Instruments

The Conservatorium has a limited stock of instruments for loan to students. Hirers pay a modest hire fee and are liable for the cost of lost or damaged instruments, as well as incidental items such as strings.

A brief guide to pianos and keyboards at the Conservatorium

The Sydney Conservatorium has a number of fine concert pianos in each of its performance halls.

Verbrugghen Hall - Steinway model D, mfr 1988 and a Fazioli model F278, mfr 1994
West Recital Hall - Steinway model D, mfr 1996
East Recital Hall - Steinway model D, mfr 1992 and an Overs model 225, mfr 2004
Music Workshop - Yamaha model CF, mfr 2002 and a Stuart & Sons concert grand, mfr 2003

These five manufacturers offer pianists a wide choice of tone colours and dynamic range. Each of these instruments is serviced weekly. As you may know, concert pianos are very expensive to buy and maintain. The Conservatorium is fortunate to have so many fine instruments and we ask you to take care when you use them.

When using pianos in these venues, please observe the following:

  • You must book the use of the venue with the Space and Timetabling Co-ordinator, Jodie Lancashire, room 2137, phone 9351 1254. Bookings must be made in advance. No one is permitted to just wander in and use the piano if the hall is empty.
  • Do not place anything except sheet music on the piano. Keep drinks, bags, instrument cases and personal belongings off the piano.
  • Make sure that the castors (wheels) are locked before raising the lid or the piano may move when the lid is lifted. Piano lids are very heavy - ask for assistance if you are not strong enough.
  • If you accidentally damage the piano or if you notice anything wrong - broken strings, notes not working correctly, etc - notify the Attendants or the Piano Technician, Geoffrey Pollard, room 2123, phone 9351 1221.
  • If there is a cover on the piano please remove it carefully and place it on a seat or chair. If it is just left on the ground it will collect dust and dirt which will scratch the piano's surface. Replace the cover on the piano when you have finished.

Early Music keyboard instruments

The Conservatorium also has a small collection of Early Music keyboards.

Rm 3047 - Maene fortepiano. This is a reproduction of an 1825 Walter fortepiano.
Rm 3022 - Von Nagel double manual harpsichord
Rm 2068 - Hubbard French double manual harpsichord
Small triple fretted clavichord
Sassman spinet
Rm 2075 - Hubbard Italian single manual harpsichord

These instruments are available for practice and rehearsal and you need to book the particular room with either Jodie Lancashire - rm 3047 & 3022 or with Stephen Yates or Sanchia Osborne for rm 2068 & 2075.

If you wish to use these instruments for performance or recitals you should fill out a Harpsichord Request form available from Stephen or Sanchia or downloaded from the Infodesk. Please complete and submit the form to Stephen or Sanchia at least 7 days prior to your performance. This will ensure that the instrument is available for you, is moved to the correct hall and is in tune. On the form you must specify the pitch you require, either A - 440 (modern) or A - 415 (baroque) cycles per second.

Please note that failure to submit a form on time may mean that you cannot use the instrument.

These Early Music instruments are tuned in Valotti temperament. Temperament is the term describing how the notes of an octave are spaced, and this spacing determines the nature of the harmonies possible. Modern instruments are tuned in equal temperament where the 12 notes are equally spaced; historically there were many temperaments which spaced the notes of an octave in unequal steps. Vallotti is a tuning system in which the intervals are different from modern tuning. It gives warmer, purer harmonies in some intervals and keys, but a more dissonant harmony in others.

It is recommended that harpsichord students develop the ability to tune their instrument.

Any questions or problems with any of the keyboard instruments at the Conservatorium should be referred to the Piano Technician, David Kinney Room 1153 or T: +61 2 9351 1221