Voicing The Piano

Joining the small team at Steinway's technical workshop in London to discover how Jeff Prett, the renowned 'voicer' gives the piano a distinctive voice of its own. His task is to restore a special piano; a hundred year old rosewood Steinway model belonging to Michael Black. The piano was bought second hand by Mr Black's mother's in the 1920's. Now he's planning to hand it on to his talented granddaughter. But it needs restoring if it's to last another couple of generations. First it goes to Hamburg for a new soundboard. Steinways have been making pianos there for a hundred and fifty years - and though their competitors buy a piano each year to find out their secrets, then we enter the sacred chamber of the soundboard - where no cameras are ever allowed. Back in London, in the care of Jeff Prett - it's time for the piano's new voice. Concert pianist Kathy Stott- who explains how she befriends the hostile pianos she meets at concerts and what happens when she meets a piano with a sound that matches her own inner voice and jazz pianist Richard Wetherall describes his own piano voice as 'brown' and talks of his particular fondness for the note d flat. Lastly, Mr Black's piano goes home to Ilkley - where the two meet again for the first time in seven months.

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