THE SOUND cont.
The enhanced performance qualities of these reference pianos empower the player to control the sound as they wish. This ‘New Voice’ has been achieved by increasing the attack and decay transients through reduced internal damping without masking or muddying the sound envelope.
A distinctive design feature of the piano is the Stuart bridge agraffe, a scientifically designed vertical coupling device that encourages the strings to vibrate in a more controlled manner. Unlike the traditional method, where the strings are held horizontally against the hammer strike, the agraffe holds the strings vertically – the same direction as the hammer strike. The result is a constant vibration that provides an outstanding dynamic range, long sustain and greater clarity sympathetic to the entire piano repertoire.
The keyboard has been extended from the limited, standard 19th century 88 keys to the full frequency range possible for the acoustic piano. The 102 key model ranges from sub contra C (CCC) to f (f5) above top c on the standard keyboard. This provides nine extra keys in the bass and five in the treble. The 97 key model has four extra keys in the bass and five in the treble.
In addition to the standard three pedals found on many grand pianos Stuart introduced a fourth pedal as a consequence of the enhanced performance potential of vertical coupling. This additional pedal affects the attack transients by reducing the velocity of the action’s movement. This is achieved by reducing the travel distance of the hammer and key levers.
This is a significant addition for the player particularly in accompaniment and where textural effects and control over tone colour is sought. This pedal can be taken independently or simultaneously with the shift pedal to produce the most extraordinary effects.