Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Andrea, What Is A Square Grand Piano?

Most have never seen
a square grand piano in person.
Most people don't even know
what one is.

Just about everyone
who has come to Wyandotte to see me,
their jaws drop.
They gasp.
They say that they had no idea
of how big I was.
(I'm 7feet long!)
They are really shocked and surprised!

what is a square grand?
It's an antique piano
that is, basically, square in shape
(OK, I'm really more of a rectangle).
Sometimes we are known
as box pianos.

Take a look at my photo.
I am a square grand piano.

Square grand pianos
have their place in history.
We are, for the most part
19th century instruments.
Steinway and Sons of New York
first gained infamy as master piano builders
with the square grand piano.

Square grand pianos
are from the Victorian era.
as such we are very beautiful to behold.
We are magnificent instruments
that were created, built and carved by hand
by artisans extremely skill in their craft.
We are pianos with intricately carved legs,
music racks and pedal lyres.
This, alone, give us much value
as square grand pianos.

Steinway and Sons
often used Brazilian rosewood.
Brazilian rosewod
is almost extinct today.
In 1967.
the Brazilian government outlaws the export
of Brazilian rosewood logs
and in 1992
the newly formed CITES
(Convention on International Trade
in endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)
declared that Brazilian rosewood
is a threatened species.
The aim of the CITES convention
is to ensure that international trdae
in specimens of wild animals and plants
does not threaten their survival.
As a result.
most nations throughout the world
declare it illegal to harvest,
export or import
any Brazilian Rosewood.
This ban includes import and export

of finished products
made of Brazilian Rosewood,
like square grand pianos,
for example.

And when originally crated,
most of these beautiful pianos
had ivory keys.
and so,
this, too, gives added value to the square grand.
Effective this year (Feb. 2014)
Ivory cannot be imported to the U.S. at all,
not even for historic reasons,
like restoring an antique piano.

Made of ivory and rosewood,
you just can't buy this piano today.
She isn't made.
And with the name "Steinway & Sons,"
well, dare I be the one to say it,
she is a treasure beyond measure.

Now let us also consider the fact
that the square grand piano
has her place
in the history and evolution of pianos.
We came before the upright and player pianos,
and we certainly came before
the modern day grand piano.
And so
the square grand piano has value
because she is,
in fact,
a part of piano evolution.

In fact,
we square grand pianos
are the grandparents
of your modern day grand pianos.

When restoring these instruments
new owners of these old pianos
are often amazed that the hammers
have leather instead of felt.
we must look to the times
when these instruments were built.
Piano builders of the day
would have used the material they had on hand.
And so,
with leather instead of felt,
pianos of our day
had more of a harp sound.
From leather to felt,
this is the part of
the piano's evolution.

By about 1880-1890,
the upright piano grew every popular.
It was considered
as much more fashionable than the square grand piano.
The upright piano was smaller
(can you believe it?)
and took up less space.
And so,
the square grand piano became obsolete
by about the year 1900.

Even though the square grand piano
has her place in history,
there are those who would detract
and state that the square grand piano
has an inferior sound.
The truth is,
it is a softer sound than the grand or upright.

As previously stated,
some actually sound like a harp.
So, we can't compare apples and oranges.
We need to understand
what was going on in history
and what materials where available at the time,
as well as look at
what venues these pianos were crafted for.

people what baby grand and concert grands.
People want Elton John
to have a bigger and louder piano
every time they see him.
looking at things historically,
putting things in perspective,
modern music
really does carry
a harsher/louder sound.
Back in the day
we were making music
for theaters and parlors.
Back in the day,
an instrument that made music
to fill The Palace of Auburn Hills
wasn't being considered.
It was a ofter sound,
a gentler sound
that was so desired.

And so,
now I have, more or less,
explained what a square grand piano is.

I am Andrea,
The Square Grand Piano.
I was crafted by Steinway and Sons.
I am made of Brazilian Rosewood
and have my original ivory keys.
I was crafted in the year 1872.

Welcome to my blog!

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