The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) recently chose Willis Music Company for the final selection of 2016’s Top 100 Dealer Awards. The NAMM website elaborates, “Each Top 100 submission was reviewed by an independent panel of judges and numerically rated across categories that included customer service, music advocacy, store design and promotions and were scored in accordance to determine the Top 100 list, the category winners, and the overall award, Dealer of the Year.” (NAMM)
We would like to thank our customers and staff here at Willis Music for their continued support, allowing us to achieve this prestigious nomination. We pride ourselves on giving our very best to our customers and music community and we are very honored to be part of the Top 100.
If you’ve ever seen a world-class pianist playing a great piece of music, you might agree that they are possibly the world’s best musician. It takes amazing physical, intellectual, and emotional brilliance to play such a complex instrument in such a captivating way, and only a small percentage of the world’s pianists are up to the job. One of my personal favorites is Yuja Wang.
But it’s not just the musician who makes the music sound so fantastic: the instrument plays a huge part too.
Let’s take a closer look inside a piano and find out how it works! How does a piano make sound?
A piano sounds quite unlike any other instrument and, if you heard it on the radio, you’d probably never guess how it was making a noise. The confusing thing about a piano is that it’s two different kinds of instrument in one: it’s a string instrument, because the sounds are made with strings, but it’s also a percussion instrument (like a drum) because the strings make sound when something hits them. Listen to the music of a composer like Bartok and you’ll often hear the piano being played percussive manner, almost beating like a drum.
So what happens when you press the key of a piano? The key is actually a wooden lever, a bit like a seesaw but much longer at one end than at the other. When you press down on a key, the opposite end of the lever (hidden inside the case) jumps up in the air, forcing a small felt-covered hammer to press against the piano strings, making a musical note. At the same time, at the extreme end of the lever behind the hammer, another mechanical part called a damper is also forced up into the air. When you release the key, the hammer and the damper fall back down again. The damper sits on top of the string, stops it vibrating, and brings the note rapidly to an end.
When the hammer strikes the strings, it vibrates, sets air molecules in motion and sends the sounds of the strings out toward your ears. To make the sounds louder, there is a large piece of wood mounted underneath them, called the soundboard. When the strings vibrate, the soundboard also vibrates in sympathy resonance. The soundboard effectively amplifies the strings so they are loud enough to hear.
If you’ve ever wondered why pianos are such a funny shape, that’s easy to answer. Remember that they’re string instruments. Lower notes need longer strings than higher notes, so the bass strings for the low notes on the left-hand side of the keyboard need to be much longer than the treble strings for the high notes on the right-hand side. That’s why the case is longer on the left than on the right and why it has that funny curved rim. In fact, the strings on the left are so long that they cross over, on top of the middle and treble strings to save space.
Since each note can have up to three strings, it turns out that there are well over 230 strings inside a piano, each one stretched really tight. To stop the strings from collapsing the entire piano inwards, the rim and case are reinforced by a huge, heavy cast iron plate. The plate sits just above the sound board and large metal holes around its edge allow the sound to come up through it.
Take a quick tour of how a grand piano works. Check out the following video from the science channel.
My wife Debbi and I were honored to attend a very special event this past Friday in Cincinnati. Recently, MTNA moved into a beautiful new headquarters in Cincinnati. The offices were most recently occupied by a Cincinnati law firm and are richly decorated. Gary Ingle (MTNA CEO) and Brian Shepard (MTNA COO) were approached by the landlord to take an additional space at an extremely attractive price. While not in the original plans, Brian and Gary envisioned a recital hall where pianists could perform and music lovers could enjoy live piano performances. After securing the room, they approached longtime partners Steinway and Sons, and Willis Music about securing a piano for the space. Steinway and Sons supplied the piano and Willis took care of the delivery which was a challenge in itself. Their offices are in the PNC tower which when built in 1913 was the fifth tallest tower in the world. The only problem with this beautiful historic building is that it doesn’t have freight elevators and the passenger elevators are extremely small. We carefully measured and determined that we could fit a Steinway and Sons Model S. Regardless of our careful measurement our fingers were crossed on the day of the move and it went off without a hitch.
This inaugural concert was held in conjunction with the MTNA Board of Directors Meeting with board members and friends present. Steinway Artist and CCM Eminent Scholar, James Tocco performed and certainly showed off all this beautiful piano is capable of. He entertained everyone in attendance with not only his music but entertaining stories about the music he chose.
Steinway and Sons and Willis Music were pleased to be asked by MTNA to partner in bringing another live music venue to MTNA members and the music community of Greater Cincinnati.
Pictured: (L to R) Gary Ingle, MTNA; Rebecca Grooms Johnson, MTNA; Kevin Cranley, Willis Music; James Tocco, CCM; Sally Coveleskie, Steinway and Sons; Peter Landgren, CCM; Darren Marshall, Steinway and Sons
25th Anniversary Savings
Up to $2,500 Instant Rebate
Make an appointment or just stop in to view and play a Boston Piano:
- Willis Music Kenwood
8118 Montgomery Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45236
- Willis Music Florence
7567 Mall Rd.
Florence, KY 41042
The Steinway-designed Boston piano is long unrivaled in its class and unmatched in value. Employing the unique patents and expertise that have made the Steinway name synonymous with musical excellence, Boston pianos offer the pedigree of Steinway engineering with the accessibility of a mid-priced piano.
Now, for a limited time, you can save up to $2,500 with an instant rebate on any new Steinway-designed Boston upright or grand piano in stock.* It’s all part of the celebration as we kick off Boston’s 25th Anniversary Year.
*Not applicable with any other offer. Piano must be in stock and purchased by 11/30/2015.
Features of the Boston Piano – Designed by Steinway & Sons
Willis Music would like to congratulate all the marching bands that participated in the State Marching Band competition and those whom placed.
High school marching bands from throughout the state competed at the Kentucky Music Educators Association State Marching Band Championships on Saturday in Bowling Green.
The five divisions and their final standings are:
- 1st: Beechwood
- 2nd: Murray
- 3rd: Williamstown
- 4th: Hazard
- 1st: Estill County
- 2nd: Garrard County
- 3rd: Glasgow
- 4th: Washington County
- 1st: Adair County
- 2nd: Bourbon County
- 3rd: Russell County
- 4th: Boyle County
- 1st: Grant County
- 2nd: Madisonville North Hopkins
- 3rd: Anderson County
- 4th: Hopkinsville
- 1st: Madison Central
- 2nd: North Hardin
- 3rd: Paul Laurence Dunbar
- 4th: Lafayette
West Chester, OH 45069 513.777.7474
Willis Music (Kenwood Galleria)
Cincinnati, OH 45236 513.252.0445