The Modern Piano
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The Steinway Model D is the piano that the majority of contemporary concert pianists use in performance. The first D-style grand piano was made in about 1857, but it took a further ten years for Steinway to develop its unique rim-bending process. This allowed the rim to be made from a single piece of laminated maple and is one of the features that helps to give the Steinway its particular sound and character. The first instruments were 7-octave, parallel-strung, the first overstrung Model D appeared in 1859 (serial number 2552).
The Model D is the largest 'production' piano that Steinway has ever made. The piano is a quarter of an inch less than nine feet in length: Steinway has never called it a nine-foot grand. The length of a grand piano is generally measured from the front, by the keyboard, to the overhang of the lid at the very back. Some manufacturers have been know to use a diagonal measurement which inflates the size of their grand pianos.
The Steinway Model D is made up of about 12,000 parts, most of which are in the action, which derives ultimately from that invented by Erard in 1821. The piano has 243 strings, or rather 'speaking lengths', since many of the strings are looped around the hitch pin to form in effect two strings.
The pictures and text in the Virtual Piano Museum are copied with permission from Piano by David Crombie, published by Backbeat Books. This book is a beautiful volume of pictures and piano history. See more about it on its Web Page.
Photos Copyright 1995 Balafon, used by permission. All rights reserved
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