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I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... #1394666
03/12/10 11:09 PM
03/12/10 11:09 PM
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 714
San Francisco, CA
crogersrx Offline OP
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Does anyone else go through this? One day you set down at your beloved piano, and when you start to play, you swear someone came and stole the magic out of it. The sound you dream all day of coming home to and making music with, is something different.

Then a few days later, after wondering if you're going deaf, just can't hear the beautiful part of the sound anymore, or if the piano lost that je ne sais quois that made you fall in love and open your doors and your bank account to that lovely piano in the first place, suddenly, it's back. Then I just want to scream at it for going on vacation and leaving it's ugly sister it it's place.

I go through a love/hate relationship with my piano pretty often. I was at the verge of trading my piano with an acquaintance who has been wanting to trade for almost a year now. Then, suddenly, the sound was back.

Is it the schizophrenic humidity in Houston? Is is something with the change of temperature (we've fluctuated alot recently), that changes the way the soundboard resonates, or am I just crazy? Does anyone else go through cycles like this?


Cary Rogers, PharmD
San Francisco, CA
1887 Knabe 6'4" (Rebuilt)
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Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: crogersrx] #1394671
03/12/10 11:14 PM
03/12/10 11:14 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 2,393
Beautiful San Diego, CA
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Yep. I think we all go through it. And not just for music. Mountain and valley periods are necessary for growth. Without them, we remain on the plateau where it's nice, but not really exciting.


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Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: crogersrx] #1394675
03/12/10 11:24 PM
03/12/10 11:24 PM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 160
Albuquerque/Rio Rancho NM
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crogersrx
Yes, you're not crazy... or no, you're not crazy.? I thought Houston was always humid. How much variation is there? I delivered two pianos today for weekend rental and "they went crazy". It can happen if there are humidity extremes. Maybe, you can monitor your humidity and compare to the pianos behavior. Hygrometers have been recommended here. Radio Shack has them. Good luck.
Mike


Owner, Kitt Fine Pianos
Albuquerque,
Hallet Davis & Co., old M&H's of course
Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: MAKitt] #1394679
03/12/10 11:34 PM
03/12/10 11:34 PM
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Yes, I think many or maybe most people do. Usually I discover that it has to do with being tired after a long week, or preoccupied with something mentally. I used to trust the feeling more than I do now. That is, I used to honestly think that I was done being interested in piano for good whenever I lost interest. Now I still have the feelings but I have some background belief that my interest in piano will come back and so I just take a break and don't think about it too much.


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Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: charleslang] #1394683
03/12/10 11:40 PM
03/12/10 11:40 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 4,574
Georgia, USA
terminaldegree Offline
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I seem to remember there's some sort of book written about this... wink


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: terminaldegree] #1394686
03/12/10 11:50 PM
03/12/10 11:50 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,395
Surrey, B.C.
Norbert Offline
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Quote
Is is something with the change of temperature (we've fluctuated alot recently), that changes the way the soundboard resonates, or am I just crazy?


No, it's totally normal.

Changes in humidity can and often *do* affect the sound of a piano big time.

It's sometimes *more* and sometimes *less* - but it's almost always there.

Norbert


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
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Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: terminaldegree] #1394690
03/13/10 12:03 AM
03/13/10 12:03 AM
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 714
San Francisco, CA
crogersrx Offline OP
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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
I seem to remember there's some sort of book written about this... wink


Yes, and I loved that book because it was almost describing what I go through with my love/hate relationship with my piano. And coincidentally, my tech is the only tech that I like to tune my piano. Once, when I had another tech tune the piano because my tech was out of the country on vacation. I hated the piano's sound for about the next two weeks and got my tech to come fix the tuning right after he got back from vacation.

I really think it has something to do with the piano responding to the cold/warm changes and humid/less-humid changes we've been having this year in Houston. Normally we have two seasons in Houston, Ridiculously-Hot&Humid which lasts for 9 months, and then not quite as hot&humid - the other few months. I think that since the wood responds to temparature and humidity, the little changes caused by swelling or contracting are what robs me of the beautiful edge that I love when everything is "normal."

I generally keep the house sealed up with the AC on and humidity relatively controlled. But, this year, it has been from 30 to 80 degrees in the same week, with relative humidity from 30% to 96% to go along.

I have access to a Bosendorfor at a friend's house, and it tends to be "lovely, or not-lovely" in synch with my piano, which is really exasperating because when my piano disappoints me, it would be nice to jump over to the other one and have it sound nice.


Cary Rogers, PharmD
San Francisco, CA
1887 Knabe 6'4" (Rebuilt)
Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: Norbert] #1394693
03/13/10 12:09 AM
03/13/10 12:09 AM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,930
El Cajon, CA
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My Hamiltons have their good & bad days as well. One of them has a crack in the soundboard, and sometimes (today, for example) a loose rib will buzz.

Also, the name "pique" (Perri Knize, author of grand Obsession) comes to mind. wink

Last edited by 88Key_PianoPlayer; 03/13/10 12:12 AM.

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Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: crogersrx] #1394694
03/13/10 12:11 AM
03/13/10 12:11 AM
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I'm not convinced, but I suppose it is possible. Part of the reason I'm not convinced is because I would think that a change in moisture that affected tone that significantly would also throw it out of tune. Of course maybe that's what you're experiencing is the piano going slightly out of tune and then perhaps even back into tune when the moisture swings back. It's another one of those things I'd like to have more evidence for before I believe. There might be psychological factors not to mention the kind of music you happen to be playing on a given day.


charlessamuellang.com
Semi-pro pianist and piano technician
Tuesdays 5-8:30 at Vince's West Sacramento, California
Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: 88Key_PianoPlayer] #1394701
03/13/10 12:24 AM
03/13/10 12:24 AM
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 714
San Francisco, CA
crogersrx Offline OP
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Originally Posted by 88Key_PianoPlayer
My Hamiltons have their good & bad days as well. One of them has a crack in the soundboard, and sometimes (today, for example) a loose rib will buzz.

Also, the name "pique" (Perri Knize, author of grand Obsession) comes to mind. wink


Yeah, I bought that book for myself around Christmas, and I read the whole thing in a couple days... She was speaking exactly what I felt inside. I had a Baldwin 7' when I grew up, and I always loved that piano, it never seemed to have bad days (though I'm sure it did and I just didn't notice them like I do now). The piano that is up for trade with mine is also a large Baldwin. When my piano gives me grief, added to the childhood nostalgia over my Baldwin SF, makes me almost ready to not give it a second thought and just trade.


Cary Rogers, PharmD
San Francisco, CA
1887 Knabe 6'4" (Rebuilt)
Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: crogersrx] #1394754
03/13/10 03:14 AM
03/13/10 03:14 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,615
Encino, California
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It's not the piano. It's YOU!!!
I know! Whem I am relaxed, ready to enjoy my piano, it answers me, cuddles me, puts me on cloud nine and does every thing I expect from it.
When I am uptight, stressed and expecting the piano to relieve all my tensions, it says: No, I am not your mother. Meet me on equal terms, and I will love you as you love me. But don't expect me to take care of everything, I am only a piano, you know. I cannot change to accomodate you, you have to be even tempered like me, and then we can enjoy each other's company and make music together. And through the years, I have learned to not expect too much from anyone, not even my piano. And with that in mind, I am never disappointed. My Estonia is always answering me. Sometimes with harsh notes because I hammer it too much, other times with sweetness and lovely sound because I treat it like the responsive instrument it is. It's like a dance. If you push, she resists. If you lead, she follows. And as long as you are willing to respond to her as you want her to respond to you, you will always make wonderful music together.


Some men are music lovers. Others make love without it.
Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: ChatNoir] #1394762
03/13/10 03:27 AM
03/13/10 03:27 AM
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Toronto
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Originally Posted by ChatNoir
It's not the piano. It's YOU!!!
I know! Whem I am relaxed, ready to enjoy my piano, it answers me, cuddles me, puts me on cloud nine and does every thing I expect from it.
When I am uptight, stressed and expecting the piano to relieve all my tensions, it says: No, I am not your mother. Meet me on equal terms, and I will love you as you love me. But don't expect me to take care of everything, I am only a piano, you know. I cannot change to accomodate you, you have to be even tempered like me, and then we can enjoy each other's company and make music together. And through the years, I have learned to not expect too much from anyone, not even my piano. And with that in mind, I am never disappointed. My Estonia is always answering me. Sometimes with harsh notes because I hammer it too much, other times with sweetness and lovely sound because I treat it like the responsive instrument it is. It's like a dance. If you push, she resists. If you lead, she follows. And as long as you are willing to respond to her as you want her to respond to you, you will always make wonderful music together.


+1+1+1!



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Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: AJF] #1394786
03/13/10 05:57 AM
03/13/10 05:57 AM
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I think your ears also have their good and bad days. Probably also related to atmospheric pressure (think about when you get out of the plane...)


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Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: wouter79] #1394843
03/13/10 09:30 AM
03/13/10 09:30 AM
Joined: Mar 2006
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Georgia, USA
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I go through exactly the same thing on a regular basis. I’ll be on the verge of wanting to trade up and figuring out how much money I’m willing to part with to trade up, and then, after a fresh tuning and some voicing, “Eureka” the magic is back!

As a matter of fact, I just tuned her and did some voicing yesterday and she’s singing beautifully! She inspired me so much that I wrote another song yesterday and will record it in a couple hours. (Of course, I won’t be posting it here).

Hang in there…. A love/hate relationship with a piano aint’ so bad!

Take care!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: Rickster] #1394867
03/13/10 10:14 AM
03/13/10 10:14 AM
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Ohio, US
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Some days its me, some days its the piano.


I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.
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Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: Little_Blue_Engine] #1394882
03/13/10 10:35 AM
03/13/10 10:35 AM
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Maryland/DC/No. VA
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I think it is likely both factors.

As the soundboard expands the downbearing increases. It may not be enough to knock the piano out of tune, but it could improve the tonality quite a bit, particularly in a rebuilt piano and even more if the soundboard is original.

I'd suggest a room humidifier and a hygrometer. Find the idea humidity and try to keep it there.

As to your perception of the tonality: Lithium. grin


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Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: Steve Cohen] #1394930
03/13/10 12:17 PM
03/13/10 12:17 PM
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Georgia, USA
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Look at it this way, Steve… if everyone was completely satisfied with their piano, you might sell less of them! grin

I wonder what the ratio is between first time acoustic piano buyers and those who trade up. I’m sure you know this.

Rick

Last edited by Rickster; 03/13/10 12:20 PM.

Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: Steve Cohen] #1394934
03/13/10 12:27 PM
03/13/10 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
I think it is likely both factors.

As the soundboard expands the downbearing increases. It may not be enough to knock the piano out of tune, but it could improve the tonality quite a bit, particularly in a rebuilt piano and even more if the soundboard is original.

I'd suggest a room humidifier and a hygrometer. Find the idea humidity and try to keep it there.



Hi Steve,

The older soundboards are actually more stable. In a rebuild with a new board, or a new piano, the amount the soundboard will expand will have to do with how it was seasoned and how dry it was when the piano was bellied compared with the room humidity in which the piano currently resides.

Your suggestion about getting a hygrometer and trying to get the room to an ideal humidity is a good one.


Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
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Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: Keith D Kerman] #1394951
03/13/10 12:51 PM
03/13/10 12:51 PM
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Texas
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I don't think this is primarily from humidity changes, it is from our moods and minds, and some days I can just play better so it sounds better which goes into a positive feedback loop of higher enjoyment and thinking the piano sounds better. I also live in Houston but had the same C7 in New Albany Indiana. I have not seen any correlation with humidity or even time of year and "good versus bad" piano days. This is not to say tone doesn't change a little with humidity, but I have never really observed this with my piano, but acoustic guitars definitely have different tone in different humidity. Maybe your piano is more sensitive to it.

When you think maybe your piano is not sounding good, visit the piano stores the same day and play some other ones even the very expensive ones. I'll do this then go home and immediately play my C7 and the result is it sounds way better than almost all the others except a few that cost tons more.

Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: BGJ] #1395074
03/13/10 04:27 PM
03/13/10 04:27 PM
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FL, USA
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I tend to side with those who believe the problem is you and not the piano.
We do not always hear the same way and even our perception of speed changes and not only when playing. Sometimes when driving, I feel I am going too fast ( or too slow ), but the speedometer indicates a normal speed.

I just read an interview with the late Adele Marcus, professor at Juilliard, and she
addresses this very situation ( "pianists at play" by Dean Elder, pg.214).

You are not crazy. Keep on enjoying your piano.


Uncle George.

Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: wouter79] #1395127
03/13/10 06:13 PM
03/13/10 06:13 PM
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San Francisco, CA
crogersrx Offline OP
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Originally Posted by wouter79
I think your ears also have their good and bad days. Probably also related to atmospheric pressure (think about when you get out of the plane...)


You've got a good point there. With Houston's rapidly cycling climate and the veritable cornucopia of mold and pollen we have the opportunity to inhale on a daily basis, my ears probably have some down days... ie my hearing is muted just a bit by sinus reaction to the allergens in the air.

BTW... the ugly sister was gone this morning, and they beautiful piano I married was back. laugh


Cary Rogers, PharmD
San Francisco, CA
1887 Knabe 6'4" (Rebuilt)
Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: Steve Cohen] #1395130
03/13/10 06:19 PM
03/13/10 06:19 PM
Joined: Jul 2008
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San Francisco, CA
crogersrx Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
...As to your perception of the tonality: Lithium. grin


I should probably consider that... I don't remember ever being so cognizant of that je ne sais quois in the sound of pianos when I was growing up. I did think, though, that my Baldwin SF was the best sounding piano I had ever laid ears upon... but I was biased, and didn't have many other nice pianos to compare it to.


Cary Rogers, PharmD
San Francisco, CA
1887 Knabe 6'4" (Rebuilt)
Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: Uncle George] #1395166
03/13/10 07:23 PM
03/13/10 07:23 PM
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Posts: 714
San Francisco, CA
crogersrx Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Uncle George
I tend to side with those who believe the problem is you and not the piano.... We do not always hear the same way...

You are not crazy. Keep on enjoying your piano.

Uncle George.


I think that you're probably right, the problem is most likely that my hearing changes a bit with the amount of allergens I'm having to contend with here in the mold & pollen capital of the south... I think from years of putting up with it, I hadn't realized that there are subtle changes that happen to my hearing that change the way I perceive piano tone. Of course, it's obvious that my hearing's off when I'm all stuffed up and can barely breath, but when it's not so profound, I think it still can effect a bit of the higher registers where you hear the overtones.

Still, it's more fun to blame it on a capricious piano with a twin sister and a penchant for devilry! laugh


Cary Rogers, PharmD
San Francisco, CA
1887 Knabe 6'4" (Rebuilt)
Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: crogersrx] #1395175
03/13/10 07:29 PM
03/13/10 07:29 PM
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Texas
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It's not the piano. It's YOU!!!

I've noticed that my piano has "magic" days and "disappointing" days as well. When I listen to recordings of my piano, the same recording heard on different days can be "magic" or "disappointing." The recording is obviously not affected by humidity or temperature...

Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: crogersrx] #1395390
03/14/10 05:04 AM
03/14/10 05:04 AM
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Hampshire, England
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Originally Posted by crogersrx
Does anyone else go through this? One day you set down at your beloved piano, and when you start to play, you swear someone came and stole the magic out of it. The sound you dream all day of coming home to and making music with, is something different.

am I just crazy? Does anyone else go through cycles like this?


I'm sure it is to do with your mood, too. After a hard day at the office I'm much more likely to be irritated by any imperfections than if I sit down at the piano when relaxed with no pressures. I find my piano sounds best first thing on a Sunday morning:

Absolute silence. Sunday morning and the house is still sleeping. I tiptoe downstairs, walk across the hall into the drawing room and pass my beautiful piano which always seems to be whispering 'play me.' I run my fingers across the polished walnut cabinet just to convince myself it's not a dream.

I draw back the heavy curtains, open the French windows and step out into the cool morning air. The morning mist has blown a gentle kiss of dew onto each blade of grass on the finely manicured lawn. As I walk across the still garden, the sun's first watery shafts of light push through the gaps in the old oak tree's branches adding a pale golden yellow to the rich tapestry of colours already in the garden's magical make up.

Is that the coo-ing of a dove and skylarks singing? I look above but no birds are there. No birdsong, but such delicately sweet music. Do I hear in the morning mist, the gentle ripples of someone playing a Schubert Impromptu, drifting from the open doors of the old house? I walk my way back through the garden and go inside.

Her hands glide over the keys with the effortless grace of a bird in flight. The music is hypnotic. My eyes look up from the keys to the intricately inlaid golden brass lettering of the name. I smile, she looks back at me and we whisper together -

Hailun, Hailun, Hailun. .

Enjoy your Sunday morning.



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Re: I love thee, I love thee not, I love thee.... [Re: crogersrx] #1395400
03/14/10 06:09 AM
03/14/10 06:09 AM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 204
L
Ludwig van Bilge Offline
Full Member
Ludwig van Bilge  Offline
Full Member
L

Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 204
Even digitals do this, or seem to - and unlike a real piano a digital is more or less the same machine every day.


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