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Piano Innovations

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  • Piano Innovations

    I have often wondered if there are any new innovations in the pianos world, such as if there have been any attempts to create an acoustic piano that is designed to be transportable.
    One innovation I have come across that stands out to me is a proposal for a new light weight upright piano that is intended to have the same specification as a concert grand.

    David Klavins who was mentioned in the video is a rather interesting piano builder that I've been aware of for a long time. He's probably best know for designing an upright piano that stretches over two stories, but he has created smaller pianos.

  • #2
    The first video is quite fascinating. One of the "features" of a grand piano is that the hammers return from hitting the strings partly assisted by gravity, allowing what most consider to be a more responsive action design when considering note repetition rate. That effect is lost on an upright piano action, which this instrument obviously must imitate. But the idea of a carbon fiber case is certainly an interesting idea.

    The second video, which I was able to view by going directly to YTube, has some interesting looking upside-down organ pipes (decor, not functional?) visible to the right of the piano. Seems like architects feel they have to have a visual distraction for the audience, who perhaps may become bored with the music in the concert hall. The organ pipes become yet another architectural statement.

    Two years ago I had the pleasure of touring the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota at Vermillion. They have a number of unusual and experimental pianos on display, several of which have the strings mounted vertically above the keyboard. But I believe they are struck from the front, unlike the piano in the first video.
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    • F Kalbrenner
      F Kalbrenner commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah, improving the upright hammer in order to make it feel like the actin of a grand piano is a major obstacle they will need to over come (presuming they haven't already).
      The organ in the background of the video featuring the piano built by David Klavins I find rather interesting as the instrument is a hybrid of both a tracker and a unit organ.

  • #3
    Here's a list of changes and innovations the Steingraeber piano makers have developed over the years. Some are quite recent.
    This includes "grand piano feeling" for uprights: https://www.steingraeber.de/en/innov...-piano-action/


    • #4
      That action for the first video reminds me of a backwards birdcage action. That could be frustrating to regulate. Also, I don't really like the high center of gravity (and narrow footprint) for that piano either. Piano legs fail and the last place I would want to be is sitting at the keyboard as 500lbs of piano comes down at me. I do like the advantage of having access to more of the string for contemporary piano music.

      The biggest feature of a grand piano is the repetition lever that allows the action to be reset if the key is let up a fraction of its travel (about an 1/8"). An upright key usually has to be let all the way back up before the action resets. This feature only really matters if the pianist is capable of playing a note repeatedly more than about 4 times a second. If a grand piano isn't regulated well, the first casualty is usually the repetition lever and that results in a grand piano that plays the same as an upright but costs more and takes up more space. (This was one of the issues with the piano at my church. The grand was so far out of adjustment that it was more frustrating to play than all of the other uprights in the building.)

      The Steingraeber innovations are very cool. I would like to try those out. I know there are some upright piano actions where the jack spring is stiffer. That makes it so that the jack get shoved back into position when the key is released before the key is let all the way up. This, to a certain extent, mimics the repetition lever's effect on a grand action.
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      • #5
        Regarding upright piano actions, I've found a couple of videos promoting an improved upright piano action.

        The key action is definitely an obstacle to over come in designing an upright piano with the same specification as a grand piano. I'm not sure what the team behind Future Piano Ltd have in mind but I'm curious about this style of action with the hammers placed behind the strings as it's not a style of piano action I've seen before.


        • #6
          I recently decided to take another look and see if their are any other piano innovations similar to the Standing Grand by Future Piano. I've found one company called Keybird that has created a new lightweight piano, that has a design that's fairly similar to David Klavins Una Corda.
          The instrument is quite small and has compass of about 69 keys with one string per note. but I'm very impressed with how portable this acoustic piano is.



          • myorgan
            myorgan commented
            Editing a comment
            I wonder about the tuning stability or prying little hands.


          • F Kalbrenner
            F Kalbrenner commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes, I see what you mean. I guess you would have to ask them about the design of this piano.