Frank Benner
piano techncian

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technical subjects

Variation in sound

Everyone knows the traditional part of the piano in a concerto.
To avoid this role-reinforcing part and looking for new ways to colour the relation between the piano and the orchestra, the composer is confronted with things that are not possible using the piano: making a crescendo within a single note: a note which is sounded and which thereupon grows in vollume.
This was the inspiration for a concerto for piano. The crescendo, following the first note, is realised by six horns, which take over the tone of the piano and so in this way replace the soundboard of the piano.

This idea of soundboard replacing is taken over by the whole orchestra in a next stage.
The use of the piano as a rhythm instrument is not avoided, except in the more contemplating middle part.
In the Piano concerto a principle can be found: the exploration and crossing of borders.
This is even made visual at the end of the concerto when the last tone a c is tuned into an f sharp with a tuning hammer.
The tension builds up by this stretching of the string and the perception of the music is culminates into a very sudden ending of the concerto with a single ‘whiplash’

Some composers write down even more variations in their score than even the piano or grand piano can offer.

In such cases a lot of adjustments have to be made into the instrument, such as the placing of screws, clothes pegs and pieces of rubber on strategical places in between the strings.
Sometimes the sound is made by hitting the strings with sticks instead of hitting the keyboard, or by strumming the strings by hand like on a guitar or harp.

The tuner or piano technician watches this with mixed feelings&hellip