OVERRIDE

Piano

The Making of a Steinway Concert Grand

James Barron

Times Books

"Satisfying to the point of sensuousness."
 --The New York Times Book Review
 
Like no other instrument, a grand piano melds the magic of engineering with the magic of great music. Alone among the big piano companies, Steinway & Sons still crafts each of its pianos largely by hand, imbuing each one with the promise and burden of its brand.

In this captivating narrative, James Barron of The New York Times tells the story of one Steinway piano, from raw lumber to finished instrument. Barron follows that brand-new piano--known by its number, K0862--on its journey through the factory, where time-honored traditions vie with modern-day efficiency. He also explores the art and science of developing a piano's timbre and character before its debut, when the essential question will be answered: Does K0862 live up to the Steinway legend? From start to finish, Piano will charm and enlighten music and book lovers alike.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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Prelude
By These People, in This Place
 
[Image]
Steinway No. K0862 on its way to becoming a concert grand
 
The piano being a creation and plaything of men, its story leads us into innumerable biographies; being a boxful of gadgets, the piano has changed through time and improved at ascertainable moments and places. . . . Indeed, for the last century and a half, the piano has been an institution more characteristic than the bathtub--there were pianos in the log cabins of the frontier, but no tubs.
 
--Jacques Barzun
 
Eighty-eight keys, two hundred
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REVIEWS

Praise for Piano

"This engaging narrative about the preservation of a great tradition by skilled craftsmen is the work of a writer who is quite a skilled craftsman himself. James Barron, an indefatigable reporter, has woven out of his scrupulous research a fascinating story of an all but vanished art, and of the men who created it."--two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Robert A. Caro
 
"How has Steinway come to be the gold standard for the piano maker's art? In this engaging book, James Barron tells the story, taking us behind the scenes in the New York factory to explore the complex interplay of science, tradition, and skill during the eleven months it takes to build a concert grand. What emerges is a succinct and captivating account of the craft that produces this supremely subtle instrument that dominates the world's concert halls. Fascinating, informative, and fun."--Thad Carhart, author of The Piano Shop on the Left Bank
 
"No wonder no two Steinway pianos are exactly the same! No wonder each has its own special character and personality! In telling us in exquisite detail what has gone into the making of one particular instrument, James Barron has created a classic in its own right. Having read the story makes me love my own Steinway all the more."--Charles Osgood

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • James Barron

  • James Barron is a staff reporter for The New York Times. Over the past twenty-five years, his writing has appeared in virtually every section of the paper and has ranged from breaking coverage of the September 11 attacks and the 2003 New York City blackout to The Gates public art installation in Central Park. An accomplished amateur pianist, he lives in New York City.
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Available Formats and Book Details

Piano

The Making of a Steinway Concert Grand

James Barron

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Times Books

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