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instead of losing them within the first few months, as sometimes happens.

The tonal qualities of perfection in a pianoforte are extremely difficult of attainment. It is a question of scale, sounding board, such and such a system of bracing and bridging; there is the art of "crowning" the sounding board in such a way that it will sustain the tremendous downward pull of the strings, and come back into its elastic condition after years, and the trying vicissitudes of climate incident to America. With strings of the right length and proportion, resting upon the sounding board bridges at proper points, it is possible to obtain a prolonged vibration. In some pianos while this vibration will endure perceptibly for some seconds, by far the greater proportion of the initial tone is lost within the first five seconds. Others carry out for a long time almost the entire body of tone. Upon any good Steinway piano, and upon the best of others, there will be heard a crescendo if the pedal be pressed about a second after a tone has been sounded, while the finger is still resting upon the key. This is produced by the harmonics falling into sympathetic vibration with the principal note. In other instruments this will not be noticed. When it is present it gives the instrument what is called a "sympathetic tone."

Again, there is a question of the kind of tone one wants. For instance, the type of Steinway tone is essentially different from that of the Weber, for example. The Steinway is not so "woody,” shall we call it? There are a very large number of instruments which have this somber type of tone. They are very popular with amateurs, and with singers. They are not so well adapted to instrumental music, and one will find that as between a piano with a string type of tone and this more veiled quality, the former will invite to playing far beyond what was originally intended; whereas the somber one does not inspire one to play long in sonatas and other of the higher kinds of music. It is not open to any committee of award to say of one of these types of tone that it is the best. At this point the question is one of tastes. But it is open to define the relative force of partial tones in the klang which imparts the string quality, and the absence of which partials leaves the tone somber.

As for rank of type of tone, this question has been decided in the fact that the Steinways, Chickerings, Gildermeester & Kroger, Mason & Hamlin, Decker, and dozens of others, including the leading European makers, adopt it. The other type has also many friends, such as the owners of the Weber, the Knabe, Hardman, and a great variety of the lesser makes.

When once the piano has been built with reference to scale and sounding board in such way that tone is possible, it is next a question of hammer, and particularly of felt. There are many pianos in the market in which the mere hammers cost as low as three dollars; others cost four or five; some, it is claimed, cost as much as ten or twelve dollars a set. The writer once saw the experiment

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instead of losing them within the first few months, as sometimes happens.

The tonal qualities of perfection in a pianoforte are extremely difficult of attainment. It is a question of scale, sounding board, such and such a system of bracing and bridging; there is the art of "crowning" the sounding board in such a way that it will sustain the tremendous downward pull of the strings, and come back into its elastic condition after years, and the trying vicissitudes of climate incident to America. With strings of the right length and proportion, resting upon the sounding board bridges at proper points, it is possible to obtain a prolonged vibration. In some pianos while this vibration will endure perceptibly for some seconds, by far the greater proportion of the initial tone is lost within the first five seconds. Others carry out for a long time almost the entire body of tone. Upon any good Steinway piano, and upon the best of others, there will be heard a crescendo if the pedal be pressed about a second after a tone has been sounded, while the finger is still resting upon the key. This is produced by the harmonics falling into sympathetic vibration with the principal note. In other instruments this will not be noticed. When it is present it gives the instrument what is called a "sympathetic tone.”

Again, there is a question of the kind of tone one wants. For instance, the type of Steinway tone is essentially different from that of the Weber, for example. The Steinway is not so "woody," shall we call it? There are a very large number of instruments which have this somber type of tone. They are very popular with amateurs, and with singers. They are not so well adapted to instrumental music, and one will find that as between a piano with a string type of tone and this more veiled quality, the former will invite to playing far beyond what was originally intended; whereas the somber one does not inspire one to play long in sonatas and other of the higher kinds of music. It is not open to any committee of award to say of one of these types of tone that it is the best. At this point the question is one of tastes. But it is open to define the relative force of partial tones in the klang which imparts the string quality, and the absence of which partials leaves the tone somber.

As for rank of type of tone, this question has been decided in the fact that the Steinways, Chickerings, Gildermeester & Kroger, Mason & Hamlin, Decker, and dozens of others, including the leading European makers, adopt it. The other type has also many friends, such as the owners of the Weber, the Knabe, Hardman, and a great variety of the lesser makes.

When once the piano has been built with reference to scale and sounding board in such way that tone is possible, it is next a question of hammer, and particularly of felt. There are many pianos in the market in which the mere hammers cost as low as three dollars; others cost four or five: some, it is claimed, cost as much as ten or twelve dollars a set. The writer once saw the experiment

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tried of putting Steinway hammers upon a much cheaper piano, and the change of tone was something wonderful. Immediately the proprietor was asked why he did not use these hammers all the time, and if necessary, charge a little more for them. The answer was that in a low priced piano everything had to be kept down to a certain scale-on the principle of the deacon's "wonderful one-horse shay," most likely.

Then when hammer quality is right, it is a question of where to strike, whether nearer or further from the bridge: where to let go, whether at a quarter of an inch from the string or farther away, and so on. Moreover, it is a question of the weather. When the air is full of moisture the sounding board, however carefully it may have been protected, changes more or less. When the board swells the tone is not so free. The hammer, also, participates in the general mutability. It is liable to absorb moisture and lose its definite degree of hardness requisite at the point of the scale where it is placed. Certain manufacturers adopt measures to protect their instruments against some of these changes. The Steinways, for instance, have a protecting size, which they apply to the sides of the hammer as a guard against moisture. These are only a very few of the points which one has to determine in a fine instrument.

In the present state of physics it ought to be possible to analyze tone with reference to the presence and relative power of partials in the klang. In this way might be ascertained the precise composition of the string quality of tone, and the precise lack, if lack it be called, in the somber tone.

So also with singing-quality of tone. The duration of the vibration in different parts of the scale, and the percentage of the original volume of tone enduring for a stipulated time after the attack, are points which might be determined, if not to precision at least to a certainty far beyond anything possible to empirical examination. Pure, rich, sympathetic tone-quality, responsive action, and singing power might be determined as nearly as possible. It would then be found that one instrument excelled, for instance, in tone quality and evenness: another in prolonged vibrations; another in carrying the greatest possible percentage of vibration, and so on. At the end there would be no one instrument entitled to all the honors. There would be other questions, moreover, such as tenacity of tone, endurance of weather, and the like, so that the only possible classification would be one in which the same instrument would be found high in one respect, and less high in another. Moreover, there would be found certain averages which would give rise to a classification in which a half dozen makes would belong to a class by themselves, having the highest averages of good points. In such a system of awards there would be nothing new. The instruments have made it for themselves, and within general lines the wholesale prices are made on just such a conscientious confession. The best come highest, and so on down.

Such a scientific examination of instruments might be made iu that personality. In the present system of casting the mak

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