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Sound FX by Alex Case

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Piano 14

″She′s so swishy in her satin and tatIn her frock coat and bipperty-bopperty hat.Oh God, I could do better than that.″

— ″QUEEN BITCH,″ DAVID BOWIE, HUNKY DORY (RCA RECORDS, 1971)

The piano is nothing short of a miracle. Most weigh more than 1,000 pounds and hold in check more than 10 tons of string tension. Its very existence is an impressive accomplishment for the instrument maker. Able to reach about as low and as high as any note that can be written into a musical score, the piano very nearly possesses the full musical range needed by all of western European music. It is an industrial-strength machine with extraordinary artistic sensibilities.

For the recording engineer, the piano is something of an enigma. Possessing broad spectral ...

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