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Voicing questions #2564688 08/20/16 10:30 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,675
Arghhh Offline OP
1000 Post Club Member
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Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,675
I'd like to get some more information on what voicing does and what is possible with voicing.

My first question is regarding volume. If I buy a piano and decide it is too loud for my room, I've heard I can get it voiced to be quieter. Does that also change the tone, so that softer = mellower, and louder = brighter?

The second question probably can't be answered on a forum like this, but I'll try anyways! I was looking into buying an Estonia piano. I like the price, I like the action, I like a lot of things about its general sound but I want more clarity in the treble. For me it is a little too mellow or thick. It might be a weird comparison but I liken it to the kind of sound of a full lyric soprano (think Renee Fleming) and I would like something with more clarity/sparkle than what the pianos I tried had - maybe a lyric soprano or a light lyric soprano.

At one of the stores was a larger Estonia that had already been sold, and a technician had made it brighter according to the buyer's wishes. The fault with that one, however, was that it was harder to control. The clear sound quickly became too harsh and accented.

What I'm wondering is if I should find a different brand of piano that inherently has a clearer treble? Was the adjustment made by the technician defective, or is that what happens when you try to get a piano to do something it isn't designed to do?


Professional pianist and piano teacher.
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Re: Voicing questions [Re: Arghhh] #2564693 08/20/16 11:05 PM
Joined: Jun 2014
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Lakeviewsteve Offline
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Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 778
I have this great 7 page PDF document from Bösendorfer regarding voicing, here is an excerpt:

Voicing is the most difficult and demanding work in the manufacture of a piano. The job of
the technician voicing the piano is to give the grand piano or upright piano the
characteristic tonal quality, or as others have expressed this, „to instill the instrument with
its soul“.
The job of a voicing technician is done without the help of precise benchmarks, meaning
that there are no tools that can be used to determine if the instrument has been voiced
correctly. Moreover, opinions on what precisely is the correct sound may vary from
individual to individual. An instrument may be considered as perfectly voiced by one
person, but another might consider it too soft or too shrill. Just as people‘s moods vary,
the way they hear sound also does and sometimes a person might find a sound louder
then at other times.
In our opinion, itis obvious that for the voicing of an instrument to be good, a technician
must have a lot of experience and a well trained ear. It is the job of a voicing technician to
create the wealth of tone colors, the melodious and carrying combination of sound for
which Bösendorfer instruments are famous.
When voicing an instrument, it should also be borne in mind that instruments may be
subject to very different playing conditions and very different acoustic environments. It
makes a big difference if a grand piano is played in a small room or a large concert hall.
These varying conditions of space and acoustics must be take into account when voicing
an instrument.
Probably the most important requirement for achieving the optimum voicing is the
excellent quality of the hammer. The hammers are made of a wooden core covered by
felted sheep’s wool, which is stretched under high pressure over the core. These are made
according to our specifications by the hammer maker with whom we closely cooperate.

If you are interested in the rest of the document please send me a private message with your email address and I can send it to you. It is really an enlightening narrative of voicing and it's importance and interdependency with other aspect of the piano.

Steve
Bösendorfer 170.

Last edited by Lakeviewsteve; 08/20/16 11:09 PM.

Bösendorfer 170
Re: Voicing questions [Re: Arghhh] #2564704 08/20/16 11:53 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 5,493
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
5000 Post Club Member
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 5,493
I think if you find a piano technician who understands and has experience lightening treble hammers which brings the tone up and the hammer noise down, and regulating the action to balance properly with the feel at the key; you will be much happier with your Estonia.

The inertia of the hammers becomes ever more significant important to the feel/sound/dynamic range/tone color from about C above middle C to the top note. Audition/interview technicians about their tone regulation experience. Very few are skilled at this work or even understand the physics and ergonometrics of what is going on.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: Voicing questions [Re: Arghhh] #2565139 08/22/16 08:45 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
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Dave B Offline
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Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,634
Estonia's have an excellent dynamic range that lends well to accompanying (collaborating). They require some touch-up regulation and voicing over the first 2-3 yrs. Otherwise they are very well accepted and enjoyed.


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
Re: Voicing questions [Re: Arghhh] #2565442 08/23/16 07:09 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,675
Arghhh Offline OP
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Ed, what types of questions (and answers?) would be good to ask the technician?

Sounds like you're fairly optimistic about the possible changes to the sound.

Last edited by Arghhh; 08/23/16 07:13 PM.

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