Meeting with a Piano-maker

Pouëdras Pianos:

Caroline Pouëdras is working in Talence, near Bordeaux from more than 20 years and requested our services to restore the wood pieces of the pianos

What is a piano-maker ? Taken literally, the piano-maker is the person who makes the piano. Nowadays,this term is used to call any professional who makes or assembles pieces of pianos, but a piano-maker can also tune, maintain, repair, restore, and sell or rent pianos. Caroline Pouëdras proposes all these services in south-west of France, and enjoys sharing her passion for piano during various public events, such as concerts, exhibitions or “European Heritage days”. By restoring old pianos, Caroline Pouedras allows to preserve and perpetuate the heritage and quality of prestigious piano manufactures such as the french company Pleyel, that is now closed.

 

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Mme Pouedras Caroline / Pouedras pianos

The history of piano:

The piano is a polyphonic keyboard instrument that allow the practice of a large musical repertory. In contrast to stringed-instruments, the sound of piano resonate from chords that are strucked by small hammers when the keys are pressed. Pianos, complex and sophisticated instruments, are often used for musical education since they allow to produce a sound easily and cover almost all the sound spectrum used by compositors.

Origins of piano are quite recent and date back to the 18th century, when Mr Bartolomeo Cristofori made the first “piano-forte”. During the 19th century, the manufacture of pianos and the musical repertory dedicated to this instrument acquired considerable momentum. Stimulated by this growing success, piano-makers progressively improved the mechanisms of pianos to respond to the need of the users (whether professional or amateur, compositor or interpret), ultimately leading to the characteristics of the modern piano.

The Modern piano is a massive instrument, both in weight and size. it is the result of a complex assembly of about 10 000 pieces and need a solid structure to support the huge tension from 220 steel chords that can reach 15-20 tonnes. Inside the furniture, wood beams constitute a frame that support successively the sound board, the cast iron frame, and the mechanisms allowing the hammers action.

There are two main types of pianos: upright and grand pianos. In upright pianos (weight 130kg, height 1.06-1.30m), chords and sound board are vertical and perpendicular to the keyboard. In contrast, grand pianos are organised along the horizontal plan and have a wing-shape sound box. Grand pianos exist in different size, from the smallest one (lenght 1.5m) to the concert piano that can reach 3 m and weight around 500 kg.

Source: INMA / “Le Piano” de Catherine Michaud-Pradeilles et Claude Helfer / www.pouedraspianos.com/

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