Resources, Technology

A Piano with 4 Pedals?!

Stuart & Sons is a Australian-based company who build hand-crafted pianos.  They are unique pianos for a number of reasons:

What is so special about Stuart & Sons pianos?

  • They have 4 pedals.  The fourth pedal is a second soft pedal, called the dulce pedal.  It brings the hammers’ resting point halfway up to the strings, reducing the intensity of the hammer strike and giving the pianist more control over sound quality and color.
  • They have a “bridge agraffe” string coupling device, which “enables the string when struck by the hammer to vibrate vertically and for a longer duration than in conventional piano designs.”  This allows the piano to have an unusual clarity especially in the low and high registers, and to have better dynamic and sustaining qualities.  Read this article for a more information. January 2018 update: “An Australian applied mathematician, Dr. Bob Anderson, was asked to look at the bridge agraffe. The first thing he noticed was that the equations defining the vibration of strings were deficient in that they did not take not account the changing length and tension of the string throughout each cycle. He won an international award for his revision of the mathematics of vibrating strings. He then showed that the conventional pinning of the strings resulted in elliptical polarisation of the vibrating string. This resulted in a rapid decay, a poor sustain, wasted energy in the string’s ending up vibrating horizontally instead of vertically, and non-harmonic DISTORTION of the note. (Harmonic distortion is fine, non-harmonic distortion is noise).” (credit: Ian Lowery)
  • Stuart & Sons pianos have 97 keys instead of the usual 88.  The outermost keys are both F’s, putting middle C exactly in the middle of keyboard. January 2018 update from Stuart & Sons: “My second point is that the Stuart is now running to 102 notes, and by mid 2018 will be running at 108 notes, which is the limit for the piano. (Any lower is inaudible, although its presence can be FELT. Any higher, the string is too short for the hammer).” (credit: Ian Lowery)

Check out this video:

Read more:

The Stuart & Sons piano sounds fascinating!  A trip to Australia to try one out might be in order someday.  Who knows, maybe a piano like this is bound to become the next Steinway.  =)

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3 thoughts on “A Piano with 4 Pedals?!”

  1. Hello Joy,

    I am the author of the pianoworld thread you refer to, and Stuart & Sons indded make very high quality hand-crafted pianos at the factory in Maryville. These pianos are a totally new paradigm and are, as you say, quite unlike any other piano ever made. The latest pianos sound and are quite extraordinary to play. Gregory Lewis of Leatham music has made some stunning recordings – one of which may be found here –

    Dr Christopher Moore
    .-= Christopher Moore´s last blog ..The Ultimate Piano (™) =-.

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