Shaping Bösendorfer

Shaping Bösendorfer

The legendary Bösendorfer Grand, beloved by musicians and music aficianados throughout the world, has been being built in Austria for 180 years. A factory tour in Wiener Neustadt (near Vienna) provides insight what makes these instruments so unique.

For you we build the Bösendorfer among the grands.

For you we build the Bösendorfer among the grands.

Only wood of the highest quality is stored and patiently awaits its destiny at the piano factory. The wood is seasoned outdoors for up to five years before it is pre-cut and then it is stored for another six to twelve months in the drying room.

The sound of (spruce) wood

The founder Ignaz Bösendorfer considered the piano to be a string instrument. Each part of the instrument should – as is the case of a violin – be made to vibrate in order to produce the complete sound impression. 85% of all Bösendorferf Grand pianos are built of spruce wood that produces the best sound quality.

Spruce wood delivers best sound quality.

Spruce wood delivers best sound quality.

The wood purchasers travel into the Austrian mountains searching for the perfect wood for the sounding board and the rim case. They are searching for mountain spruce which has grown at an altitude of 1000 meters and with a minimum amount of humidity. The trees should be very straight, have absolutely no branches and the spacing between the tree rings should be less than 1 mm. A spruce tree with these qualities produces optimal sound quality.

Distinctive: The Bösendorfer cast frame in bronze colors...

Distinctive: The Bösendorfer cast frame in bronze colors...

20 tons of tensile force

The primary purpose of the cast frame is to accommodate the enormous pulling power or tensile force – in a concert grand this could be up to 20 tons - of the taut strings and their sub-frame. About 40 working hours are invested in grinding and polishing the cast frame to a wonderfully smooth bronze-colored finish.

One of the numerous unique features of Bösendorfer piano construction is the separate casting of the capo d’astro that is then attached to the frame. This process enables a perfect fit and guarantees the original instrument’s sound for many generations to come.

... and the separately casted and screwed-on capo d´astro.

... and the separately casted and screwed-on capo d´astro.

Unique richness of sound

Bösendorfer piano framework construction is also unique. The sub-frame is made of solid spruce. Its construction can be compared to building a brick wall. Numerous small cuts are made next to each other in the wall. In this manner the resonant wood can be bent while its excellent acoustic qualities are maintained.

Rim, sub-frame and sounding board are a cohesive unit.

Rim, sub-frame and sounding board are a cohesive unit.

Because the sounding board –as is the case with a string instrument- remains connected to the outer rim and the sub-frame, the entire construction is a cohesive unit. This supports and contributes to the sound and forms a resonating box. The result is the unique richness in tone colour and the typical singing timbre for which Bösendorfer instruments are renowned.

Tuning stability

The strings are the source of a piano’s sound. When the tautened strings vibrate, they produce sound. Today piano strings are made of steel.

Bösendorfer´s unique bass strings production.

Bösendorfer´s unique bass strings production.

The bass strings are produced in the Bösendorf factory itself. They have a steel core which is wrapped by hand with one or two layers of compact copper winding. This is done to increase the weight of the strings and enables the correct vibration frequency for low notes and guarantees an even distribution of the tension placed upon the string.

At the forward end of the bass string, the wire core is wound in the opposite direction with flat-rolled copper wire. Exclusively Bösendorfer uses this special bass string production method, which produces specific sound qualities.

Individual stringing for long tuning stability.

Individual stringing for long tuning stability.

Each string on a Bösendorfer instrument is attached with a handcrafted loop or eye, which strengthens, by means of the string’s tension, its placement and stability. This contributes greatly to Bösendorf piano tuning stability.

Hand cut bridges

The sounding board is located next to the tautly stretched strings and functions as a secondary resonator. As the strings vibrate, they cause the sounding board to vibrate as well. The soundboard serves to transform and amplify the sound produced by the vibrating strings.

The ribbing slightly bows the sound board.

The ribbing slightly bows the sound board.

The ribbing on the sounding board results in a slightly upward bowing towards the strings to maintain compression and prevent it from caving in under the pressure of the strings. The bridges on Bösendorfer instruments are cut out by hand so that each string vibration can be transferred in its full dynamic with no side tones to the sounding board. This is a technical process which requires more than many years of experience.

Another speciality: hand-cut bridges.

Another speciality: hand-cut bridges.

Excellent repetition capacity

A piano’s sound output is dependent to a great degree on the quality and the transfer potential of its mechanical parts. The mechanical parts and the hammerheads of a Bösendorfer instrument are produced according to strict specifications (on the basis of the English Mechanic) by Renner in Germany. Characteristic of the mechanical parts utilized are an excellent repetition capacity and good control of the key movement.

Bösendorfer instruments: no less than perfect playability.

Bösendorfer instruments: no less than perfect playability.

Timeless beauty

Whether they are in polished black or noble veneer, a Bösendorf piano is perfect not only on the inside but also on the outside. The veneer’s composition is carefully determined and the surface workmanship is executed with meticulous and painstaking precision. The Bösendorfer artisans offer numerous special models entitled “Viennese Masterpieces”. The craftspeople are also happy to customize the veneer and piano surface according to personal wishes.

Bösendorfer elegance: from Barock...

Bösendorfer elegance: from Barock...

... to contemporary design.

... to contemporary design.

More than 10.000 production steps are executed per instrument, by between twenty and thirty people, respectively, who are without exception great masters of their trade, and who combine their knowledge to create a true work of art - the Bösendorfer.

The Bösendorfer concert technician "breathes its soul into the instrument": A high level of experience and aural training is required for the implementation of a professional intonation.

The Bösendorfer concert technician "breathes its soul into the instrument": A high level of experience and aural training is required for the implementation of a professional intonation.

Here they are: The Bösendorfer concert technicians are the best in the world!

Here they are: The Bösendorfer concert technicians are the best in the world!

To purchase a Bösendorfer grand piano is the dream of a lifetime for many people. We will steadfastly maintain our commitment to quality in order to ensure that our instruments retain the same value they have always had for lovers of piano music.