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Poland's largest piano


nachthorn
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Happy New Year to all on the board - I only post sporadically but read often when I have time, and am always grateful to Mander and all contributors for the facility.

 

This is a link to a BBC news article entitled 'Giant Polish piano could be the largest in the world'. Said piano seems to have a row of bright tin pipes laid horizontally over the top of the strings (with no visible wind supply) and possibly a few wooden pipes too - not sure. There was one camera close-up shot of the pipes, but no explanation. Am I seeing things, and does anyone know anything more?

 

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12100797)

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Happy New Year to all on the board - I only post sporadically but read often when I have time, and am always grateful to Mander and all contributors for the facility.

 

This is a link to a BBC news article entitled 'Giant Polish piano could be the largest in the world'. Said piano seems to have a row of bright tin pipes laid horizontally over the top of the strings (with no visible wind supply) and possibly a few wooden pipes too - not sure. There was one camera close-up shot of the pipes, but no explanation. Am I seeing things, and does anyone know anything more?

 

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12100797)

 

You're not dreaming, there is at least one set of pipes mounted* where the normal curve would be in a standard grand, and there appears to be a pipework section in the area to the right of that also. The prominent (bright) set doesn't appear to contain even one complete octave! As you say, they don't seem connected in any way. If the intention is that in some way these will resonate along with the strings, ordinary pipe metal may not be ideal... in vibraphones, for instance, they use zinc or mild steel I believe. To be honest, the views didn't lead me to expect much from this instrument. Now if there had been one gigantic soundboard, with several highly over-length strings, that would have been worth trying and seeing.

 

It appeared from the footage shown that the instrument's creator 'who mostly builds houses' had taken several standard frames and more-or-less lashed them together. If there has to be a second action to the far distant set of strings (and the piano is reckoned to be 6m long) this will hardly add to the musical control available to the performer. He was fairly diplomatic, I thought. As usual, the larger is not necessarily the better!

 

* Along with clearly not being blown, they don't seem fixed in any way...just laid into wooden rails - for show maybe?

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You're not dreaming, there is at least one set of pipes mounted* where the normal curve would be in a standard grand, and there appears to be a pipework section in the area to the right of that also. The prominent (bright) set doesn't appear to contain even one complete octave! As you say, they don't seem connected in any way. If the intention is that in some way these will resonate along with the strings, ordinary pipe metal may not be ideal... in vibraphones, for instance, they use zinc or mild steel I believe. To be honest, the views didn't lead me to expect much from this instrument. Now if there had been one gigantic soundboard, with several highly over-length strings, that would have been worth trying and seeing.

 

It appeared from the footage shown that the instrument's creator 'who mostly builds houses' had taken several standard frames and more-or-less lashed them together. If there has to be a second action to the far distant set of strings (and the piano is reckoned to be 6m long) this will hardly add to the musical control available to the performer. He was fairly diplomatic, I thought. As usual, the larger is not necessarily the better!

 

* Along with clearly not being blown, they don't seem fixed in any way...just laid into wooden rails - for show maybe?

 

Hi

 

There was an article in "The Organ" several years ago about a maker of very large pianos - I can't remember the details offhand - maybe someone else can? The instrument is in upright configuration - around 8-10ft tall, with the keys accessed from a gallery! Said to produce better bass response with less of the typical inharmonic partials of under-length strings. There is/was a web site somewhere as well - but it doesn't look as if I bookmarked it.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

There was an article in "The Organ" several years ago about a maker of very large pianos - I can't remember the details offhand - maybe someone else can? The instrument is in upright configuration - around 8-10ft tall, with the keys accessed from a gallery! Said to produce better bass response with less of the typical inharmonic partials of under-length strings. There is/was a web site somewhere as well - but it doesn't look as if I bookmarked it.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

Speaking from experience (as a piano technician) I can add this- that any attempt to 'improve' the piano, be it in size or resonance etc, is largely folly, as little that has been tried since Erard's action of 1822 has ever been worth the effort. The physical restraints upon the piano-builder are dictated by the keyboard, as splaying the action to accommodate the greater clearances needed between very long bass strings (to prevent them actually touching each other when they sound!) is limited by the width of an octave of keys. The organ-builder has no such constraints, as he can put the pipes almost anywhere, with the roller-board and various actions to get round this problem.

 

So, if the optimum length of a grand piano was discovered, it would need a detached console! Even the Bosendorfer Imperial has to be a compromise to some degree!

On the basis that many 'new' ideas on piano design and construction have never got beyond the prototype stage, it would seem that little will change; there is simply no artistic or economic merit in doing so, and if there was, the Far-Eastern makers who now dominate the world market would have taken them on.

 

Regards

CP

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As well having two pianos lashed together lengthwise, it's also got two side by side - though we don't get to see much detail. At 54" in the video, you can see how two keyboards have been shoved together, top C to bottom F, so that there are three white keys in sequence between two groups of three back keys. To my mind this thing should not be in any record book, because it is not "a piano".

 

Paul

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