Greatest Piano Composers of All Time

famous piano composersFor years, brilliant composers have provided entertainment to the masses, creating beautiful music that is used as background to many of life’s big events. As musicians seek to learn their trade, they are urged to spend a large amount of time studying the greats. Through understanding their history, as well as listening to their music, modern-day composers can learn and grow in their own musical efforts.

While there are many great musical composers whose work was created for the piano, several throughout history stand out. The following composers are among the most revered piano composers of all time for a reason.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Johann Sebastian Bach is known for touching the world with his music without leaving his home country of Germany. Bach was born into a family of musicians, including professional court chamber musicians and a well-known composer and violinist, Johann Ludwig Bach. He began earning a reputation as a talented musician while providing music for religious services and teaching others to play. Many consider Bach to be the greatest musical composer of all time. Bach was shown an early version of what would become the piano during his lifetime, but it was still a novelty during his lifetime, which means the classics many pianists play on pianos today were actually created for the organ or harpsichord.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Ludwig van Beethoven’s musical beginnings were less than auspicious, with his alcoholic father reportedly forcing him to play for hours, punishing him for making errors. Despite these abusive beginnings, Beethoven continued to play into adulthood, creating some of the most iconic works of our time. At the age of ten, he left school to study music with the court organist and a few years later, he accepted an appointment as court organist. A longtime battle with hearing loss led him to eventually become reclusive and, in his final years, he had trouble performing in concert, although he continued to create some of today’s best-known compositions.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Like many famous composers, Mozart began at a very young age, performing for public audiences by the age of six. While working as an assistant concertmaster for the archbishop, he composed music in a variety of genres, creating symphonies, sonatas, operas, and more. He began composing for the piano in 1776, creating the Piano Concerto Number 9 in E Flat Major at the age of 21. His opera, Die Entführung, brought him fame throughout Europe, and his more than 600 compositions have lived on long after his death.

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Johannes Brahms is often grouped with fellow musicians Bach and Beethoven as the “Three Bs” of classical music. During his lifetime, Brahms was revered as one of the best composers of his time, with his notable perfectionism leading him to destroy some of his compositions before they were ever published. Today, he is considered an innovator in music composition, with his works serving as the staple of many operas and concert performances today.

By learning about the masters of musical composition, both pianists and their audiences can grow a greater appreciation for the songs they hear. These musical geniuses have legacies that have continued long after their deaths, serving as a great example to generations of new musicians and classical music fans.

This entry was posted in Piano News.

How Invention of Piano Influenced Composition

Musical Composition Altered by Invention of Piano

invention of pianoSome of the best music of all time was written by Johann Sebastian Bach, a composer of the early 1700s. Today’s pianists sometimes notice that much of Bach’s work was composed in the same three octaves, but what they don’t realize is that the piano as we know it today did not exist when he began composing. Bach’s compositions were created on organs and harpsichords. It was only in 1747, during a visit to King Frederick II, that Bach experimented with the piano.

The piano can actually be traced back to the mid-1600s, when musical instrument maker Bartolomeo Cristofori di Francesco is believed to have begun experimenting with an instrument that would have the loudness of a harpsichord while providing the sound control of a clavichord. Cristofori made great strides in developing the mechanical functionality of a piano but the instrument remained largely unnoticed until 1711, when an Italian writer wrote about it, including a diagram of the construction. This served as a “how-to” manual for inventors, who each set out to be the first to get a piano on the market.

Organ builder Gottfried Silberman succeeded. Silberman’s versions were almost identical to what Cristofori had created, adding what is now the damper pedal. Silberman showed his piano to Bach, who stated his dislike for it due to the softness of the higher notes. In later years, Bach would embrace the piano and even helped sell Silberman’s pianos.

But with or without Bach’s support, the piano’s gradual influence over music began with Silberman’s introduction. The piano is credited with the beginning of dynamic markings, since it introduced the ability to control the softness and loudness of the music being played. The piano also brought the ability to play a wider range of notes, which allowed compositions to become more versatile, incorporating seven octaves. Concert pianos have twelve octaves, which is a long way from the three octaves Bach was forced to work with.

Interestingly, Bach’s compositions are almost exclusively played on piano today. This has led many modern-day classic music fans to envision Bach creating his masterpieces on a piano when, in actuality, he’d never even seen a piano during his early days of composing. Today, the piano brings a large amount of control to a performance, allowing a musician to play loudly for emphasis or softly for subtlety, shaping many of the compositions that music lovers enjoy.


Chupps Pianos specializes in restoring and selling Steinway Pianos. With the largest selection of Steinway Pianos in the Midwest, Chupps also carries a selection of pianos from Yamaha, Kawai, Wurlitzer, and more. To learn more about Chupps Pianos, visit http://www.chuppspianos.com/

 

This entry was posted in Piano History.

Playing the Piano: A Workout for Your Brain

Piano Provides Exercise for the Mind

Depositphotos_7685004_mPiano lessons are largely reserved for young children, who often abandon the skill as they get older. But for adults, there are benefits of learning to play the piano that go far beyond entertaining family members at your next Christmas gathering. Like playing word games, piano lessons are a great way to keep your mind healthy throughout your life.

Benefits of an Active Mind

Studies have shown that indulging in activities like reading and games can lower the protein in the brain believed to cause Alzheimer’s. Brain scans conducted on participants in a study at the University of California found less instance of the protein beta-amyloid in those who regularly engaged in mind-stimulating activities throughout the course of their lives.

In younger students, researchers have linked piano study to greater abilities in subjects like math and science. In a study of intellectual adults, MIT scientists found that concert pianos had 30 percent larger cerebral cortexes than adults who had no instrumental music education. In fact, a separate study found that among Silicon Valley CEOs, 75 percent had some type of instrumental music education.

For adult piano students, reading and interpreting music engages the mind in a manner similar to playing a game or solving a puzzle. But piano education also requires a mind-body coordination, as a pianist must coordinate leg and hand movements to interpret the music on that page. No matter what age a person begins to study piano, the activity is a great workout for the brain.

Memory Enhancement and More

By keeping the mind sharp, adults can also enjoy better memory retention as they age. A study conducted by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine tracked 469 seniors over the age of 75. Those who participated in mind-stimulating activities such as playing a musical instrument were found to have less of a risk of developing dementia.

In addition to enhancing memory, learning to play the piano also has a positive impact on a person’s coordination, serving as a workout for both the brain and the body. The fingers remain active during piano play, providing exercise for the joints and helping manage arthritis symptoms for those who suffer from the condition.

Overall, adult piano instruction is a great way to learn something new. No matter what age you are, learning a new activity stimulates your mind, keeping it active and thriving well into your golden years.


Chupps Pianos is based in New Paris, Indiana, where pianos are refurbished for sale in its rebuilding facility. The New Paris shop offers a showroom, while Goshen Piano Service in Goshen, Indiana also showcases Chupps Pianos. Chupps offers both grand and upright pianos for sale, including pianos from Steinway & Sons, Yamaha, and more.

 

This entry was posted in Pianos.

Piano Care Tips

Controlling Humidity Levels

Humidity levels are crucial to the life of your piano, the stability of the tuning, and for prolonging the time in between tunings. Piano Care InstrumentsHumidity levels are also the cause of sticking keys. Too much humidity causes wood to swell and therefore can cause keys to stick but low humidity levels can also cause aggravating conditions such as sticking keys!

Low humidity is more likely present during the winter, however, during our current period of drought, it is important to watch our humidity levels closely. Low humidity cracks soundboards and other vital wood parts of your piano!

Proper humidity levels in your home, year round, should be in the range of 40-52%. In many areas it is impossible to maintain that constant level but the important condition to avoid during the winter months is humidity that is too low. If you are getting static electricity in your home, your piano is in danger!

Steinway Piano

Humidity levels and having your piano tuned annually are two of the most important things you must do to preserve your investment. Many people are under the wrong impression that if their piano isn’t played much or never played at all a tuning is unnecessary. Wrong! Annual tuning protects the pinblock and remember, having a technician regularly see and inspect your piano is necessary preventative maintenance.

Never place your piano on top of, directly beneath, or beside a heating/air conditioning duct. In the event the piano is placed in close proximity to a duct, buying an air-redirector shield, or completely closing off the vent is required.

Cleaning My Piano

With most high-gloss finishes today, we recommend using a microfiber cloth lightly dampened by water. Using furniture polish is highly discouraged since many polishes on the market contain silicone and other oily bases that do not belong on wood and will eventually dull and cloud the finish.

Once polishes with these chemicals have been used it is very difficult to return the finish of your piano to its original shine. Damp microfiber cloths are also the recommended care for satin and semi-gloss finish since using any polish will cause your finish to look streaky and will lose its intended sheen.

On a grand piano, it is always wise to close the lid when not in use. This helps keep dust and pet fur off
Steinway Pianothe soundboard, plate, and strings.

After time, you may want to have your grand piano professionally cleaned by a qualified technician. Do not attempt to clean any part of the inside without instruction. You can regularly vacuum the inside carefully using the brush attachment. But never, under any circumstance, use cleaning chemicals or furniture polish on the inside of the piano.

Cleaning your keys regularly feels better to the pianist and looks better to everyone. Using a damp (not wet) soft cloth, like a wash-cloth, and mild solution of dish soap and warm water, should be all you ever need.

This entry was posted in Piano Care, Steinway Pianos, Tips.

Toyko String Quartet Recording Featuring Pianist Jon Nakamatsu

Steinway Piano During the week November 14 the renowned Tokyo String Quartet, with guest pianist Jon Nakamatsu, began their latest recording with USA-harmonia mundi. The laureate pianist, Jon Nakamatsu, personally chose a Chupp’s Piano service restored Steinway D (#267275) concert grand from our Ft Wayne Selection Center to use during the recordings with the Tokyo String Quartet. This instrument is for sale!

During the week of recording, Dennis Chupp was the sole tuner and piano technician responsible for insuring the highest quality of concert tuning, tone and action responsiveness for pianist Jon Nakamatsu.

The internationally lauded, and critically acclaimed Tokyo String Quartet , consisting of Martin Beaver and Kikuei Ikeda (violins), Kazuhide Isomura (viola) and Clive Greensmith (cello), was founded in 1969 at the Julliard School of Music. Since the quartet was formed, they have developed an extensive library of over 40 celebrated recording and distinguished teachings and of late has performed over a hundred shows across the globe per season. Since 1995 the Tokyo String Quartet has performed and recorded on the world renown, invaluable “The Paganini Quartet” of Stradivarius instruments. Known for their incomparable sound quality, the “The Paganini Quartet” is one of only six sets of Stradivarius instruments known to currently exist.

Steinway Piano

Pianist Jon Nakamatsu, winner of the 1997 Van Cliburn Gold Medal, is an accomplished artist whom maintains an active touring schedule and is a favorite of music lovers across North America, Europe, and much more of the globe. Mr.

Nakamatsu is known for diverse repertoire and brilliant musicianship and has performed at many prestigious venues like the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, Warsaw’s Philharmonic Hall, and Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga.

It was a great honor, and an incredible experience to meet and work alongside this group of world renown musicians, as well as have one of our pianos be played in accompaniment with irreplaceable instruments like the “The Paganini Quartet” of Stradivarius instruments. At the conclusion of the recording session, all the members of the Tokyo String Quartet and pianist Jon Nakamatsu signed the Steinway Model D #267275 which is for sale in our Ft. Wayne Selection Center.

 Working on Pianos

This entry was posted in Piano News, Steinway Pianos.

1927 Steinway & Sons Walnut Art-Case Restoration

One of our most recent projects was the restoration of a unique 1927 Steinway & Sons Walnut Art-Case. We received the piano in rough, original condition. The walnut grain of the case was obscured due to aging of the finish, the veneer was completely missing in areas of the piano, and the cabinet had suffered water damage.

Before:

Steinway Piano

To return this rare instrument to its original beauty, we repaired the damaged areas, replaced the missing veneer,stained the cabinet in a warm, walnut hue, and applied a fully filled, hand-rubbed lacquer finish.

After:

Steinway Piano

This entry was posted in Restoration.

Welcome

This is my first entry on this blog. I have been rebuilding pianos for over 35 years. I spent 10 years journeying under the local Steinway service representative and area’s concert technician. I had a considerable amount of training from Fred Drasche who was the head Steinway & Sons Service Technician for many years. I also had training at the Steinway Factory in New York. My Three sons began working in our rebuilding shop at about age 12. My sons now work with me full time in our piano restoration business. My family has restored hundreds of vintage pianos including brands such as Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, Yamaha, Sohmer, Chickering, Baldwin, Knabe and many others.

I firmly believe that Steinway & Sons pianos are the best pianos in the world, as well as a very sound investment. Our main focus is on Steinway & Sons restorations, examples of which can be seen at www.chuppspianos.com/pianos. This is where you can keep track of our available rebuilt inventory. We plan to add future blog posts to keep track of the progress of the more interesting pianos we rebuild.

One of the more unique pianos we plan to document is the stunning 1903 Steinway & Sons A-II in tiger-oak. This piece was the only sketch #425 ever produced, we have put hundreds of hours into restoring this rare beauty back to its original glory.

Steinway Piano

This entry was posted in Steinway Pianos.