Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Grand Piano

John Broadwood & Sons
London, England
Wood and various materials
Case L. (perpendicular to keyboard): 227.3 cm (89-1/2 in.); Case W. (parellel to keyboard): 106.9 (42-1/8 in.); Case H. (including legs): 91 cm (35-7/8 in.): Souding L. of top string: 7.4 cm (3 in.); Sounding L. of bottom string: 172.2 cm (67-7/8 in.); Sounding L. of c2 (shortest): 27.3 cm (10-3/4 in.); 3-octave span: 49.1 cm (19-3/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Gift of Irvin G. Schorsch, Jr., 1980
Accession Number:
Not on view
Before Broadwood died in 1812, export had made his pianos world-famous. As grands grew wider to accommodate more keys, pedals moved from sides to center. The left pedal of this 5-1/2 octave grand shifts the action sideways in 2 steps for una and due corde effects. Center and right pedals lift the bass and treble dampers. Steel buttresses span the hammer gap to prevent string tension from pulling the tuning pin block inward. But the hitchpin rail cracked, necessitating repair with a brass plate. Henceforth, as pianos became larger and subject to greater stress, metal reinforcement played an increasing role in sustaining higher pitch standards and demand for more power, trends felt throughout the 19th century.
Marking: 1) (on nameboard) John Broadwood & Sons/Makers/to His Majesty & the Princesses/Great Pulteney Street Golden Square/ London
2) (on reverse of nameboard) 4032 Wa...[?]
3) (on hammer rail) Marshall
Irvin G. Schorsch Jr.
Written by, Edited by Thomas MacCracken. "The Divided Bridge, Due Tension, and Rational Striking Point in Early English Grand Pianos." Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society (1997), vol. XXIII, pg. 29, 40.

"Keyboard Instruments." Summer. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1989), Vol. 47, No. 1, pg. 42-43, ill.

Keynotes: Two Centuries of Piano Design. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985.

"Notable Acquisitions 1980-1981: Musical Instruments." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1981), pg. 41, ill.

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