As your piano tuner Wilmington DE, the last two posts were about the maintenance of the piano action. The piano action is all the mechanical portion of the instrument, from the piano keys, up to the piano hammers which strike the strings. Our previous two posts discussed the three most common adjustments that piano actions need. There are eight other major adjustments needed for the piano action to function properly. Two of those have to do with the repetition lever.

Before talking about the adjustments, we need to explain the term “repetition” as it applies to piano playing, and why it is important. In piano playing, repetition refers to the speed with which a note can be played a second time after it is first played. Mechanically, it is difficult to design a mechanism that will both “escape’ and then rapidly return to position so the note can be repeated quickly.

The piano has an escapement mechanism on each piano key that pushes each hammer up within 1/8″ of the string, but then moves out of the way, so the hammer can strike the string of its own momentum, and then rebound away from the piano string so that it can vibrate freely. The trick is to have that mechanism quickly return to position, so that the note can be played a second time.

In 1821, Erard, a French piano maker working in London, invented what is now known as “the modern repetition lever” for the grand piano. This lever aids in returning the mechanism to its proper position, so that a note may be repeated quickly. This invention was so ground-breaking that all grand piano actions now use it. For it to work properly, however, there are two adjustments that need to be accurately set. We will discuss those in our next post.

If you have any questions about pianos, please let us know. Kenneth Keith Piano Services is your Wilmington DE piano tuning expert. We also provide piano services Philadelphia PA, Eastern Shore MD and the Southern NJ areas.