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Discovering Montal: Part I

We all know the pleasure of going to a site such as BARD to read the titles of the latest books, or to see if a favorite author has anything new. But have you ever wished, as I have, that you could get a preview of something before it is ready? This blog will provide such a preview. Just keep reading!

“Of all the instruments in use today, the piano is assuredly the most agreeable, the most widespread, and the most cultivated. Though it is the instrument most likely to need repair, its mechanism is the least understood by those who play it.”

This is the opening of “The Art of Tuning” by Claude Montal, a nineteenth-century blind tuner, inventor and businessman. The translator, Fred Sturm, assures us that, although the book is very old, “the experiences he was describing were precisely the same as my own.” (Sturm is also a piano tuner.)

Portrait of Claude Montal. 1857. Public Domain

Portrait of Claude Montal. 1857. Public Domain

The book is being transcribed, proofread, and corrected now, and will soon be available from NLS. In future blogs, I will have more to say about Montal, his book, and how it was discovered. In the meantime, there are some other titles to investigate:

Scientific Piano Tuning and Servicing, by Alfred H. Howe, BRM10906;

Piano Tuning and Allied Arts, by William Braid White, BRM18485 (also on BARD);

Grand and Spinet: Pianos, by Edward H. Menke, BRM09604 (also on BARD) and available in large-print (LPM00039).

A second large-print title is Piano Playing Mechanisms, by William Braid White, at LPM00015.

We also offer a magazine, Piano Technicians Journal, the official publication of the Piano Technicians Guild.

So there is much for you to read while waiting for Montal.

Stay tuned for part II where I will talk some more about this new addition!