Saturday, May 15, 2010

1878 Chickering Grand

This Chickering concert grand (8' 8") from 1878 belongs to a church that was built in 1852.  I first saw the piano on its side, stored in a dark alcove with other forgotten items.  It had once been the main piano in the sanctuary, but it was considered too old to maintain.  At some point, the small space it occupied was needed, and the church was prepared to "get rid" of the piano.  A member of the congregation campaigned single-handedly to save the piano, and even bring it back to life.  That turned out to be my job, and it was a delight.  The piano was actually in very good condition, and did not require rebuilding, just repair and reconditioning.  It was moved to its current room on the ground floor, and is now getting regular use.

The main feature of this piano is that it is straight-strung.  That is, the bass strings do not cross over the treble strings, but run parallel to them instead.  The bass strings are iron-wound, and sit on their own bridge.  The hammers are also original, as are the ivories and ebonies on the 88 keys.  The case veneer is rosewood, pieced together in four sections.  The piano's tone is lovely, but clearly not modern.  It has little power, but plenty of sustain, except in the upper treble, which is typical for pianos of this age.  I suspect it had much more power back when the soundboard was newer.  It's very rewarding to play.


amit said...

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Piano Storage

Marlin Sutter said...

Too bad this blog is dead :(

Hanqing Artrub Yu said...

Hi! I just played one like that yesterday in a concert hall, too bad it was in horrible condition na dneeds rebuilding.