Design concepts

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Every Fazioli piano emerges from the great vision of the company's founder combined with the daily commitment of the many skilled and passionate colleagues that form the Fazioli technical team.

Over forty years, the company has succeeded in distilling the best of piano-building and musical tradition and experience from the last three centuries. This has been analyzed with a critical eye, considering the evolving tastes of players and audiences, and contributing with innovative solutions that improve the instrument in terms of all aspects of sound quality, playability, and durability with optimum performance.

Fazioli's range of grand pianos offers all of the characteristics universally recognized as the most advanced and best suited for creation of modern concert pianos: powerful yet expressive sound, balanced and responsive to the pianist's touch, along with the entire keyboard.

These characteristics are achieved through careful attention to many different aspects, all of the great importance:

  1. Accurate conversion of the pianist's touch into a precise hammer strike on the string
  2. Fazioli piano action
  3. Balanced string design
  4. Duplex scale
  5. Iron frame
  6. Unrivalled strength and stability
  7. Precise soundboard design and newly patented Fazioli soundboard
  8. Rims
  9. Optimisation of the bond between soundboard and case
  10. Non-acoustic construction solution

1. ACCURATE CONVERSION OF THE PIANIST'S TOUCH INTO A PRECISE HAMMER STRIKE ON THE STRING

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The geometric relationships and masses in the complex mechanics are calibrated to provide precise and immediate feedback to the pianist’s fingertips, offering a feeling of absolute control over the instrument and the resulting sound.
Fazioli has created innovative and original patented solutions, ensuring that this feeling remains constant over time and use, and making mechanical adjustments simpler.

2. FAZIOLI PIANO ACTION (patented all over the world nr. 2924683 of 18/3/2015)

The structure of a traditional grand piano action is provided with bar elements made in drawn aluminium filled by wood or a composite material such as multiplex wood or similar. This can be the reason of drawbacks, mainly due to the need for frequent and complicated maintenance operations, above all due to malfunctioning or breakings, connected for example to the moisture absorbed from solid wood of the bars (when they are made of wood) or, due to unsatisfactory resonances, caused by a single body in metal or composite material.
The new FAZIOLI patented action aims to be less sensitive with respect to humidity.
A further positive aspect is that the keys are provided with greater smoothness and able to consistently detect the skill of the pianist by generating an optimal sound and a better timbre.
In the new FAZIOLI action, the structure comprises a hollow section preferably made of aluminium, having at the inside a full structure, preferably a multilayer in wood or in such natural material.
The three action bars (Hammer flange rail, Wippen flange rail, Let-off rail) are filled inside with particularly resistant multi-layers wood to avoid wear of the threads of the screws when these are removed for mechanical adjustment work.
The rails are screwed into the special housings obtained on the action brackets, creating a perfect mechanical coupling.
The result is a particularly rigid structure that does not dissipate energy.
A big advantage is that the rails can be disassembled or replaced if necessary.
All fastenings and materials have been subjected to extreme laboratory tests for mechanical stress and resistance to climate change.

3. BALANCED STRING DESIGN

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The characteristics of the strings (length, diameter, tension, density and flexibility of materials) and their distribution are designed to minimize acoustic non-uniformities between notes that are near to each other. It allows natural flow from the clear depth of bass notes to sweet, sustained singing mid-tones, and through to the gleaming brightness of the highest notes.
Fazioli models actively contribute to the quality of the final sound via the possibility of adjustment, note by note, of both front and rear duplex scales.
This precise adjustment undoubtedly increases the range of colour available to the highly trained ear.

4. DUPLEX SCALE

The duplex scale concerns the first two sectors of the piano.
On the Fazioli pianos, both the positions of the two capo d’astro in the two first sectors and the not-speaking string portions (rear scale) are adjustable.
The capo d’astro are made of bronze, have a triangular section and their basis are carefully rectified. Also, the basement of the cast-iron frame front bars (against which the capo d’astro is set), are carefully rectified and adjusted.
Since the two contact surfaces are both perfectly rectified, the result is a perfect coupling.
In this way, the capo d’astro can slide on the bases of the bars to reach the position that guarantees the string to have the correct speaking length between the bridge and the capo d’astro.
The string lengths included between the bridge and the chromed brass triangles are called resonators or rear scale. The triangles are located under the strings, before the hitch pins, and can be adjusted with a special tool, slightly sliding them on the inox-stainless steel plate on which they are placed.
In this way, the resonators reach the optimal tuning in relation to their main vibrating portions and, during the performance, are now able to vibrate sympathetically with the main speaking length of the string, enriching the piano sound.

5. IRON FRAME

The cast-iron frame is the component responsible for absorbing the compression exerted by the tension of the strings.
It is made with a sand-casting process.
Very tight tolerances are required of the caster with regard to flatness and weight.
As with the wooden components, a stabilization period is also required for the cast iron frame.
In fact, due to the different cooling of the parts, due to different volumes of cast iron from area to area, the frames maintain internal tensions.
To ensure that these tensions are redistributed, the cast iron frame should be left to rest for at least the first six / eight months of life, before being used.

6. UNRIVALLED STRENGTH AND STABILITY

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The crossed-stringing design, proven through the experience of a multitude of professional pianists and millions of instruments built over more than 100 years, offers the following benefits:

  • Greater string length with the same soundboard dimensions.
  • Optimization of bridge positioning on the soundboard.
  • More compact cast-iron frame, without increasing weight, to better withstand the string tension (greater tuning stability).
  • Greater mobility of the soundboard with a significant increase in dynamic range, colour and power of acoustics.

All other kinds of piano design (e.g.: such as the one with parallel strings in use two centuries ago) can be considered obsolete for the high-quality performance requested by the classic piano literature from Mozart till today.

7. PRECISE SOUNDBOARD DESIGN AND NEWLY PATENTED FAZIOLI SOUNDBOARD

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The ultimate goal of a piano soundboard is to maintain the full richness of the vibrations generated by the strings, gradually converting them into sound waves which are propagated efficiently through the surrounding air.
The soundboard is a very complex component that represents the heart of the piano.
It is formed of planks 11 mm thick and with a width varying between 8 and 12 cm. These are glued edge to edge forming a thin membrane, stiff and light at the same time.
Ribs are glued to the underside perpendicularly to the grain of the soundboard, giving them greater uniformity and a slight upward curvature.Then, the mid-upper and bass bridges are glued on the opposite side of the ribs. The two bridges transfer the vibrations from the strings to the soundboard. The soundboard must react uniformly to the vibrations of the strings, absorbing energy and converting it into air vibration.
Fazioli has dedicated a significant portion of its research to optimizing the soundboard, also patenting innovative solutions for its creation.
It is built with the best spruce of the Italian Eastern Alps (including Val di Fiemme).
The positioning of the ribs, their dimensions, the tapering at their ends and the relative length are the result of an infinite number of tests that have led to today's results.
The same applies to the method of gluing the bridges, to the tapering process and optimizing the soundboard curvature.
The optimization of all the above parameters will henceforth be entrusted to the mathematical model recently developed by the R&D department, which is able to simulate the behavior of the soundboard according to different configurations.

The newly patented FAZIOLI soundboard consists in three wood layers with the following structure:
Two layers of red spruce are superimposed with the grain in the same direction. In the middle, between them, it’s glued a spruce veneer (0,6 mm thick) which grain is perpendicular (90 degrees) to the grain of the outer layers.
The three layers structure does not affect the sound but makes the soundboard itself much more resistant to potential cracks or swellings. As a consequence, it provides a particularly suitable solution in case of extreme humid or dry climates. However, the innovation is appropriate to every circumstance to guarantee maximum efficiency to the instrument over the years.

The three-layer soundboard is available only upon customer or dealer's order.

8. RIMS

The rims are made with special presses that glue a 6 mm pack of solid wood sheets of the best Canadian maple and African mahogany, initially straight, shaping it with special clamps around the relative mould.
Thicknesses of 6 mm are used which make the bending process more laborious and expensive but, in the end, we will have rims with fewer lines of glue.
The preponderance of wood in the rims will give a positive participation in the formation of sound. Many manufacturers use 2/3 mm veneer to speed up the process, but the result will not be the same.
For gluing, a special thermo-hardening glue is used, very hard and almost glassy, capable of withstanding high levels of humidity.
In this way we will get a band that will be a real wooden monolith.

9. OPTIMISATION OF THE BOND BETWEEN SOUNDBOARD AND CASE

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The functional vibrating part of the piano is restricted to two components: the strings and the soundboard.
Instrument design must aim to maintain the musical vibrations within the limits of these two systems. As long as vibration energy bounces back and forth between the strings and the soundboard, the sound can spread and endure. If this energy flows out beyond the limits of the soundboard and propagates through the rims, fundamentally it is lost.
In fact, the mass and rigidity of the case are such that it has very limited mobility: exactly the opposite of what is desirable in the soundboard.
Ideally, the bonding of soundboard and rims should impede any transfer of vibrations from one to the other. Fazioli research aims to maximize this acoustic isolation, employing constantly evolving build techniques, involving not only soundboard and case but also the cast-iron frame and all other acoustically passive instrument components.

10. NON-ACOUSTIC CONSTRUCTION SOLUTIONS

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Fazioli pianos are continually perfected down to the most minute details also in terms of elements not directly linked to the production of sound, but intrinsically connected to the quality of the final product.
The general design of the instrument while respecting the shape of the classic grand piano has been re-proportioned, all the edges (for example) have been removed. The hinges and all the visible accessories, which are commonly made of brass, in our case are gilded in a 24-carat galvanic bath.  This gilding process will avoid oxidation of the brass, letting the surfaces be bright and intact for a very long time.
Every screw, joint, bond and other construction detail is carefully analysed to identify potential improvements. There is always room to improve, on a range of fronts: sourcing of materials and components, glues and paints, processing, build and assembly, packaging, final inspection, testing and sign-off, transport and shipping, and the musical use of the piano itself.
This is a journey towards perfection that involves everything and everyone, working together. And it is a journey that we will always be dedicated to.

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Fazioli Pianoforti s.p.a.  /  C.F. e P. IVA: IT 00425600939

credits: Representa