- Fred Sturm
(b Lapalisse, Allier, France, July 28, 1800; d Paris, France, 7/March 8, 1865). French piano technician, teacher, and manufacturer. Sightless since childhood, Montal was enrolled in a progressive school for the blind in Paris, where he learned to play oboe, violin, and piano, and studied music theory and mathematics. He taught himself to tune pianos, hiring helpers to read him books on the subject. Together with a fellow student, he disassembled and reassembled a piano and an organ, studying the mechanics of both instruments. In time, he became a prominent tuner-technician and began to lecture about piano technology, initiating the tradition of piano work as an appropriate skill for blind persons. In 1834 learning that one of his students was about to issue a book based on his own methods, he dictated a summary treatise that was published in Paris and translated into German, Czech, and Dutch. Montal advocated equal temperament as the only system appropriate for music of his time; his tuning method was based on ear-training exercises designed to familiarize students with the sound of equally tempered intervals and chords. In ...