Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.7 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
What's Hot!!
New in our online store...
Tea Light
Tea Light with Frosted Music Staff Candle Holder


-------------------
European Tour for Piano Lovers
JOIN US FOR THE TOUR!
--------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Find a Professional
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers

Advertise on Piano World

(ad)
Piano Buyer Guide
Piano Buyer Spring 2018
ad
Pierce Piano Atlas


Who's Online Now
86 registered members (Aaron W, agraffe, anotherscott, 23 invisible), 1,173 guests, and 10 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Live Piano Venues
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Directory/Site Map
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords & Scales
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
I need words to describe piano sound! #129902
03/28/07 10:56 AM
03/28/07 10:56 AM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 20
Southern California
S
Susan Y in CA Offline OP
Full Member
Susan Y in CA  Offline OP
Full Member
S
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 20
Southern California
Hi folks!

Some of you might remember that I previously asked for advice. I wish to purchase a 6' or larger grand piano, used, in $10 to $15,000 range. Neither my husband or I play. My 12 and 9 year old daughters play. They are both very good, but no prodigies.

Following your advice, we will begin our shopping odyssey next week by going to LOTS of stores and shops in the LA area, playing EVERYTHING. Also per your advice, the girls will keep a notebook with notes of the pianos they played, and their impression.

I want to have a list of words that will help them describe the piano sound. In reading posts over the past several weeks, I have gathered the following words:

brassy
soft
feathery
nimble
mellow
bright
dark
full
loud
harsh
tinkly

Can you add to my list? Thanks, Susan

(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Re: I need words to describe piano sound! #129903
03/28/07 11:22 AM
03/28/07 11:22 AM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 70
Oklahoma!
piano_fanatic Offline
Full Member
piano_fanatic  Offline
Full Member
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 70
Oklahoma!
The most Gosh awful noise that you have ever heard come from a pice of art. smile

Beautiful


1.Stop. Break a fortune cookie... 2.Beware of grape with wooden mallet.
1.Ain't that the truth.
Re: I need words to describe piano sound! #129904
03/28/07 12:07 PM
03/28/07 12:07 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 992
Carmel, Indiana
Larry Larson Offline
500 Post Club Member
Larry Larson  Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 992
Carmel, Indiana
Hi Susan, Interesting question. What comes to mind is that when I play my favorite pianos, Baldwin grands over 6 feet, the bass has what I call a "growl". I don't know exactly what is happening acoustically to make the sound, but I know it when I hear it. Larry


1995 Baldwin L grand
2001 Baldwin Hamilton upright
Yamaha S90 synthesizer
www.larrylarsonpiano.com
YouTubeChannel www.youtube.com/LarryLarsonPiano
Re: I need words to describe piano sound! #129905
03/28/07 12:33 PM
03/28/07 12:33 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,265
Lexington, Kentucky
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012
Monica K.  Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,265
Lexington, Kentucky
You forgot the ever-popular "bell-like".


Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica
[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
(ad ) MusicNotes.com
sheet music search
Re: I need words to describe piano sound! #129906
03/28/07 12:45 PM
03/28/07 12:45 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 3,886
San Francisco
whippen boy Offline
3000 Post Club Member
whippen boy  Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 3,886
San Francisco
My advice is to consider a shorter list.

The reason is, that everything is relative. You can have all of those qualities emanating from a single piano, depending on which range of the keyboard you play, and how loudly the note is played. With all those descriptors categorizing the different ranges of a piano at different volumes can be overwhelming.

For this reason, I think it is better to simplify to something like "harsh" and "mellow", and perhaps "fuzzy" and "clear". I'd divide the piano into four regions: deep bass, midbass/tenor, middle/treble (the 'melody' area), and high treble. Then I might give an overall (whole piano) rating for loudness, brightness, and sustain.

What do you think of that?

Re: I need words to describe piano sound! #129907
03/28/07 01:00 PM
03/28/07 01:00 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,645
An Indiana University
U S A P T Offline
1000 Post Club Member
U S A P T  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,645
An Indiana University


Full-Time Music/Entrepreneurship Major: (Why not compose music AND businesses?)
Former Piano Industry Professional
************
Steinway M
Roland Atelier AT90R
************
All Posts are Snarky Unless Otherwise Noted
************
Re: I need words to describe piano sound! #129908
03/28/07 01:54 PM
03/28/07 01:54 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 3,886
San Francisco
whippen boy Offline
3000 Post Club Member
whippen boy  Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 3,886
San Francisco
Quote
Originally posted by USAPianoTrucker:
Trucker, does that mean you think nothing of it? laugh

Re: I need words to describe piano sound! #129909
03/28/07 02:17 PM
03/28/07 02:17 PM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 492
North Carolina
chopin952 Offline
Full Member
chopin952  Offline
Full Member
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 492
North Carolina
Quote
brassy, soft, feathery, nimble, mellow, bright, dark, full, loud, harsh, tinkly
As whippen boy says, the terms are all relative and up to interpretation, but some we agree on more so than others when two people hear the same sound.

Here are some I've heard:

American, bell-like, blurred, cheap, clean, clear, complex, crisp, dead, distinct, distorted, enveloping, European, flat, hot, layered, long, metallic, muddy, piercing, pleasant, powerful, pure, rich, ringing, Steinway, simple, singing, short, straight, twangy, thumbtacks, warm, woody, Yamaha.

There are dozens more!

How will you be using your list?

Re: I need words to describe piano sound! #129910
03/28/07 02:33 PM
03/28/07 02:33 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 20
Southern California
S
Susan Y in CA Offline OP
Full Member
Susan Y in CA  Offline OP
Full Member
S
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 20
Southern California
Since my girls will be "auditioning" the pianos, I wanted a way for them to become involved & invested, and both would really enjoy rating & describing the pianos they play. And of course, a way for me to understand their preferences.

I will be using their evaluations/descriptions when I take their preferences into account, when I (& the technician) decide on the piano to purchase.

So I guess I will have the girls use the words to help describe their impressions of the piano; also, to keep them interested in the piano search.

Whippen Boy, I think your suggestion for a shorter list is a good one, but I think my girls would have more fun using lots of descriptive words... and I do want them to have fun cause we will be spending a couple of long days out there in the piano jungle. Maybe I'll have two lists for them... one with lots of words, and one with the shorter list divided into four regions, see how they do with the first couple of pianos,and take it from there. It could turn out that lots of words would be too confusing/overwhelming for them.

Re: I need words to describe piano sound! #129911
03/28/07 02:41 PM
03/28/07 02:41 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 116
California
B
brian13 Offline
Full Member
brian13  Offline
Full Member
B
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 116
California
for piano , it is sort of like describing what strawberries taste like or what chicken taste like.
it is usually the cornerstone taste that other things get compared to do describe other things relatively.

so, piano sounds like 'piano-y' to me, for lack of a better word!

Re: I need words to describe piano sound! #129912
03/28/07 02:45 PM
03/28/07 02:45 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 4,683
San Francisco
F
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member
FogVilleLad  Offline
4000 Post Club Member
F
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 4,683
San Francisco
Since there's no real rush, you might want to consider letting the girls describe their impressions of whippen's four regions. Since people differ, you may have to develop a way to encourage them to state their own opinions regardless of the other's opinion.

I'm thinking groan and grin on this one;-)

Re: I need words to describe piano sound! #129913
03/28/07 03:08 PM
03/28/07 03:08 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 292
Sterzing (Italy)
vippo Offline
Full Member
vippo  Offline
Full Member
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 292
Sterzing (Italy)
Especially if you are planning to let your girls describe the sound they like to you and your technician, I'd stick with what whippen boy and fogvillelad recommended, that is reducing the number of terms.

It is impossible for two poeple to agree on what exactly "bell like" sounds like, let alone four people using such a long list for a discussion... you could still add "brillant" and "muddled" to whippen's list to describe how well the single notes can be distinguished in faster passagers, but that should be it in my opinion.


Proud owner of an August Förster 190 Serial No. 164163
Re: I need words to describe piano sound! #129914
03/28/07 07:11 PM
03/28/07 07:11 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 394
Athens, Georgia
T
TLuvva Offline
Full Member
TLuvva  Offline
Full Member
T
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 394
Athens, Georgia
I'd shorten the list but maybe separate it in to 3 or 4 descriptors for more than one area. For example, the sound, could be one (incorporating descriptions of loudness and clarity), the tone could be one, the feel is certainly another completely different one (if the youngsters can discern that sort of thing). Even the look is one because you're having fun and certain pianos are more decorative in terms of the inner cabinet even if the outside is polished ebony. That way it's not limited to sound and touch. Sounds fun to me!

Re: I need words to describe piano sound! #129915
03/28/07 07:49 PM
03/28/07 07:49 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 999
The Midwest
George K Offline
500 Post Club Member
George K  Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 999
The Midwest
My Bohemia 185BR sounds like "chocolate."


[Linked Image]
Re: I need words to describe piano sound! #129916
03/28/07 09:16 PM
03/28/07 09:16 PM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 6,195
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Axtremus  Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 6,195
Quote
Originally posted by George K:

My Bohemia 185BR sounds like "chocolate."
Godiva,
Scharffen Berger,
Ghirardelli,
Lindt,
Gini,
Valrhona,
Cadbury,
Hershey's,
M&M's,
Russell Stover,
Berkley & Jenkins, or
Kirkland ?

Milk, dark, white, or mint?

Re: I need words to describe piano sound! #129917
03/28/07 09:20 PM
03/28/07 09:20 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 999
The Midwest
George K Offline
500 Post Club Member
George K  Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 999
The Midwest
Ax, you're so compulsive... :p


( Ghirardelli )


[Linked Image]
Re: I need words to describe piano sound! #129918
03/29/07 05:43 AM
03/29/07 05:43 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 10,957
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Online content
Platinum Subscriber
Rich Galassini  Online Content
Platinum Subscriber
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 10,957
Philadelphia/South Jersey
This brings up something I deal with on a regular basis - how to communicate sound differences when a customer is not there with you at the piano?

Even when words are used that are fairly common they are easily misunderstood. This is because even if the person on the phone is used to using the exact terms I am using, we all have our own perception of what those words mean to us.

For instance, here is a definition of the term "dark":

"Lots of fundamental in the tone with very little high overtones coming through"

I think that is a pretty good one, but how does that actually translate into a tone in someone's mind? AND if all of us were standing around the same piano that I thought was dark, would we all agree?

Good thread.


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Subscribe to our YouTube channel for great content every week:
https://www.youtube.com/user/CunninghamPiano
Re: I need words to describe piano sound! #129919
03/29/07 07:10 AM
03/29/07 07:10 AM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 292
Sterzing (Italy)
vippo Offline
Full Member
vippo  Offline
Full Member
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 292
Sterzing (Italy)
Quote
Originally posted by Rich Galassini:

For instance, here is a definition of the term "dark":

"Lots of fundamental in the tone with very little high overtones coming through"

I think that is a pretty good one, but how does that actually translate into a tone in someone's mind? AND if all of us were standing around the same piano that I thought was dark, would we all agree?

Good thread.
In my mind, "dark" describes a tone that is the opposite of "clear"... ok, understood by everybody? wink

seriously, though, this is the perfect example for the millions of reasons for why threads like this exist: what I would use the term dark for is not directly connected with what I would call "cleanness" of the tone, if not quite the opposite from what your definition is.

I don't know if what one would call a "bell- like", "clear", "crystalline" treble is the influence of higher harmonics which make for a sound that is more piercing as opposed to the "dark" tone which to me sounds like if filtered by a low- pass.

The last Steingräber I tried in Torino for example has a dark tone, while I would characterise the Grotrian- Steinweg as a pinao with a "clean" tone. For whatever that means...


Proud owner of an August Förster 190 Serial No. 164163
Re: I need words to describe piano sound! #129920
03/29/07 08:25 AM
03/29/07 08:25 AM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 342
BsAs
C
Cultor Offline
Full Member
Cultor  Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 342
BsAs
"Velvety" is a nice piano descriptor.


Moderated by  Ken Knapp, Piano World 

New Topics - Multiple Forums
with my heart in my mouth.......
by Medved1. 06/19/18 08:49 PM
What Gives?
by keykeyzkeys. 06/19/18 08:28 PM
DX7?
by keykeyzkeys. 06/19/18 08:21 PM
Beethoven Pathétique Sonata 2nd movement
by dsw67. 06/19/18 07:24 PM
(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq Steingraeber
(125ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Forum Statistics
Forums40
Topics186,065
Posts2,726,088
Members90,411
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
(ad)
Accu-Tuner
Sanderson Accu-Tuner
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers


 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2018 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.1.1