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How hard can you push a piano key? #1474652
07/15/10 06:00 AM
07/15/10 06:00 AM
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Marko2002 Offline OP
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I hope I’m not asking a stupid question here, but I’ve always wondered how hard you can hit it without breaking it. I’ve been playing the piano for only two years now and my digital Yamaha YDP 140, obviously, has a much lighter touch than that of real piano, so I am especially afraid of pushing the keys too hard. (I don’t even know if you should try something as hard as fortississimo on a digital piano)…

So if somebody could please explain this to me.

Thanks.

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Re: How hard can you push a piano key? [Re: Marko2002] #1474698
07/15/10 08:24 AM
07/15/10 08:24 AM
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FunkyLlama Offline
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Really shouldn't be a problem unless your digital piano is absolutely rubbish. I routinely play louder than mine can measure and it still works just fine.

Re: How hard can you push a piano key? [Re: FunkyLlama] #1474752
07/15/10 10:21 AM
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Marko2002 Offline OP
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And what about the real piano?

Re: How hard can you push a piano key? [Re: Marko2002] #1474766
07/15/10 10:48 AM
07/15/10 10:48 AM
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jazzyprof Offline
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You're not likely to break a key but you can certainly break piano strings, depending on the force and how sharply it is applied. It does take some real power though.


"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP
Re: How hard can you push a piano key? [Re: jazzyprof] #1474787
07/15/10 11:04 AM
07/15/10 11:04 AM
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samasap Offline
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Hi,

Yes if you are playing either a acoustic piano or a digital you should be able to play as hard as you like!!! Obviously as long as your not bashing the keys like maybe a small child could!!!]]But generally if the song you are playing is a loud piece, then GO FOR IT!


Re: How hard can you push a piano key? [Re: samasap] #1474828
07/15/10 12:10 PM
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Marko2002 Offline OP
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So you can actually break the strings?! This guy told me a while ago that this used to happen to some famous pianist (Liszt maybe, I don't remember), but I didn't believe it. I thought the mechanism wouldn't allow it, unlike the guitar when you're directly in touch with the strings...

Re: How hard can you push a piano key? [Re: Marko2002] #1474843
07/15/10 12:38 PM
07/15/10 12:38 PM
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jeffreyjones Offline
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I see plenty of pieces that call for tutta forza.. in that case, as hard as you can without sounding offensive!

Re: How hard can you push a piano key? [Re: Marko2002] #1474854
07/15/10 01:26 PM
07/15/10 01:26 PM
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jazzyprof Offline
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Originally Posted by Marko2002
So you can actually break the strings?! This guy told me a while ago that this used to happen to some famous pianist (Liszt maybe, I don't remember), but I didn't believe it. I thought the mechanism wouldn't allow it, unlike the guitar when you're directly in touch with the strings...

See what happens around 0:59.


"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP
Re: How hard can you push a piano key? [Re: jazzyprof] #1474864
07/15/10 01:44 PM
07/15/10 01:44 PM
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The pianos in Liszt's day were not as heavy duty as today's piano, but, yes, as you can see from the Breaking a Piano String clip above, you can still break the strings! :-o

Re: How hard can you push a piano key? [Re: Marko2002] #1474873
07/15/10 01:51 PM
07/15/10 01:51 PM
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Mark_C Online content
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From a 1968 review by Harold Schonberg:

It was the second movement of Rachmaninoff's B flat Sonata, and Vladimir Horowitz was going along in grand style. Boing-g-g! He snapped one of the A strings in the bass. The audience gasped. Mr. Horowitz played a measure or two further, and there was a jangle. He stopped. Out came a Steinway man, Franz Mohr....

Wait a minute. smile
We better say, Franz Mohr wasn't "a" Steinway man, he was the Steinway man.

.....Out came a Steinway man, Franz Mohr, and removed the offending string. In that position of the keyboard, the hammer hits two strings.....Now it had one. It was a wounded instrument, and complained a little when the powerful Horowitz fingers hit the note....
In the [Rachmaninoff] Horowitz was at his best. No broken string could bother him. Indeed, he even seemed to enjoy the unaccustomed break from routine....


[no pun intended, I guess] ha

P.S. I imagine you can break anything if you hit the keys hard enough, including not just the strings and keys but also the wood frame, your floor, your house, and the entire Earth. smile

Re: How hard can you push a piano key? [Re: jazzyprof] #1474879
07/15/10 01:54 PM
07/15/10 01:54 PM
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charleslang Offline
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Originally Posted by jazzyprof
Originally Posted by Marko2002
So you can actually break the strings?! This guy told me a while ago that this used to happen to some famous pianist (Liszt maybe, I don't remember), but I didn't believe it. I thought the mechanism wouldn't allow it, unlike the guitar when you're directly in touch with the strings...

See what happens around 0:59.


I love the way he stands up and looks over the music desk.


charlessamuellang.com
Semi-pro pianist and piano technician
Tuesdays 5-8:30 at Vince's West Sacramento, California
Re: How hard can you push a piano key? [Re: charleslang] #1474940
07/15/10 03:27 PM
07/15/10 03:27 PM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 2,799
Ann Arbor, MI
jazzyprof Offline
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A couple of weeks ago, during her epic practice sessions captured live on webcam, Valentina Lisitsa was asked why she had stuffed pillows behind her music desk. She said there were two reasons: first, to reduce the volume of her Bosie and second, to protect her from the whiplash of broken strings! Apparently she's broken quite a few.


"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP
Re: How hard can you push a piano key? [Re: Marko2002] #1475064
07/15/10 06:35 PM
07/15/10 06:35 PM
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Damon Offline
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Originally Posted by Marko2002
I hope I’m not asking a stupid question here, but I’ve always wondered how hard you can hit it without breaking it. I’ve been playing the piano for only two years now and my digital Yamaha YDP 140, obviously, has a much lighter touch than that of real piano, so I am especially afraid of pushing the keys too hard. (I don’t even know if you should try something as hard as fortississimo on a digital piano)…

So if somebody could please explain this to me.

Thanks.


While no one can make a guarantee, I can tell you that I have two Yamaha digitals and one Technics digital that gets played pretty hard and they all still work fine. You might ask how I know that I play hard? I routinely break keys on my synthesizers and when I had a real piano, I broke 3 strings and seven hammers over the years I had it. (about 6 years) If the YDP has a "piano" action, it's probably fairly tough.

Re: How hard can you push a piano key? [Re: Damon] #1475307
07/16/10 02:51 AM
07/16/10 02:51 AM
Joined: May 2009
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Victor25 Offline
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Haha, several keys, 3 strings, 7 hammers, I think they are trying to tell you something smile


Currently working on: Perfecting the Op 2/1, studying the 27/2 last movement. Chopin Nocturne 32/2 and Posth. C#m, 'Raindrop' prelude and Etude 10/9
Repetoire: Beethoven op 2/1, 10/1(1st, 2nd), 13, 14/1, 27/1(1st, 2nd), 27/2, 28(1st, 2nd), 31/2(1st, 3rd), 49/1, 49/2, 78(1st), 79, 90, 101(1st)
Re: How hard can you push a piano key? [Re: Damon] #1475331
07/16/10 06:01 AM
07/16/10 06:01 AM
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Marko2002 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Victor25
Haha, several keys, 3 strings, 7 hammers, I think they are trying to tell you something smile


Was he playing it or testing the hardiness?! grin And how do you break the hammers anyway?

Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by Marko2002
I hope I’m not asking a stupid question here, but I’ve always wondered how hard you can hit it without breaking it. I’ve been playing the piano for only two years now and my digital Yamaha YDP 140, obviously, has a much lighter touch than that of real piano, so I am especially afraid of pushing the keys too hard. (I don’t even know if you should try something as hard as fortississimo on a digital piano)…

So if somebody could please explain this to me.

Thanks.


While no one can make a guarantee, I can tell you that I have two Yamaha digitals and one Technics digital that gets played pretty hard and they all still work fine. You might ask how I know that I play hard? I routinely break keys on my synthesizers and when I had a real piano, I broke 3 strings and seven hammers over the years I had it. (about 6 years) If the YDP has a "piano" action, it's probably fairly tough.


My YDP actually doesn't have the "piano" action: the keys are too light so it feels kind of dangerous to hit them hard, but based on what you all say, I guess it shouldn't be a problem. I might get an upright acoustic piano in a few months though... It's not brand new and I'm not even sure if it's been used for the past several years, so I guess It'll be essential to call somebody to tune it, prevent a string break etc.

Re: How hard can you push a piano key? [Re: Marko2002] #1475342
07/16/10 06:41 AM
07/16/10 06:41 AM
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wr Offline
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Originally Posted by Marko2002
So you can actually break the strings?! This guy told me a while ago that this used to happen to some famous pianist (Liszt maybe, I don't remember), but I didn't believe it. I thought the mechanism wouldn't allow it, unlike the guitar when you're directly in touch with the strings...


It's actually not very hard to do. I did it many times before I finally figured out what I was doing wrong. Of course, a string could actually have a weak spot, which you can't help.

Re: How hard can you push a piano key? [Re: jazzyprof] #1475346
07/16/10 06:47 AM
07/16/10 06:47 AM
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wdot Offline
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Originally Posted by jazzyprof
Originally Posted by Marko2002
So you can actually break the strings?! This guy told me a while ago that this used to happen to some famous pianist (Liszt maybe, I don't remember), but I didn't believe it. I thought the mechanism wouldn't allow it, unlike the guitar when you're directly in touch with the strings...

See what happens around 0:59.

Poor guy. To be that far through a really difficult piece and have that happen to you. He really wasn't playing at maximum volume when the string let go. Sometimes strings have hidden defects and they just ultimately give up the ghost.

Incidentally, this fellow can really play.

Re: How hard can you push a piano key? [Re: Marko2002] #1475355
07/16/10 07:20 AM
07/16/10 07:20 AM
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Damon Offline
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Originally Posted by Marko2002

My YDP actually doesn't have the "piano" action: the keys are too light so it feels kind of dangerous to hit them hard, but based on what you all say, I guess it shouldn't be a problem. I might get an upright acoustic piano in a few months though... It's not brand new and I'm not even sure if it's been used for the past several years, so I guess It'll be essential to call somebody to tune it, prevent a string break etc.


If this is the same action they use on their synthesizers, I'd be careful. Not so much about how hard I press them, but lateral movement like a glissando.

Re: How hard can you push a piano key? [Re: wr] #1475437
07/16/10 10:29 AM
07/16/10 10:29 AM
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Little_Blue_Engine Offline
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by Marko2002
So you can actually break the strings?! This guy told me a while ago that this used to happen to some famous pianist (Liszt maybe, I don't remember), but I didn't believe it. I thought the mechanism wouldn't allow it, unlike the guitar when you're directly in touch with the strings...


It's actually not very hard to do. I did it many times before I finally figured out what I was doing wrong. Of course, a string could actually have a weak spot, which you can't help.
According to one popular non-classical pianist the shape of the wave-length of particular notes and the point at which the hammer hits it at when playing a note quickly a second time can also affect how likely a string is to break at any given time. I don't know if this is true, but it seems possible.


I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.
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Re: How hard can you push a piano key? [Re: Little_Blue_Engine] #1475495
07/16/10 11:45 AM
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Marko2002 Offline OP
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Is there anyone who hasn't busted a string yet?! laugh

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