88 Keys: The Making of a Steinway Piano Hardcover – 15 Oct 2006
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
More than 500 people are involved in the creation of just one Steinway piano! From the selection and aging of the wood to the delicate voicing of the finished instrument, this special reissue of 88 Keys relates the story behind the instrument's intricate formation. Readers will learn about the many skilled craftspeople that have perfected their skills over years to bring a unique and personal touch to the finished product. Also included is an insider's look at the history of the company, which is accompanied by a timeline of major worldwide music events, and a full glossary of technical terms. This is must-have for music lovers, aspiring musicians, and pianists everywhere.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
A special surprise in this book is its clear, accurate, and easily understood discussion of the science of the piano, which the Steinways advanced through many important contributions. All too often, this topic is handled so badly that facts are obscured and readers are intimidated. Technophobes who are ill at ease with physics and mathematics can finally relax! Chapin's explanation is factual yet thoroughly accessible, and one feels completely safe in his hands. His explanations entertain even as they inform, and they are bound to enrich the reader's appreciation of the piano's music.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book contains no photographs. Hard to believe, eh? The illustrations are excellent, but do not seem to be integrated with the text and very few are diagrammatic showing how things work, just show how they are, if you are lucky.
Many topics are described without detailed reference and explanation with an illustration or diagram.
E.g.. Pg. 15 clavichord mechanism is described verbally, without diagrams.
Pg 64: English style ... "the hammer heads are placed at the far end of the mechanisms and move forward when the keys are struck." I am clueless as to what this would look like. " a glimpse at any contemporary grand piano keyboard will..." How about a picture?
Pg 48-49 Re: matched veneers: " a careful look at the case of any natural wood-finished Steinway will show you how good they are." No photographs or illustrations.
Pg 52 re Scales. "these characteristic dimensions differentiate pianos from different makers more than any other technical element." Perhaps I do not understand the statement, but a Steinway salesperson will point out three distinct differentiations between Steinway and its competitors, which are technically related in my mind.
I was abhorred to look down at the page number, 62, half way through the book, and realized I had only learned a few things of interest and had not learned anything of several topics which I had assumed would be covered. While I did not keep track of the time, I felt I had only been reading a short while.
On several occasions the author begins on what appears an interesting topic, but he either aborts early or has no illustrative diagrams and I cannot follow, despite very good grades in science classes from a prestigious private etc.
Pg. 56. He starts talking about harmonics, but has no diagrams, and again, if one does not know harmonics will probably just be confused.
He talks about sound board gluing, but again no illustrative diagrams or dimensions on final cut. How thick is a soundboard?
Bridge: verbally describes making one, but no diagrams or detailed illustrations.
I will stop with the last. One thing I would certainly expect from a book on making a piano is a detailed explanation with diagrams of how the action works. Pg. 71 (this paragraph is unbelievable): "A model of a piano's action is a fascinating thing to behold. I used to play with one for hours on end ..." "The answer is that the pianos action has evolved over years of experimentation." That's it! No explanation of how the mechanism of the action actually works. One very nice still illustration, but no explanation or additional diagrams.
If this book does not sell on Amazon, it will not sell anywhere, because I would never have bought this oversized pamphlet at a bookstore.
A special surprise in this book is its clear, accurate, and easily understood discussion of the science of the piano, which the Steinways advanced through many important contributions. All too often, this topic is handled so badly that facts are obscured and readers are intimidated. Technophobes who are ill at ease with physics and mathematics can finally relax! Chapin's explanation is factual yet thoroughly accessible, and one feels completely safe in his hands. His explanations entertain even as they inform, and they are bound to enrich the reader's appreciation of the piano's music. Moreover, his explanation of the Steinway manufacturing process is so clear and understandable that one wishes Chapin's style could become a model for other writers on technical subjects.
Regarding Prato's colorful illustrations, I must confess that I was frankly hostile at first. I thought they gave the book the appearance of a children's story rather than a serious work for intelligent adults. Photos, I thought, would have been much better: clearer, more detailed, and more accurate. But I was wrong on every count. I came to see that Prato's illustrations are a superb complement to Chapin's text, bringing warmth and passion to a topic that might otherwise seem dry. They personalize this book, constraining it to a human scale, and making it accessible to readers of all ages. Even the youngest reader will enjoy them. Moreover...and much to my surprise...they are stunningly accurate, and due to Prato's effective use of color to create contrast between various components, they seem even more detailed than photos.
I strongly recommend this book to general readers of all ages. It would make an excellent gift that is certain to inspire a player of any ability. Young children will need some adult help with technical sections, but I cannot think of a better way to encourage them to set high goals. After all, success at the piano almost always leads to a closer and more personal relationship with Steinway, as so many renowned artists can attest. This book lets that relationship begin today at a very small fraction of the cost of a Steinway D.
The book is best suited, and was probably intended, to be a coffee table book at Steinway sites. It provides an overview of the process of building a Steinway, making note of all the innovations that make Steinways pianos the most popular today.
My only reservation is this: I bought it hoping that it would be geared toward the reader interested in the engineering and perhaps physics of piano building. The book provides only enough detail to *just* satisfy this interest, but I walk away like leaving the dinner table still a little hungry.
Nevertheless, this book took me, in its storybook way, from no knowledge of piano manufacture to an overall satisfying knowledge. I'm definitely eager, now, to visit the Steinway factory and see it all for myself.