We previously discussed how great a significance the correct let-off distance is in the control of the instrument, allowing the pianist to play pianississimo. The next adjustment that we will consider is referred to as “drop”. You may have noticed that when you were slowly raising the hammer to view the let-off distance, when the hammer would rise no further, it fell away from the string. This fall is referred to as drop.
How much? My typical answer, “just enough and no more”. As you might remember, every adjustment is related to several others and so not all specs can be qualified with a hard and fast measurement.
In a well-regulated instrument, the hammer will come to rest after it drops, approximately one-eighth of an inch from the string. This is a safe distance which will keep the hammer from bobbling, or double striking the string, after releasing the key from its fully depressed position. With the correct let-off and drop dialed in, does it mean that the action is well-regulated?
Again, it’s not that simple. We still need to throw in a combination of hammer check distance and repetition lever spring tension adjustment. What? I told you, it’s not that simple! At the end of the day, combining dozens of factors, a “in-tune” pianist can tell the difference between a well-regulated instrument and one that still needs work. Requiring a discerning touch, an experienced piano technician, who is an accomplished pianist, is key and invaluable to evaluating and instrument.
“Repetition lever spring adjustment” is many official words for a simple adjustment. As discussed in the two previous posts on let-off and fall, we were able to see and measure (at least with our eyes) the hammer position relative to the string. To do this, the hammer is raised very slowly and in a controlled manner.
Awarded to Hana from Clarkston, MI "Hana is a Junior and has been studying with me since she was four years old. She has been an active musician by joining the Clarkston High School Orchestra and by volunteering as a performer at the retirement house in the Troy area since she was in Elementary school. To add, she has won first place at numerous local piano solo and concerto competitions, and achieved the Superior ( highest rating) rating for the past twelve years at Michigan Federation Festivals. During the pandemic, she has been the most active student to participate in our donation efforts for frontline workers at Beaumont Hospital. Thanks to her continuous dedication in piano lessons, we were able to donate some funds and PPE to Beaumont. She hopes to continue giving back to the community with her musical talent and believes that her enthusiasm for music will connect and help people."
Awarded to Koda from Plymouth, MI "Koda is a 9th grader in Plymouth. His parents were both voice majors in college and are still active professionally. He is also a competitive dancer with Synergy Dance Company, in Plymouth, and they compete nationally. He’s very musical and will be playing the Mozart Fantasy in D minor as well as the Chopin Nocturne in C# minor in the upcoming Student Achievement Test. He’s very receptive to “how to” suggestions that improve what he’s working on and he gets up early every morning to practice before school."