Meeting Topic: Piano sound design by intonation and voicing of the hammer felt
Moderator Name: Nadja Wallaszkovits
Speaker Name: Joerg-Otto Ewald, master craftsman of piano building, master piano technician, Graz
Other business or activities at the meeting: General assembly with discussion of upcoming meeting topics and activities of the section.
Meeting Location: Technisches Museum Vienna, department of musical instruments
The presentation allowed the participants to take a look at the work of a professional piano technician. Starting with a historical overview of developments in piano builing and mechanics, the presenter explained the characteristics of the Viennese mechanism and the "Viennese sound" in comparison to the English mechanism. The developments in Austria and in the European countries were outlined and the possibilities to design the individual sound of an instrument were introduced. The theoretical part, which was accompanied by various demonstration objects prepared by the presenter, was followed by a tour in the department of musical intruments of the Technical Museum Vienna. Starting with a fortepiano from the 18th century, the variuuos piano designs were demonstrated and the individual differences and design principles dicussed. The presentation culminated in the explanation of the possiblities to design the sound by varying the density of the felt on the hammer head, the so called "voicing". This process is of fundamental importance to achieve the finest sound and requires great sensitivity, patience and experience from the master technician. The presentation offered a closer look into details of piano design and intonation that are not written in the books!