Note by Note: The Making of the Steinway L1037
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Note by Note: The Making of the Steinway L1037
While in the 21st century many musical instruments are mass-produced on an assembly line, at the Steinway Factory in Queens, NY, grand pianos are still made largely by hand, much as they were centuries before, and each piano develops a tonal personality very much its own as it slowly takes shape in the hands of expert craftsmen. Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037 is a documentary from filmmaker Ben Niles that follows the meticulous process of creating one of these remarkable instruments, from the harvesting of the wood in the Pacific Northwest to the final touches before the piano is… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Like an elegant set of theme and variations, director Ben Niles' beautiful, probing documentary about music and craftsmanship takes a simple idea and follows it in a number of directions."
‑ Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
"A modestly scaled but enjoyable documentary."
‑ Jeremy Eichler, Boston Globe
"... an engrossing film that makes the process of crafting a piano and the people involved come alive."
‑ Emily S. Mendel,
"The story of one piano is a microcosm of art, commerce, perfectionism and the American dream in a thorough, but repetitive, documentary."
‑ Amy Nicholson, Boxoffice Magazine
"A slimy log dumped into frigid Alaskan waters emerges as the hand-selected Steinway for a world-class performance. A fascinating look at the mini-city within New York City where hand work still prevails."
‑ Ron Wilkinson, Monsters and Critics
"This narrative gambit allows Niles to score a quiet but stunning rhetorical point: in their meticulous attention to detail, the blue-collar workers who've spent their lives at the plant seem just as artistic as any musician."
‑ J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader
"A fascinating documentary that more than just piano lovers can enjoy."
‑ Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
"With its precise editing and thoughtful storytelling, 'Note by Note' is a celebration of craftsmanship - of a piano and of film."
‑ Sean Means, Salt Lake Tribune
"Note by Note is a reminder of the deep working class roots of high culture."
‑ Bill White, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"This unexpectedly charming documentary from filmmaker Ben Niles follows the construction of one piano from the bending and molding of the raw maple that will become the piano rim in workshops of the Steinway & Sons factory in Queens."
‑ Ken Fox, TV Guide's Movie Guide
"It's inspirational to watch and listen as the Steinway employees demonstrate with pride their part in producing an instrument that will sell for more than $100,000 and may succeed some of its brethren on the stage at Carnegie Hall."
‑ Maureen M. Hart, Chicago Tribune
"As a study of stubborn artisanal tradition in the Pro Tools age, Note by Note is a stirring symphony of specialized labor."
‑ Jim Ridley, Village Voice
"Note By Note: The Making of Steinway L1307 doesn't need any cameos by celebrities, musical or otherwise, to hold our interest."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
"Although Note by Note has the qualities of an industrial or promotional film, it also is a lovely and lyrical look at a labor of love."
‑ Duane Dudek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Niles purposefully seeks out quirkiness rather than providing meaningful demonstrations of craft."
‑ Maria Garcia, Film Journal International
More reviews for Note by Note: The Making of the Steinway L1037 on Rotten Tomatoes