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GG: Piano Modifications

The following information is copied from the liner notes of the Music & Arts
CD 663 (Beethoven, CPE Bach, Scarlatti, Scriabin.)  The author is identified
as Kevin Bazzara, a Canadian graduate student in music at the University of
California at Berkeley, "who plans to write a doctoral dissertation on
Gould's performance practices."  It doesn't give Mr. Bazzara's source for the
information, which is a pity... I don't know where he found this out, since I
haven't seen it in any books or articles on Gould, nor in any of his
reprinted letters.  It concerns the manner in which he modified his piano,
and the subsequent cricket-like chirp (Kevin Bazzara terms it a "hiccup")
that this made in the middle register.  I'd heard this, and wondered at the
cause... here is the explanation.

<<  A note on Gould's piano.  Astute listeners will notice the piano's
tendency to "hiccup" occasionally in the middle register, especially in slow,
quiet passages.  Gould was aware of this flaw, and while he did not
intentionally create it, he chose to put up with it, for reasons that require
some explanation.  In the early 1960s, Gould acquired a pre-World War II
Steinway that became his favorite piano, the instrument he used in his
recordings and broadcasts throughout the 1960s and 70s.  When he first
acquired it, Gould had its action tinkered with to suit his needs.  Being
interested mostly in Bach at that time, Gould wanted an instrument that more
resembled a fortepiano than a modern piano, with a clean, dry tone, a light,
hair-trigger response and instant damping.  He also moved the hammers closer
to the strings, giving him more immediate grab and control of the sound.  For
the first few years following this surgery, one of the accidental byproducts
was the hiccuping middle register.  It is especially noticeable in the first
recording Gould made on his "improved" Steinway, Bach's Two- and Three-Part
Inventions.  Gould was more interested in action than sonority; he cared more
about having absolute control over phrasing, articulation and resonance than
about shimmering piano tone.  When it became clear that the hiccup could only
be removed at the expense of this control, Gould opted to put up with it;
indeed, he seemed to develop some affection for this anomaly.  Gould's
beleaguered piano technicians were able gradually to work out the problem
over the years, and by 1970 it was scarcely noticeable.  Like Gould's
perennial humming while he played, mechanical tinkering with his piano seems
to have been essential to to his playing probably as much for psychological
reasons as anything else.  In any event, the hiccup is no more bothersome
than scratches on old  78 recordings or concert hall coughing, and like them,
it seems a small price to pay for artistry of this caliber.>>

I always thought that squeaking of the Yamaha that he played in his latter
years (especially noticeable on the '82 Variations) was much more obtrusive
than the chirping of CD318 (I am assuming, from the recordings mentioned and
the time frame given, that 318 is the piano Kevin Bazzara is referring to.)
 Like the humming, it never obtruded to the point of spoiling the marvelous