2007, 80 min
In our age of mass-production and consumption, what is the role of the musician—both an instrument’s craftsman and its player? Musically, what have we gained? More importantly, what are we losing?
San Francisco Chronicle
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.
Los Angeles Times
gorgeously composed and photographed...capable of inducing spiritual/physical rapture
Salt Lake Tribune
With its precise editing and thoughtful storytelling, "Note by Note" is a celebration of craftsmanship- of a piano and of film.
Harleston Post And Courier
a documentary as harmonious as it is fascinating...rests at a nexus of hand, heart and mind. It's a gorgeous picture, visually and musically...superb.
a lovely documentary on one of the last holdouts in a techno-centric world
Pittsburgh Tribune Review
full of surprising thrills
A heartwarming story about the universality of music
Recommended...both calming and engaging
inspirational to watch
classy and unexpectedly moving
Chicago Sun Times
a masterly composition of eye and ear, hand and heart, labor and music.
a look at people whose hands, eyes, hearts and minds all work together... together they assemble one of the world's most wonderful man-made things.
The Boston Globe
a love letter to a vanishing mode of production, with more than a hint of elegy.
Time Out Chicago
Real Detroit Weekly
skillfully and adoringly made...a love song to the instrument responsible for so many.
New City Chicago
Ben Niles' Note by Note is a beauty...a lovely adventure.
in their meticulous attention to detail, the blue-collar workers seem just as artistic as any musician.
Detroit Metro Times
They say that every piano has a soul; if only every movie had one as warm and rich as Note by Note.
a tribute to the superiority of human craftsmanship over mass production and a celebration of art over pure commercialism.
New York Times
...a paean to the rewards of old-fashioned craftsmanship.
The New Republic
a Miracle--Beethoven would have been pleased.
fascinating and delightful.
New York Magazine
Time Out New York
....essentially New York.
engrossing! a stirring symphony of specialized labor.
a sure bet for music lovers.
The Washington Post
a distinct pleasure.
Ben Niles approaches his subject con amore.
a fascinating documentary that more than just piano lovers can enjoy.
it's the craftspeople and their work, and the pianos themselves, that are the real stars.