Tag Archives: steinway d

WGBH piano video shows mathematics in service of world culture

This video was created by WGBH Public Television Boston for the Annenberg Network series on Mathematics as an example of someone who has put Algebra to use in the real world in service of world culture.


There are three additions I’d like to make:


When using 1 gram blocks simulating the piano hammer out on the far end of a see saw,  the movie shows me placing the block on the table instead of on the end of the beam.

The reason, which is not shown,  is that I place weights along the beam to simulate all the parts of the key.  When they are in place then I place the 10gram weight on the end of the seesaw and slide it along until this beam is balanced.

How far out the weight is on the beams tells the weight ratio of the action.

Finding the position for a known weight on a see saw so that the see saw balances level is an analogy for solving an equation for a single unknown variable.


When displaying the hammer weight analysis of a Hamburg Steinway D in Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory of Music. The data shows a big dip in the weight.

This is the way it came from factory and it’s usually the hammer weights are found to be smoother in these pianos but you never know until you measure them..

What the video does not say is that the dashed lined on the graph just above the hammer weights is the new Precision Touch Design specification after  modifying and upgrading this action.

Lead weights were inserted into the wooden portion of the piano hammer to bring the weights up so specification.

The result is a more even and predictable result in the response of the keys and more evenness in the tone.   Bringing the weight level up also increases the projection of the sound and fullness of the tone which is important in a concert hall.


After showing a graph of how much lead weight is in the keystick from the factory and how the equation is used to smooth out the weight inconsistencies, I mention that we use a wippen support spring added to the existing parts.

A combination of spring tension and lead weight is used to create a faster, quicker action without giving up hammer weight and tone.

It should be noted that we do not do this to all Stanwood Action jobs.  It is what we call a “High Performance Option”.

pro piano: steinway d preferred by Krystian Zimerman refined and enhanced


June 26, 2001

“Onward and upward… the GREAT David Stanwood… did some GREAT work at/for/on Pro Piano”

– Ricard de La Rosa of Pro Piano

Background history:

Over the years Ricard de La Rosa has contracted with David Stanwood to refine and enhance the high quality of many new Hamburg Steinway Model D concert grands owned, leased, and sold by Pro Piano.

Ricard de La Rosa may be credited with nurturing this important path breaking research and work done by Stanwood, whose work is making important and historic improvements to pianos worldwide and raising the standard of piano making and piano playing world wide.

The most notable among these Pro Piano instruments improved by Stanwood was Steinway D Pro#0220 which was a favorite of Krystian Zimerman, the famous Polish Classical Pianist.

Krystian Zimerman

“Zimerman toured with it for one full season. (D0220…) and it recorded several (he recorded on it, too… winning a Grammy and Disque  D’or, as well as the GRAMMOPHONE etc…. etc. the Ravel G Major with Boulez and Cleveland, etc.” – Ricard de La Rosa

college conservatory of music: fred hersch enjoys piano’s feel and response

college conservatory of music

Eric Wolfley, Stanwood Precision TouchDesign Installer and concert piano technician for University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music of Music Wrote:

Hi David,

Just wanted to let you know… Fred Hersch was here at the Conservatory last Sunday for a solo concert and he selected the 1929 D (Stanwood/Wapin) over our new (1999) NY D.

He said the new piano was better than a lot of the Ds in the basement at Steinway but the feel and response didn’t match the Stanwood action.

I don’t know how much the quality of sound is due to high strikeweights with Hamburg hammers or the “Wapin” effect (the combination definitely works), but that is the sweetest sounding piano Fred herschthat still has more than enough power to kick ass I’ve had occasion to work on.

I sat in the last row, of the 280 seat Mary Emery Recital Hall and when he was playing pianissimo the sound still filled the ears like you were wearing headphones or were standing right next to the piano.

Very nice!

I received many compliments on the piano and heard a lot of people talking about it afterward.

Nothing makes you feel better than to be riding down an elevator (anonymously) and hear people discussing not just how wonderful the music was but also how the piano was the best they had ever heard!

Thanks for all your great work and the tools you are giving us to do our best work!

Eric Wolfley

music director, national public radio says the piano responds to her touch

kimberlea daggy

Kimberlea Daggy, Music Director of WFDD Public Radio, Wake Forest University, NC.

Gave her written testimonial on the newly rebuilt Steinway D concert piano rebuilt by Foy Piano Corp, with Sound Board by John Hartman and Precision TouchDesign by Stanwood.

“Why I love your piano”

“I’ve just finished playing Chopin, Brahms and Debussy on your gorgeous piano. I really like the way the instrument responds to not only my touch, but my thought.

This action is so friendly – it seems to ask to be played.

The more I play, the more it wants to be played.

It responds to the loudest and firmest playing just as well as soft, intimate playing. I don’t have to do anything extra to have the piano sound the way I hear it in my mind.”

Kimberlea Daggy

serkin: its amazing, the feel so immediate

Rudolf Serkin

“The action is perfect. It’s even… the whole thing.”

“It feels connected somehow. I couldn’t believe it at first.”

“It’s amazing. The feeling is so immediate.

It reminds me a little of Bosendorfer. This is better, I mean… for me.”
“Thank you for showing me.”
Transcribed from a taped conversation with Mr. Serkin after he played a Steinway D fitted with an early prototype Stanwood Touch Design at the Marlboro Music Festival , August 8, 1988.