Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037

Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037. This was interesting, but not a must-see. You get to know the multi-national cast of employees that put them together up in the Steinway factory in Astoria, Queens, NYC. There are also some scenes from the public showrooms and artist relations (patient employees help sensitive musicians searching for an ineffable something).

The scope of the actual construction is impressively broad–there are giant chunks of wood that just get absolutely manhandled, and there are tiny little fiddly bits that get tweaked and retweaked over a span of weeks. I used to work with my Grandpa in his workshop, and if you spend any time with smart carpenters, you catch on to the clever devices or tricks they invent to make the job easier. There’s some cool custom-made-for-the-job timesavers in the movie if you look for them.

The downside to all the behind-the-scenes stuff is that while you see a lot, they don’t explain a lot. E.g. you see a foreman selecting wood, but you don’t know what kind of wood it is or what kind makes it better than other chunks. I don’t know that I wanted a narrator intoning facts over all the footage, but it’s a shame that so much is kept at arm’s length. Maybe a more probing interviewer could have helped. If you’re really interested in the details, I think you’re better off reading something like the A Romance on Three Legs: Glenn Gould’s Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Piano.