Over the weekend, I spent a full day at a client's house regulating his beautiful Bösendorfer grand piano.
What the heck IS regulation, do you ask? To be honest, when writing the copy for this very website, I struggled coming up with a definition for regulation more than any of my other services.
Part of that is because although it is a critical part of what allows a piano to feel and sound its best, regulation is just not something most people have heard of, kind of like my sister's former job title of "actuarial analyst". But it's also because there's way more to it than what my distilled one sentence definition of "adjusting the many parts of the playing mechanism, called the action, in order to make the touch consistent and optimally responsive" implies.
Because I am the ultimate piano nerd, one of my goals in life is to have a home full of decor made from pianos.
For a variety of reasons, there eventually comes an unfortunate time (hopefully after a century or so of love, care, and musical joy) when a piano is no longer able to serve its original purpose as a musical instrument. Perhaps it barely plays, or no longer holds a tune, or both. Regardless, while the choice to rebuild or restore the instrument is occasionally made, the more common choice exercised these days is to have the piano unceremoniously hauled off the the dump. But a third option, to salvage and repurpose as much of a piano’s parts for furniture, functional decor, and art, has emerged as an increasingly popular choice. Because although some pianos can no longer help us make music, that’s not to say that everything about them has lost their value or splendor.
Take the square grand, for instance. By and large, due to improvements in piano technology, these rectangular (hey, no one ever said piano designers had to describe piano shapes with geometric accuracy) models are by an largely obsolete. But their frames are ideal for repurposing into desks or dining tables, while their innards make for cool, unique decor.
Can’t get enough of pianos and piano technology? Check out these books and DVDs!
Temperament: How Music Became a Battleground for the Great Minds of Western Civilization by Stuart Isacoff
Did you know that equal temperament, now the standard system of tuning for pianos, was once thought to be an affront to all that is good and holy? Neither did I, until I read this fascinating book that covers the journey and riddle of equal temperament, tackled by religious leaders, Greek mathematicians, Isaac Newton, and a brilliant Chinese scholar.
While I haven’t yet had the opportunity to read this book, I have read numerous reviews that describe it as an engaging declaration as to why the piano is the greatest of all instruments ever. That is all I needed to hear to recommend it to you, my fellow piano nerds.