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Handcrafted Pianos in China: Zhang Gangning and the Endless Search of a Unique Piano Tone

The music instrument industry in China, supported by mechanised mass production, has enjoyed remarkable financial success in the past decades. However, in many cases, mass musical instruments production suffers from a lack of accuracy in the assembly process. Zhang Gangning is a piano maker who pursues the highest standard of piano-making without seeking to make a profit. He has been exploring and producing handmade pianos for more than 20 years. Thanks to his unrelenting efforts, his abilities have prospered, allowing him to achieve remarkable results internationally. This article is based on the conversations we held with Zhang Gangning during our visit to his factory on 25th June 2021 in Xuancheng City. This paper is structured into different sections: an introduction (I), a contextualisation of Zhang Gangning’s career (II, III, IV, V), a commentary about our impressions after using his pianos (VI), and some thoughts about his future plans (VII).
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