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One thing becomes obvious while watching Ben Niles’ Note by Note (The Making of Steinway L1037): The workers at Steinway’s Queens manufacturing facility aren’t the dudes cutting your lumber at Home Depot. This documentary follows the birth of the titular piano to its finished state. It takes nearly a year, and the process, if not the entire film, is remarkable. Impossibly adhering to the company’s 154-year tradition of handcrafting each instrument, today’s Steinway employees are masters of precision—“Even one-hundredth of an inch makes a difference”—carving carefully selected wood often by freehand and tuning the pianos in each of several stages by ear. Much of Note by Note is simply quiet observation of the work performed on the L1037, and there is a point when the reverence that Niles seems to be demanding as his camera takes the factory in gets a bit tiresome. Smartly, though, he breaks up the monotony with stories about the employees and footage of concert pianists who visit Steinway’s basement to choose their instruments. The interview subjects—which include Harry Connick Jr., Hank Jones, and Marcus Roberts, among other musicians—agree that each piano has a personality, and each will speak to a different player. The artistry on display here, however, is what makes Note by Note truly compelling despite its lags. As one worker remarks, “This is nothing like nailing 2-by-4s.”