Maestro creates 'groundbreaking' piano

Daniel Barenboim debuts his cleaner-sounding instrument after four years of work.

Daniel BarenboimDaniel BarenboimDaniel Barenboim plays the piano he designed for the first time in public. He claims his new design makes for a cleaner sound. (Photo: Adrian Dennis / AFP/Getty Images)

Whenever you watch a classical or contemporary pianist play in concert, they're probably playing a Steinway or a model based on the company's design, which hasn't changed much since the 1880s. But Daniel Barenboim, the Argentine-Israeli pianist and conductor, thought the design could use improvement.

Four years and 4,000 man-hours after getting his inspiration, he unveiled his Barenboim piano to a group of reporters Tuesday. The main distinction between Barenboim's piano, on which he collaborated with instrument designer Chris Maene, and a traditional model is that the strings on the maestro's piano are straight and parallel to each other. On a traditional piano, the strings are diagonal and cross each other.

Barenboim claims the sound from his redesigned, "groundbreaking" piano is cleaner than from the Steinway. "It has more transparency, more clarity and by itself less blend, but it gives you the opportunity to create a blend yourself as a player," he told The Guardian. It's hard to tell the difference from the video below, but maybe if you have a trained ear, you can figure out how his piano is different.

The maestro will play his new piano in a concert series in London starting tonight. He is scheduled to play Franz Schubert's piano sonatas. Right now, there are only two Barenboim pianos, owned by its namesake and Maene, but he hopes it'll go into mass production soon.

After this weekend's performance, Englanders will have another opportunity to hear Barenboim when he performs in August at London’s Royal Albert Hall as part of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra consisting of young Israeli, Arab and European musicians.

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