Do pianos have bellybuttons?

At yesterday’s group class my students were watching Note By Note: The Making of Steinway L1037. It’s a video documenting the one-year journey of the making of a nine-foot Steinway concert grand piano.

A craftsman was being interviewed, and his title appeared onscreen as “Bellyman.” We tried to guess where the belly of a piano is, and then started to giggle when someone said, “Do pianos have bellybuttons?”┬áThe bellyman installs the soundboard in a piano. He also carves the notches in the bridge, where the pins and strings will eventually go.

If you’re interested in what a bellyman, a chipper, and a tone regulator do, both the DVD Note by Note and the book Piano: The Making of a Steinway Concert Grand are available from the Ottawa Public Library.

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