What attracts you to a Schimmel concert grand piano? Is it the shape or the open lid, allowing a glimpse into the mechanics of this instrument? Maybe it’s the romanticism of the instrument or the history, knowing the greatest musicians have always played these pianos. The history of these marvelous pianos reveals a lot about why we love them, why we play them and why Schimmel produces some of the best grand pianos on the market.
The Early Years
The big sisters of the piano is the harpsichord, which was most likely invented during the Middle Ages and which rose to prominence in the 16th century. This instrument flourished in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. In harpsichords, the strings are plucked with quills. They have lower string tensions and often have two sets of keyboards. Harpsichords were often played standing up until sometime in the 18th century.
Sometime around 1700, an Italian named Bartolomeo Cristofori build the first grand piano. Instead of plucking the strings, his piano had hammers that struck the strings and allowed for more expressive playing because the pianist could now repeat notes rapidly.
The Italian’s innovation took off with piano makers in England and Germany developing and fine-tuning the instrument. Composers began writing music exclusively for the grand piano and by the mid-18th century, J.S. Bach had taken up the piano. Piano makers began mass producing the grand piano in the 1800s as many of today’s finest piano makers began their art.
The Schimmel Piano
Wilhelm Schimmel established his own workshop in Leipzig in 1885. His slogan, "Quality will prevail," guided his work and he soon became known for producing pianos of exceptional tone, advanced technique and contemporary forms.
In 1927, his son, Wilhelm Arno Schimmel, moved the company to Brunswick and continued the work of his father — producing innovative, high quality grand pianos. Soon, Schimmel pianos were the most widely used piano in Europe and were beginning to make a splash in the United States as well.
Schimmel concert grand pianos have a wide variety of unique characteristics differentiating these pianos from other concert series. For example, the soundboards are curved into a three dimensional form producing a dome shaped crown. This construction produces excellent voice stability and a rich tone.
The company produces two lines of grand pianos, the Schimmel Classic and the Schimmel Konzert. The Schimmel Konzert line is slightly smaller in size than the classic line allowing pianists to experience and enjoy the full benefits of a concert grand piano but in a slightly smaller size.
The magic and allure of the grand piano has not changed much since it’s creation more than 300 years ago. Seeing these pianos on a stage, under lights with the lid fully open exposing the complicated structure beneath always inspires me no matter how many times I see it. The allure is not lost on piano makers, either, and you can see the hold the piano has on the craftsmen at Schimmel, who continuously strive to improve on the basic model invented by Cristofori. Try a Schimmel grand piano today and you will see why this piano has enthralled and entranced musicians for generations.