Note by Note: The Building of Steinway No. L1037
This documentary is about the building of a Steinway piano starting with the shaping of the lumber and going all the way through the process to the finished instrument. This documentary was filmed by Ben Niles and was released in 2007.
I was personally interested in the film because my friend Karen Atwood is a professional pianist. She has a nine foot Steinway in her living room. I love listening to her play her Steinway piano.
It takes approximately a year to make a piano. This documentary follows one piano in particular number L1037. There are literally thousands of small details that go into making a Steinway sound beautiful. In our modern times the Steinway pianos are some of the last pianos that are made completely by hand. That is why each Steinway has its own unique voice.
Not only is this the story of one piano but the story of the people at the Steinway factory, who make the instruments. One woman, who is a wood worker and builds the pianos, has worked at the factory for 32 years. The Chief Concert Technician from the Concert Department of the Steinway show room in New York City talked about the fact that the making of a Steinway piano has not changed in 100 years. He went on to say that he has been working for Steinway for 28 years and learns something new about pianos every day.
One very nice feature of this documentary is the conversations by musicians and pianists talking about the pianos, how they choose them and what speaks to them about the piano they have chosen. Another exciting aspect of this documentary is the beautiful piano music that accompanies the film.
I can think of nothing more creative than watching a documentary about the creation of a Steinway, a musical instrument that people will create beautiful music with. I highly recommended this documentary.