Saturday 22 February 2014

Reduced size piano keyboards in Dallas

I have to confess that, until the press release from the DCS International Piano Competition dropped into my inbox, I had never heard of reduced size keyboards. The competition takes place in Dallas from 13 to 15 March 2014, and this year will be offering competitors the ability to play on Steinbuhler and Company's reduced size keyboards, the first time an international piano competition has done so. Competition and Masterclass participants will have the option of performing on concert grand pianos fitted with any one of the three standard keyboard sizes, make it possible for pianists with smaller hand spans to perform repertoire that on the modern piano is quite difficult – for many impossible.

Steinbuhler started making reduced size keyboards in the 1990's. These fit on standard pianos but give the pianist with small hands greater performance possibilities. The company makes keyboards which can be interchanged with standard ones on concert grands, thus offering a range of potential possibilities. Like many such technological innovations and rational instruments, whether it proves of sufficient benefit is dependent on sufficient people taking it up. The history of western classical music is littered with improved instruments which never gained common currency. There is a lot more information and videos at the Steinbuhler website.

The DCS International Piano Competition runs annually in Dallas; winners of the competition enjoy widespread recognition, publicity, a professional performance opportunity with the Dallas Chamber Symphony, and a recital at the Meadows School of the Arts.

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