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The Good Life

Melody Makers
Pianos that offer a soulful experience for every music-lover

Aishwarya Parikh

Whether it’s a jazz concert or a classical solo, the performance cannot be the same without the grandeur of a piano. It is incomplete without the harmony, the sharp, hollow, deep tunes following the keys. Leena Mistry, country manager, Steinway and Sons is proud of this fact. She is a part of Furtados Music team, the only dealer of the German brand in India. The 165-year-old company is the leading piano brand in the world, and handcrafted Steinway pianos are every artist’s dream.

You can choose from a variety of Steinway pianos — upright, spirio, grand — but one thing that the Steinway pianomakers boast about is the differentiating factor of each piano. Each Steinway piano is made of more than 12,000 individual parts and is a consummate work of art. The Upright pianos cost 4 million while the Grant pianos start at  7.5 million. The making of one grand piano takes upto nine months. If you’re wondering what goes into it, here it is: 19 layers of selected wood are glued together, pressed and then left to form a shell, following which, the soundboard and metal frame are installed. However, this good old company is quite particular about customisations, in terms of colour or finish. “We create our pianos in a way that it responds just the way the artist wants it to.” defends Mistry.

Koichi Kawai, the first one to introduce the concept of piano making outside of Europe developed the first Kawai piano in 1927. He learned the art of making pianos from the masters and returned home to create his own version for his country. Made of hydraulic action and naturally seasoned wood, Kawai pianos are known for its class. The Upright pianos start at 300,000; the Grand piano collection starts at 900,000 and goes upto 16 million. These 9 ft long pianos are heavy and come with 12 year warranty. These pianos are made in the Kawai factories in Japan and Indonesia. Sanjith Edwin, technical head at Theme World Music, the only retailer for Kawai pianos in India says, “As India has some space issues, it gets difficult to sell these pianos in India, especially when half of the population thinks a ‘casio’ is a keyboard and a keyboard is a piano. But having these grand pianos is an experience which is why you will spot a Shigeru Kawai at the Delhi Airport.”

While the Germans and Italians have always aced the piano game, Yamaha is a trusted favourite for artists in India. Known for its pumping bright sounds, these pianos stand out for its rich base and deep patch. That being the major highlight, these pianos cost anywhere between 200,000 and 1 million for the Upright range; the Grand pianos start at 2.4 million and goes up to 30 million. As the price increases, so does the length of the piano. Its most famous piano is the Concert Grand piano, used extensively by artists all around the globe. Tuhin Rao, musician and owner at Tuhin Rao’s Piano Studio says, “My general view is, that Japanese piano brands are superior in quality as compared with the traditional piano brands. Yamaha pianos have a better tuning and a more resonant sound.” For artists looking for your next set of keys or if you're simply instrument-curious, keep an eye out for these pianos.

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