It the next few days, my house will be the home to another welcome addition to our large family. I found a 1914 Chickering Grand Piano, 6’4 in great condition, sold by original owners. We drove two hours to get it checked out. It was regulated in the last two years. The treble sound was awesome. The action is great, responding well to my interpretation of dynamics.
In the beginning, I played my parent’s favorite theme “Dahil Sa Isang Bulaklak” and the Chickering did not respond well to that. I became very disheartened and made faces to my husband that this is not the piano for me. The owners applauded my performance and had an inkling that I was a piano teacher.
I got my classical books out and began warming up. To my amazement, the 1914 Chickering grand piano responded to me as if it recognized all the music I was playing. In my own inanimate world of music, this grand piano knew the classics well. Pretty soon, I got so comfortable and challenged it. I began to be aware of its strength and beauty. I knew I can control this babe. After an hour of playing, I knew I found my grand piano. It has such great mellow, powerful bass and at the same time has the crispiness and the right amount of brightness on the treble side. My husband felt my music in his soul. What more should I ask from my listener?
The price was right.
My next task in the next few days was to get a piano mover. They quoted me $650 minimum to $1200 for 160 miles. I got a quote of $108 for normal piano tuning from Charlotte’s best piano tuner. An additional $50 will be charged to putting it to the standard pitch. I feel it would need some adjustments to perfect pitch. But, it is very important to me that I get it to the international standard pitch before I can enjoy any piano. He suggested 4x a year tuning for the first year.
I have decided that the new acquisition will be located in our formal living room. Though it is tempting to put it near the huge window, I know how direct sunlight and high varying temperatures can affect the sound and the wood.
I also took into consideration the finishing of the piano. It obviously does need some wood refinishing though my contact advised that since it will be soon be an “antique” piece, it is best to retain its original condition and just clean it.
I’ve researched about the right placement of the grand piano in a room. I like to consider the aesthetic and functionality of the piece. I’ve researched that the carpets, pictures frames, walls, glasses, air vents etc. have an effect on the overall tone of the grand piano. It is important that I understand the nuances of “acoustics” and arrange furniture pieces so it can reflect sound in the way I want it. I do not like the “muffled” sound. Should I aim for a “recital hall” acoustic? I think I will write an article on “How to design a room with a grand piano?” Watch out for it.
I have played on a 9′ STEINWAY grand piano for recitals, mostly in an auditorium. It has a rich powerful sound. In the area of action, it responded well but one needs to be acclimatized to it before you can get the response you want. My small fingers put me at a disadvantage. But, I manage.
I have owned a Yamaha and Baldwin in the past. The Yamaha has days it plays well and weeks that it sounded so unresponsive. The Baldwin has great powerful bass even with its upright. I like that it is so playable whatever the time of the day, whatever the weather, whatever my mood. It just responds. Also, my neighbors compliment my performances from their yards. It just tells me that my Baldwin’s tone quality is superb. I like the grand piano version of Yamaha and Baldwin. I am very inclined to get another Baldwin. I’ve played on many Steinway but I’ve never played in one that I liked. So, I have put Steinway out of my league. I knew my tastes are different. I want a piano that will help me sound like a concert pianist in my own little world where the audience is just me.
I knew about Chickering and the quality of pre-1930’s era pianos. But, to fall in love with an old one is unimaginable for me. But, it did happen. The connection was great between me and the 1914 Chickering Grand Piano. After reading through its history and the makers, I’ve decided that I have little to lose.
I am going to have a pretty interesting and exciting week. I’m just on “high”.
If you are interested on my piano related articles, click below: