Institutional Maintenance at Brooklyn Music School

20141107_100748 Founded in 1912, Brooklyn Music School is one of the oldest and most cherished Community Performing Arts Schools in NYC.  A number of my clients reminisce fondly about their childhood music lessons at BMS.  I help maintain the schools 14 pianos each Friday morning - today I worked on the "Otto Altenburg" baby grand in the MacDowell Room.  Made by Samick, it's a type of piano I've come to know and fear - not necessarily lower end, but not fun to tune or play.  It's one of a class of mid-range Asian pianos that feels rubbery and unstable when tuning and playing, and the higher end is always riddled with false beats (essentially a single string that sounds "out of tune," like two strings of different pitches played simultaneously.) They're always shiny and fancy, but don't hold up to closer inspection - whited sepulchers.  20141107_101058 20141107_110427

Next I moved to tune an old friend of mine, a pre-War Baldwin.  Baldwin made far superior pianos before WWII - the US War Production Board forced all US piano manufacturers to halt production during the war, and during this time Baldwin constructed various plywood airplane components - after the war they doubled production levels, focused more on vertical pianos, and their quality drastically decreased - every piano tuner with any experience has wrestled with crummy, false-beat ridden Baldwin consoles and spinets to his great frustration.

I assessed this piano before it was donated to the school to make sure it was worth their time - I intend to replace the badly chipped key ivories, but everything else is pretty sweet. Cleaned up the piano and headed home to prepare to host a Dia de los Muertos party - some of us can't let go of Halloween right away...

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