The strings are one of the most important aspects of an instruments construction. A stringing which is too light will rob the instrument of dynamic power. A stringing which is too heavy will make the loud but thick and dull, and may well place dangerous stress upon the structure, causing twisting, soundboard cracks, and other damage of a serious nature. A poorly designed stringing with too much or too little weight in one or another area can cause registers to be out of balance with each other and can induce tuning instability. The stringing schedule can make or break (literally!) an otherwise fine instrument.
Luckily for us, a large number of original pianos have survived with gauge markings which tell us how they were strung. Unfortunately, the historical record has left us no unequivocal source on how to interpret these markings. Using a vast store of information kindly provided to me by Michael Latcham, in combination with clues from historical documents, I have developed a method of designing stringing schedules for pianos of the Classical Viennese and south-German schools firmly grounded in both historical and acoustical bases. Follow the link to read about the basic principles of my method as well as find information on the interpretation of gauge markings for c.1800 5 octave fortepianos.
I offer the following services to builders, restorers, and owners of fortepianos: