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Posted By: brdwyguy Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 02:36 PM
I know this is going to probably cause a stir
Advice: DON'T GO THERE OR I WILL REQUEST IT BE DELETED

What piano Brand is considered sounding/feeling Best for Broadway Musical Theater Music?


Steinway's, Bosendorfer's and a few others are considered strong for Classical Music
Yamaha's are considered strong for Jazz


As a Musical Theater Teacher AND Lover - is there a brand that excels with this type of music?

greatly appreciate all of you stressing to stay ON TOPIC! 3hearts 3hearts 3hearts 3hearts 3hearts heart

Brdwyguy
Posted By: pianoloverus Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 02:45 PM
Having been the rehearsal and orchestral pianist for about 25 (non- Broadway) musicals, I don't think it makes much difference since the piano is barely/rarely heard.

There are many other pianos besides the ones you mentioned that are good for classical music. Basically, any of Fine's performance pianos more than fit the bill.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 03:00 PM
I don’t have the same level of experience as Plover, but I agree with his conclusion. IMHO, there is too much siloing piano as what genre of piano music they should be used for.
Posted By: BDB Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 03:30 PM
Because the musical theater organization that I work with more than others is outdoors, I look for free pianos that people are getting rid of and replace them when they fall apart.
Posted By: probably blue Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 03:47 PM
Any great piano is great for musical theater IMO.

Sorry about the other thread brdwyguy cry
Posted By: BruceD Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 03:58 PM
Originally Posted by brdwyguy
I know this is going to probably cause a stir
Advice: DON'T GO THERE OR I WILL REQUEST IT BE DELETED
[...] 3hearts 3hearts 3hearts 3hearts 3hearts heart
Brdwyguy

Perhaps I am a bit naive, but I'm not sure where we're not supposed to go. But to be shouted at in all caps is pretty insulting among (supposed) adults in a public forum. As a public forum we should be able to voice opinions relative to the topic without being admonished before we even start.
Posted By: BruceD Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 04:14 PM
You haven't specified - and this makes a difference - whether you mean for musical theatre performances or simply for playing / listening at home.

For performances there are two thoughts:
1) Professional musical theatre performances invariably use a small orchestra or combo to accompany the singers. If there is a piano in the group of musicians, its brand wouldn't be significant.
2) Amateur groups, invariably strapped for money, use whatever piano is available in whatever venue they can secure for their performance. It may be "junk," but they have to work with it.

If it's just a "Broadway sound" you are after for playing this music for your own enjoyment or for others listening, I think the gamut of musical styles and forms is too wide to specify a particular brand. There is raucous lively dance music, jazz and ethnic music in some musical theatre numbers, and there are countless soft, sentimental, wistful ballads, and there is everything in between. I can't think of one brand that would be ideal for everything, nor can I think of any reasonably good brand that wouldn't do just as well as any other reasonably good brand.

Regards,
Posted By: Joseph Fleetwood Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 04:20 PM
In bands, a piano with a strong tone that will cut through a mix is favored. Something on the brighter side, really. A lot of show bands are, as far as I'm aware, using digital keyboards for this reason. The sound engineer has a lot more control over the mix with a digital piano. In rehearsals, something that can sound large and rhythmic, and also supportive but tender seems to be the preferred way to go. In the UK, a lot of theaters bought Knight upright pianos for their rehearsal spaces in the 60s-80s before Yamaha really took over with the U1 and U3, because the sound of the Knight was kind of penetrating, but not ugly. In fact in a way it was even stronger and brighter than the Yamaha of the day, but the Knight became extremely expensive. When Knight stopped producing pianos around the year 2000, their 104.5cm (41 inch) piano was retailing at over 5000GBP, which when converted to today's prices is almost the same price as a Yamaha YUS5.

You'll probably find that most rehearsal rooms in London have Yamaha pianos, and it's probably the same in New York simply because they're the most ubiquitous make, but there'll be a good mix of Steinway grands. Almost every theater in Scotland actually had a Steinway model B, usually bought between 1950 and 1970, and some of these pianos are still kicking around. There was a kind of refurbishment drive in theaters around that time in Scotland, and there was, for whatever reason, money to buy these pianos. The Steinway B was of course an expensive piano even then, but it was comparatively cheaper than it is now. If you go on a tour of Scottish theaters that haven't yet been remodeled and still have their pianos from that period, you'll find some other makes. Danemann was a big one because of its strong projecting tone. It wasn't a particularly musical piano in terms of classical dynamics, but it could sound big in a theatre. They were probably the last British maker to produce large grand pianos up until about 1982. Welmar was also a popular maker, and all universities in Scotland, including the RCS in Glasgow were filled with Welmar pianos because Mr Willson of Sir Herbert Marshall and Sons (trading as Bluthner's UK) worked very hard on institutional sales in the 1970s and 1980s.
Posted By: brdwyguy Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 04:26 PM
Sorry you are 'offended' Bruce and many others - I have a habit of using all caps when I want to emphasis words - not really yell.

I apologize for 'yelling' didn't realize it would be interpreted that way!

My last post question turned into a discussion about Cats and such and it was very very frustrating trying to read thru
lengthy posts to find responses to a question I posted.

I'm not at all against discussions about Cats but to go on for pages with topics going way off subject for pages and pages is frustrating.
I was trying to head that off.

But it seemed to offend many others as well.
Sorry again.
Posted By: brdwyguy Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 04:32 PM
Bruce - I was just asking for playing, not so much for performance.
Tho I purchased Boston's for my Music/Theater Dept years ago because I could get more for the donated money.

So finances becomes a factor usually for Schools.
and Donations.

I mean you don't want to say "gee our Theater Dept would prefer a Yamaha" if someone is donating a Steinway.

I was just asking If there was a piano preferred for Musical Theater music, like Classical or Jazz.

b
Posted By: brdwyguy Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 04:35 PM
Thank You Joseph!
That is basically all I was asking!

your great
brdwyguy
Posted By: Gombessa Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 04:35 PM
I've
Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
In bands, a piano with a strong tone that will cut through a mix is favored. Something on the brighter side, really. A lot of show bands are, as far as I'm aware, using digital keyboards for this reason. The sound engineer has a lot more control over the mix with a digital piano.

This is definitely true in the cases, I've seen, which admittedly have been smaller venues such as school performances in gym spaces and smaller auditoriums. Digitals are easier to transport and set up, fit in more easily with the orchestra, and the volume and mix can be adjusted as needed. The last show I was at was at a local high school. There was a 6-7' grand in one corner, a Yamaha upright in the other, and neither was used at all; in the center of the pit was a Kawai MP11 digital piano.

When I last saw Hamilton and Phantom of the Opera (both large metro productions, pre-COVID), they both used a Yamaha S90XS. I'm such a nerd, I made sure to capture a picture laugh

[Linked Image]
Posted By: brdwyguy Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 04:39 PM
Yes I agree.
it seems more and more orchestras are using high-end keyboards in their pits for Broadway Shows AND for Tours.
I see them all the time in the pit of the shows I see on tour in Greenville, SC

I would love to go to every theater on Broadway right now and see who has
an Acoustic Piano
an elaborate keyboard
or both

could be interesting!

thanks so much Gombessa!

brdwyguy

I am finding a lot of Community Theater Groups are now using these 'recorded' orchestra parts for their shows.
I find it a bit offensive and takes the theater aspect out of the performance.
but it's probably a necessary evil for groups on limited budgets and time.
No Orch, No Reh, No Pay! LOL
Posted By: Withindale Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 04:46 PM
Surely a big brash Steinway, voiced to kill.
Posted By: brdwyguy Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 04:57 PM
Originally Posted by Withindale
Surely a big brash Steinway, voiced to kill.

3hearts laugh laugh laugh
Posted By: BruceD Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 05:14 PM
Originally Posted by brdwyguy
[...]
I am finding a lot of Community Theater Groups are now using these 'recorded' orchestra parts for their shows.
I find it a bit offensive and takes the theater aspect out of the performance.
but it's probably a necessary evil for groups on limited budgets and time.
No Orch, No Reh, No Pay! LOL

That's sad, but necessary in some cases, I suppose. I guess that's analogous to the Music Minus One (whatever that is these days) where the recording says: "You do it my way or you don't do it." Sort of limits interpretive creativity, doesn't it?

Regards,
Posted By: probably blue Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 05:24 PM
Originally Posted by brdwyguy
My last post question turned into a discussion about Cats and such and it was very very frustrating trying to read thru
lengthy posts to find responses to a question I posted.

I'm not at all against discussions about Cats but to go on for pages with topics going way off subject for pages and pages is frustrating.
I was trying to head that off.

But it seemed to offend many others as well.
Sorry again.
Sorry bout that. Next time if someone ever does what *I* did ask to start a group chat if that’s possible.

At least we were still including piano stuff though

Have a nice day.
Posted By: Retsacnal Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 05:37 PM
Originally Posted by Gombessa
I've
Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
In bands, a piano with a strong tone that will cut through a mix is favored. Something on the brighter side, really. A lot of show bands are, as far as I'm aware, using digital keyboards for this reason. The sound engineer has a lot more control over the mix with a digital piano.

This is definitely true in the cases, I've seen, which admittedly have been smaller venues such as school performances in gym spaces and smaller auditoriums. Digitals are easier to transport and set up, fit in more easily with the orchestra, and the volume and mix can be adjusted as needed. The last show I was at was at a local high school. There was a 6-7' grand in one corner, a Yamaha upright in the other, and neither was used at all; in the center of the pit was a Kawai MP11 digital piano.

When I last saw Hamilton and Phantom of the Opera (both large metro productions, pre-COVID), they both used a Yamaha S90XS. I'm such a nerd, I made sure to capture a picture laugh

[Linked Image]


Mrs. Retsacnal and I used to visit NYC 2 or 3 times a year, and generally take in a show while there. I haven't been since she before she passed, but even then (~5 years), any time I had a look at the orchestra pit, it was a digital. Frankly, it makes sense for all the usual reasons and more.
Posted By: brdwyguy Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 05:38 PM
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by brdwyguy
[...]
I am finding a lot of Community Theater Groups are now using these 'recorded' orchestra parts for their shows.
I find it a bit offensive and takes the theater aspect out of the performance.
but it's probably a necessary evil for groups on limited budgets and time.
No Orch, No Reh, No Pay! LOL

That's sad, but necessary in some cases, I suppose. I guess that's analogous to the Music Minus One (whatever that is these days) where the recording says: "You do it my way or you don't do it." Sort of limits interpretive creativity, doesn't it?

Regards,

yeh, that's what I thought!
It sort of pigeon-holes performers into the performances.
Posted By: Retsacnal Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 05:52 PM
When I was in college, we did a Gilbert and Sullivan show each Spring. And a few community shows in my 20s. I'm embarrassed to say that I never noticed what type of piano was used ("piano" wasn't on my radar back then). But, as PLU noted, I don't think it really mattered much, as long as it was sufficient to get the job done.

Campus was a mish mash of all sorts of things. I remember Baldwins in the practice rooms. I know there were Yamaha's because my voice teacher had one in her studio (there was a big stink about it--not because it was a Yamaha but because she wanted a baby grand instead of an upright). There was a concert grand in the main theater, which I think was a Steinway, but, TBH, I don't remember. I just know it was reserved for concerts and recitals (I never played it).
Posted By: Retsacnal Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 05:56 PM
Originally Posted by brdwyguy
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by brdwyguy
[...]
I am finding a lot of Community Theater Groups are now using these 'recorded' orchestra parts for their shows.
I find it a bit offensive and takes the theater aspect out of the performance.
but it's probably a necessary evil for groups on limited budgets and time.
No Orch, No Reh, No Pay! LOL

That's sad, but necessary in some cases, I suppose. I guess that's analogous to the Music Minus One (whatever that is these days) where the recording says: "You do it my way or you don't do it." Sort of limits interpretive creativity, doesn't it?

Regards,

yeh, that's what I thought!
It sort of pigeon-holes performers into the performances.


I think recorded accompaniment is a necessary evil in some cases. Communities that can't put together an orchestra can still put on a show. I guess "evil" is not the best word, because it's not, but it's a compromise of sorts. Limits creativity, as noted, but it's also not live, which is somewhat disappointing.
Posted By: brdwyguy Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 06:02 PM
Originally Posted by probably blue
Originally Posted by brdwyguy
My last post question turned into a discussion about Cats and such and it was very very frustrating trying to read thru
lengthy posts to find responses to a question I posted.

I'm not at all against discussions about Cats but to go on for pages with topics going way off subject for pages and pages is frustrating.
I was trying to head that off.

But it seemed to offend many others as well.
Sorry again.
Sorry bout that. Next time if someone ever does what *I* did ask to start a group chat if that’s possible.

At least we were still including piano stuff though

Have a nice day.

NO need to apologize probably blue
It just so happened that yours was the most recent
but many posts recently have been going way too far off topic
I don't understand why.
No need for you to formally apologize - Actually I should for 'over reacting' to the whole thing
people were/are obviously offended about the way I typed it. LOL

anyway appreciate the apology but truly not needed!
brdwyguy 3hearts 3hearts 3hearts
Posted By: BruceD Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 07:10 PM
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
[..]
I think recorded accompaniment is a necessary evil in some cases. Communities that can't put together an orchestra can still put on a show. I guess "evil" is not the best word, because it's not, but it's a compromise of sorts. Limits creativity, as noted, but it's also not live, which is somewhat disappointing.

Perhaps we can call it a useful compromise. In the case of recorded accompaniments they can teach the soloist to conform to the accompaniment and not be the one to set the standard of performance. Such often happens in reality when the conductor of the orchestra is the performance "dictator."

Regards,
Posted By: MRC Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 07:55 PM
Originally Posted by brdwyguy
What piano Brand is considered sounding/feeling Best for Broadway Musical Theater Music?

Steinway's, Bosendorfer's and a few others are considered strong for Classical Music
Yamaha's are considered strong for Jazz

All those brands are used for both classical and jazz. Oscar Petersen recorded a lot on Bösendorfer and Steinway pianos; Sviatoslav Richter preferred Yamaha.

I've conducted a number of musicals in German theatres. I can say two things about the keyboard instruments:

- All the pianists preferred to have an acoustic piano, not a digital one.
- The brand of the piano was much less important than its condition. In different theatres we've had Yamahas, Steinways, Bösendorfers, Kawais...: they're all fine for classical, jazz or Broadway, provided they're in good shape.
Posted By: Retsacnal Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/09/22 08:38 PM
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
[..]
I think recorded accompaniment is a necessary evil in some cases. Communities that can't put together an orchestra can still put on a show. I guess "evil" is not the best word, because it's not, but it's a compromise of sorts. Limits creativity, as noted, but it's also not live, which is somewhat disappointing.

Perhaps we can call it a useful compromise. In the case of recorded accompaniments they can teach the soloist to conform to the accompaniment and not be the one to set the standard of performance. Such often happens in reality when the conductor of the orchestra is the performance "dictator."

Regards,

"Useful compromise" is a good way to sum it up. Obviously, there are pros and cons involved. thumb
Posted By: Withindale Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/11/22 06:49 AM
@BRDWYGUY Please see PM
Posted By: Maestro Lennie Re: Musical Theater Pianos - 05/11/22 11:08 AM
I think the Bayreuth Festival uses Steingraebers. Not sure how relevant that would be for Sondheim or Rogers & Hammerstein...
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