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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Yamaha Pianos

The piano industry in Japan was slow to gather momentum during the later years of the 19th century. Early development of the piano was very much a European affair. At the Paris Exposition in 1878 a Japanese square piano (not a Yamaha) was exhibited. In 1880 Torakusu Yamaha began making Western musical instruments.


Beginning by building an organ, and obviously confident enough of its qualities, he carried it over the mountains of Hakone to the Music Institute for their inspection and approval. Perhaps unkindly, the organ was harshly criticised for its poor tuning. This set-back only spurred Tarasuku on to further studies. Like any self-respecting musical instrument maker, he began studying music theory and tuning!

After much hard work, he mastered the basics and was able to apply his newly acquired knowledge and deeper understanding to making his western musical instruments.

A modern day tuner is bound to approve of a company using tuning forks in their logo - after all, it demonstrates the fundamental importance of tuning!

The 3 tuning forks of the Yamaha Logo represent the 3 pillars of the business - technology, production and sales. They also symbolise the essential elements of music: melody, harmony and rhythm.


He began production of pianos in 1900 and by 1910 he was making 600 pianos per year. The 20th century threw up many challenges for the piano industry - especially in Japan. Yamaha lost a factory to fire in 1922 and and office to an earthquake in 1923. The second world war was no less devastating. After the war, Yamaha restarted production with the benefit of casting their own metal frames.

The constant quest for product improvement has borne fruit in Yamaha's unquestionable reputation for consistency and a rugged reliability. Their pianos have become an industry bench-mark standard.

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