Wednesday, 6 September 2017

First Rwandan Piano Frame

Hi guys. We're extremely proud, and a little bit teary-eyed, to present to you the first Rwandan-made piano frame. It's fresh out the forge, thanks to Chillington, who worked really hard to make this happen.

This is Désiré's assistant, Samuel, holding it up for display. Pretty hard to tell it apart from the original Lirika frame, below.


Désiré and Marion spent this afternoon measuring up the old frame to put in their string order. You may remember the funky Hellerbass tape measure we received? Well, we were finally able to put it to use now that we have the old frame back in Lirika's casing. It's much easier to take the measurements with the piano flat on the ground and two people to read both ends.

Désiré Modeling the Hellerbass Tape Measure

Bass strings are the low notes on a piano. They're made from a strand of spring steel with copper wound around it. From A0 (the bottom note) to A1 (one octave), each note on this model has a single copper string. Then, from A1 to D3# each note has two, thinner copper strings. Above D3# (the third D# from the left) all the notes have three spring steel wires, creating a chorus of strings. These make up the rest of the midsection and treble. Here's an example of bass and regular strings.

That made a total of 49 measurements to take (18 dual strings and 13 singles).

We're now ready to put in our order with Hellerbass but, as the name suggests, they only make bass strings. We now need to find a supplier of thin spring steel wire in East Africa, otherwise we'll only have a third of a strung piano. 

Meanwhile, Désiré is working to build the piano casing to put the new frame in.

Entrance to Désiré's Workshop

View from Désiré's Workshop

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