios, halls, um, we have our own assignments that we look after and as well as tuning a harpsicord on a weekly basis.

Jennifer said

One thing that I found particularly challenging on this piano was the fact ,uh, that it had a lot of problems straight from the factory, so when it came to us it had a lot of geometrical flaws, and in that sense it’s been a great piano to learn the restoration process.

(alternating), Amy said

We brought it in the shop and got to play on it. It was terribly out of tune it was very heavy (the touch was very heavy.)

Jennifer-

The first thing we noticed was that the action was extremely heavy. It was hard to play. If you think of a teeter-totter you know – the hammers on one end and the keys on the other and, you know, you want a certain relationship between these two in order for it to perform properly, it’s going to be, i f you have to much weight on one side it’s going to be not pleasant to push on the other.

The pin block

The pin block is quite a thick piece of wood at the front of the grand piano and it is what the tuning pins are embedded into. It is the secure anchor.

The strings were rusty and quite decrepit.

The bridge needed some restoration, the soundboard was pretty ugly, the plate needed refinishing.

One thing that we spent a lot of time on was the lettering of the plate. It’s a part that some people just use a marker to paint them we actually decided to use some black lacquer and a paint brush and do it the old fashion way.

Anne finishes up saying-

The ultimate goal is of course that they are confident that they can go anywhere.

The world needs wonderful piano technicians, The piano is a cornerstone instrument. There are not enough people doing it well.

Jennifer-

There are a lot of opportunities hat have come other from the contacts I have made through this program. I would like to be able to work in a University to have the access to talented faculty members and to be able to work with students.

Amy-

The program has really taken me to a different level of technical ability and I’m hoping that will open a few more doors, more opportunities to practice my craft.

Amy-

As often as I can I like to play and keep my fingers moving and remember why I’m restoring pianos in the first place.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

contact

http://music.fsu.edu/pianotech.htm

[fve]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpBnlRMklPA[/fve]

MONSTER’S BALL

MONSTER’S BALL

MONSTER’S BALL [sc_embed_player volume=”50″ preload= “true” autoplay=true loops=”true” fileurl=”http://masterpianotuner.com/audio/End Title.mp3″]

Watch this video on YouTube.

Music For the Film Monster’s Ball

Composers Asche & Spencer discuss the Process…

In a fascinating open discussion alternating comments, the composers as well as the editors make comments on the hand in hand process of composing and editing the soundtrack for the film Monster’s Ball.

Marc Spencer said a lot of people don’t hear the music in films actually, that the score, the underscore, uh, because it should be very subtle, it shouldn’t be in your face. It should be in your subconscious, because once it is in your face, then you realize it and that’s a bad thing because in a sense you shouldn’t realize the camera and you shouldn’t realize the images. You should realized anything that…you just should ..all you should do is be part of the story.

Composer Thad Spencer said when we first read the script for the film and met, we had, varied ideas about what musical styles would work and what we wanted to do, but one theme that ran throughout all the ideas was that it had a very ambient texture, well, in pursuing that broad range of ideas, we decided that the best thing to do would be to limit our instrumentation, to actually use certain instruments and to only those instruments and not expand outside of those instruments, thus giving all the music a very minimal and all important feel.

Composer Richard Werbowenko said the majority of the instruments you hear are processed acoustic instruments (e.g. piano) or guitars, there are a lot of electric guitar textures that are put through different amplifiers, delays, reverbs, modulation effects to kinda create something that really has a long, kinda ‘drifty’ quality without it sounding the same.

Chris Beaty said we really stretched an event for what song we had… as far as we could stretch it and once you get it then, stretched like that, it’s hard to tell what they are.

I think the most complicated aspect of this was creating a style of music that didn’t draw a lot of attention to itself but gave a lot of meaning. ( movie clip shows Thorton saying “bye Pop” moving to get dressed.)

Having multiple composers was a real positive thing for the film. The three of us really bounced ideas off of each other.

If you were in a position where you were, got to a certain point on a piece of music and maybe wondering is this even any good, you could always draw one of the other composers into your room and ask “what do you think? is this horrible ? is this any good?

We all wrote different Ques we all -uh- helped each other perform and -uh- kinda conceptualized different Ques.

If there’s constant dialog between the people writing and uh, uh, true collaboration it works really well.

One of the designs of the music was to carry you through this and give you a sense of a persevering spirit, without necessarily saying every thing’s going to be o k and instead it was more something you could ride on through the whole film and it could help deliver you to a place that was more inside people and less about all the material things and crap that could happen to them.

The first place that you have to start is uh, you know, what is this scene saying, what is this scene really trying to emote, and whats the most subtle way to support what the scene is actually trying to express

Re-recording engineer Rick Asche said what I noticed here more than anything else and I was very happy about was that the music sorta played the over all theme of what the scene or that arc of scenes was doing so that we as a viewer actually got to understand a much bigger and broader picture of what’s going on with these characters.

If I’m totally reaching to music all the time then the music just becomes like emotional finger painting, as opposed to something that can hold water.

Overall I saw the film was very quite for me. I saw a lot of silences a lot breathing room in the film so the music only would come in, uh , in certain places, which would elevate and interrupt those silences in a very beautiful and emotional and magical way.

A lot of the music was written before the images were available to us, based on the script that we read, and, I’m really glad that we went about it that way, in that we weren’t always reaching to what was on the screen all the time, instead, it was the over all emotion that we got from reading the script.

When you don’t have to worry about an edit schedule or a specific timing, so your just allowed to write music very freely based on what you feel emotionally is gonna be happening in different parts of the film and then that music is simply delivered to the editor and director and they can sift through it and find what they like.

So it’s sort of hand in hand process between composer filmmaker and editor

Composer Matt Chesse’ said I started out with a bunch of their music that I, you know, that I laid it throughout the film, then I laid the film on them and let them absorb the mood with their score worked in there, but a lot of places were open for interpretation.

There’s a point at the end of the film where Latesha (Halle Berre’s character) comes into the kitchen and shes just found out that Hank (Billy Bob Thornton’s character) had a hand in executing her husband but we don’t know how upset she is

(All three together) you see the cameras doing this kinda slow pan thing (there we go) here we go , wait because he doesn’t even…starts to.. here we go, here we go… starts to creep in now…

Needed to support this tension, we didn’t want to point anybody…. in any particular direction

as to how they should feel.

All watching together again someone mutters “it’s cool” then plays guitar “maybe something like that?”

The end of the film gives people some resolve and the score definitely does that too. To the point that the end it’s a very simple melody. It’s giving you that little bit of hope, that little bit of resolve.

It’s important for us to come at that moment very artfully.

It was an opportunity for emotions in the film to stretch a little bit and so, it was also an opportunity for the music in the film to stretch a little bit.

The music in the score incorporates so much poetry on it’s own.

And that was,you know, that was our goal all along so you wouldn’t walk out of there singing the Monster’s Ball melody, but that you would, you know, remember the mood you got from it.

Directed by | Jon Baugh

Thanks to

Marc Forester

Matt Chesse’

Joel C. High

Rick Asche

Vine St Studio

Asche & Spencer

Chris Betty

Than Spencer

Richard Werbowenko

Bob Demaa

Chuck Statler

Soundtrack available on | Lions Gate Records

www.monstersballfilm.com

by Ear

by Ear

[youtube id=”w1dDFjuu_To” align=”center” mode=”lazyload” autoplay=”no” aspect_ratio=”16:9″ maxwidth=”999″] When any piano tuner you might meet exclaims that he or she is an aural tuner or tunes a piano only “by ear”or uses only the ear with a tuning fork the imagination could run wild thinking what “by ear” could or might mean.

Certainly this master piano tuner laughs thinking how back then when my education stressed traditions and hand me down thinking on the topic of aural tuning which then made a dent in my brain, has now for me been revised as I see in reality more than clear that for tuning a piano I use my arms , back , fingers, legs, eyes, brain, yes basically most all of my body. In other words to be a piano tuner you need all you can get!

Take away a piano tuners arm give him a back injury remove a foot or sever his auditory cortex and the tuner will no doubt be greatly impaired forever compensating for the lack of what might be described as the proper equipment. Yes removing ones eyesight can no doubt be compensated for, but for the sake of argument this tuner feels it would be easier to tune a piano in this day and age without ears than without eyes

Now to return to “by ear ” this video short is in a nut shell the basic workings of the ear- brain and chain of events any listener experiences moment to moment without really to much thought. After a quick view of this well done video short the mechanics of the ear and hearing sound in general seems, well, straight forward. So regretably the piano tuner that thinks with that pride “I tune only by ear” is certainly not looking at the big picture and may find at some point that a worn out elbow or shoulder, without benefit of modern day repair, has suddenly ended his once misplaced pride and well meaning dedication to the service

As for any piano tuner that exclaims that he or she tunes a piano only”by ear” with all the pride they can muster, reporting they feel or experience the soul or passion , or would never use anything but their ears because that has heart, at that point in time really fail to appreciate the rest of the god given equipment that makes the human being a marvel and a wonder without which, piano tuning would be almost impossible

This world offers much to consider that helps all human beings along our way, but without reverence for the big picture, the total package that makes the human condition unique, the myopia of the prideful piano tuners exclamation I tune”by ear” not only is mostly at that moment an exercise in deception but for the most part an overwhelming deafening silence!

by Ear Overall rating: ★★★★★ 5 based on 6 reviews
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