Streaming Access
Unfortunately, this film is not available for streaming yet.
As soon as it will be available for streaming, it will appear in your university streaming page.

Note by Note

Ben Niles 2007

NOTE BY NOTE is a feature-length documentary that follows the creation of a Steinway concert grand (#L1037) from forest floor to concert hall. Steinway pianos are as unique and full of personality as the world-class musicians who play them. Their makers however, skilled cabinetmakers, gifIt explores the relationship between musician and instrument, chronicles the manufacturing process, and illustrates what makes each Steinway unique in this age of mass production. From the factory floor in Queens to Steinway Hall in Manhattan, each piano’s journey is complex-spanning 12 months, 12,000 parts, 450 craftsmen, and countless hours of fine-tuned labor.


  • 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
  • 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.
  • A distinct pleasure!
  • Note by Note is a reminder of the deep working class roots of high culture.
  • Beethoven would have been pleased.
    Stanley Kauffmann, THE NEW REPUBLIC
  • Fascinating and delightful...A social and cultural project.
    Andrew O'Hehir, SALON.COM
  • The perfect film...a sure bet for music lovers
    Ken Fox,TV GUIDE

Festival Participation

  • Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival, Netherlands - 2007
  • Wisconsin Film Festival, USA - 2008
  • Sarasota Film Festival, USA - 2008
    Best Documentary
  • Silverdocs Film Festival, USA - 2008
  • Nantucket Film Festival, USA - 2008
  • Jackson Hole Film Festival, USA - 2008
  • Hamptons International Film Festival, USA - 2008

Additional Materials

Distribution Company

Back to Film Summary

This Week’s Featured Films