Frank Benner
piano technician

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piano stories

The bigger the better?

A 'Grand' for pianists who got it all!

In 1987, the Riga based German builder of pianos David Klavins, has presented an instrument measuring more than three and a half meters high, with strings of more than three meters long, weighing about two tons.
According to the German "Guinness- Buches der Rekorde" it is the biggest instrument of the world!

Over the years several builders have attempted to build the biggest piano possible.
What moves them to achieve this? A bigger instrument with a bigger soundboard can produce more sound, this is important in large spaces with lots of people in it.
Larger soundboards are also better able to pass on lower frequencies.
Because the strings are longer the inharmonicity is different than in smaller instruments.
This improves the quality of the sound.

For years builders have improved the pianos and grand pianos step by step, concert grands however kept looking like sturdy black shiny instruments, standing on three legs with a huge top on it.
This Klavins is different. One is no longer seated at the piano, one sits almost in the instrument.
Klavins wants us to believe one can expect new sensations in the sound of his piano.


De pianist Michael Ponti:

"The unique size of the piano has an overwhelming effect on me.
When I sit at the "Klavins" and play, it seems incomparably more impressive than anything I have ever experienced before.
I think Mr. Klavins has succeeded in developing an instrument that will satisfy the highest standards of piano playing.
In addition, its magnificent sound is an enrichment of the spectrum of instruments available to the pianist."


The most important reason to build an instrument bigger than the 2.75 m concert grand piano is probably a matter of prestige.

The British Challen factory made a concert grand of 3.55 m in the honour of the silver jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary in 1935.

It was not until 1987 this record was broken by David Klavins.
Although a bigger instrument with a bigger soundboard should be better equipped to produce lower frequencies, the bass strings of this big instrument sound a bit unnatural to what we are accustomed to hear.

Because of the length of the bass strings the inharmonicity is at such a low level they stopped sounding like a piano.

A Piano is Art by itself