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Maximum size of grand piano to be used in 11 x 11 room #2602277
01/08/17 08:04 PM
01/08/17 08:04 PM
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Almaviva Offline OP
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My new condominium has a spare room that I will use as a music room. The room is 11' x 11', with an 8' ceiling. The condo was built in 1962, so the walls and ceiling are either sheet rock or plaster. The (ground-level) floor is covered with wall-to-wall carpet. (There is probably concrete under the carpeting, but I can't be sure.) There is one window in the room, a conventional bedroom-style window covered by blinds. The room has a conventional door that opens onto a very short corridor; the 18' x 14' living room is only a few feet away.

There are no furniture or wall hangings in it presently; any furnishings I get will be dependent upon the size of piano I get, and how the piano sounds in that room.

I will probably get a digital piano so that I can practice while wearing headphones so as not to disturb the neighbors, record my playing, fiddle with other digital gadgets, etc. The digital piano can be put anywhere in my living quarters - bedroom, living room, music room, whatever.

However, I will also be getting an acoustic grand piano. I realize that a piano can overpower a room if it is too large. What is the longest grand that will fit into that room and still sound decent? (Remember to allow 3' length for the pianist to fit.)

Your advice and comments would be appreciated.

Last edited by Almaviva; 01/08/17 08:19 PM.
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Re: Maximum size of grand piano to be used in 11 x 11 room [Re: Almaviva] #2602279
01/08/17 08:06 PM
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Probably 9 feet, fitted in diagonally.


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Re: Maximum size of grand piano to be used in 11 x 11 room [Re: Almaviva] #2602288
01/08/17 08:48 PM
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Just about any size grand would be too loud for a room that small. grin You'd probably be fine with something 6 feet or less - and hopefully you'll be able to move it into a larger space in the future.


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Re: Maximum size of grand piano to be used in 11 x 11 room [Re: BDB] #2602295
01/08/17 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
Probably 9 feet, fitted in diagonally.


Yes, but wouldn't a concert grand blow the windows out of a room that small?

Please remember that an 18' x 14' living room is practically on the other side of the doorway of this 11' x 11" music room.

Re: Maximum size of grand piano to be used in 11 x 11 room [Re: Almaviva] #2602297
01/08/17 09:22 PM
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I'm inclined to agree with Carey that almost any grand would be too big for a room that size and a really small "baby" grand (under 5 ft.) has too much in the way of structural compromise to be a satisfactory musical instrument.

You will have to "pad" the room with as much sound-absorbing materials as possible (draperies, carpeting, upholstered furniture - where there is room). While it is true that a piano can be "voiced" down by a good technician, with use the tone will become brighter and I would think that, eventually, any grand's sound might not be pleasant except for very short stretches of time.

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Re: Maximum size of grand piano to be used in 11 x 11 room [Re: Almaviva] #2602312
01/08/17 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Almaviva
Originally Posted by BDB
Probably 9 feet, fitted in diagonally.


Yes, but wouldn't a concert grand blow the windows out of a room that small?

Please remember that an 18' x 14' living room is practically on the other side of the doorway of this 11' x 11" music room.


Were you planning on packing it with explosives?


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Re: Maximum size of grand piano to be used in 11 x 11 room [Re: Almaviva] #2602328
01/08/17 11:33 PM
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I don't understand why a piano would be too loud for a room. If it is properly regulated and voiced it should be capable of playing at a low dynamic level. All that is necessary is for the pianist having the skill set to pull it off.

That being said it will need to have the room properly "voiced" with appropriate sound absorbing materials/ furniture. But that would be true of any size piano in that small of a room.

Small pianos are capable of almost as much decibel level as large pianos. In the treble there is no real difference between the two as far as sound output. It's just the quality of the tone in the lower register of the piano that will differ. Bigger is better in most cases if the piano is well regulated, all things being equally well designed. (Action design, proper hammers, etc.)

On a practical level it will be harder to service the action on anything larger than seven feet as it will be difficult to pull the action and have room to maneuver. This would be a larger issue, from my perspective, than the piano being so big as to overpower the room.


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Re: Maximum size of grand piano to be used in 11 x 11 room [Re: Almaviva] #2602330
01/08/17 11:41 PM
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When I was younger, I remember practicing at the nearby university on a 7' something Kawai in a room about 20 x 20' and thought my ears were bleeding after 20 minutes - even with a soft touch. Simply could not practice there for longer than that, and even though the piano sound was I'm sure much better than the worn out uprights in the smaller practice rooms, it sounded totally distorted so I preferred to practice on the uprights where the volume level was much more bearable.

I have a 5'4' baby grand in a 15 x 18' room and find the volume OK with the lid up, but I regulated the action and hammers so that the instrument can play much softer than before. So the good news is it's possible to make a grand piano less loud, if you really can't find a bigger room for it.

Re: Maximum size of grand piano to be used in 11 x 11 room [Re: BDB] #2602362
01/09/17 04:08 AM
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Originally Posted by BDB
Probably 9 feet, fitted in diagonally.


Yup.... Seen that in a university practice room.

I once encountered a 9 ft. Yamaha in a theater lobby so dead that it wouldn't be loud enough for that room. Perhaps the crown was gone. But this was for a memorial service, crawling under the piano with a string wouldn't have been appropriate.


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Re: Maximum size of grand piano to be used in 11 x 11 room [Re: Dale Fox] #2602373
01/09/17 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Dale Fox
I don't understand why a piano would be too loud for a room. If it is properly regulated and voiced it should be capable of playing at a low dynamic level.

I agree. Teaching studios, practice rooms, and recording studios are all examples of sometimes large pianos in a very small room. It can work fine.
Proper voicing on good hammers is essential. Room acoustical treatment might also be beneficial, but would be true for all piano sizes.

I think the physical limitations make 7' or smaller best.


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Re: Maximum size of grand piano to be used in 11 x 11 room [Re: musicpassion] #2602379
01/09/17 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by musicpassion
Proper voicing on good hammers is essential.


+1. I've played a little console upright with hammers so hard that it was louder and harder to control than many concert grands.



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Re: Maximum size of grand piano to be used in 11 x 11 room [Re: Almaviva] #2602421
01/09/17 10:30 AM
01/09/17 10:30 AM
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Generally speaking though, grands can have more than double the produced volume levels of the average upright - most uprights not topping 95 and most grands well capable of doing 105-110 and more - every 10db is a doubling of volume

Room treatment would be very beneficial, before starting on voicing the grand for the space.
A nice thick rug on the floor, some wall hung rugs and perhaps a type of ceiling tile that absorbs sound as well could be the most cost effective and aesthetically pleasing thing to do.

Last edited by Goss; 01/09/17 10:32 AM.

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Re: Maximum size of grand piano to be used in 11 x 11 room [Re: Almaviva] #2602438
01/09/17 11:43 AM
01/09/17 11:43 AM
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I don't know that I would be holding up practice rooms and teaching cubbys as the gold standard.

A room, so cozy and intime, is better-suited for a television set and a love seat. A seven-foot grand--- any of the better marques would be acceptable, as long as you love it--- would project nicely into the larger room. It is also a major plus for the decor of such a room; the admiration of visitors will have a toning effect on the atmosphere.

You may have the TV on a wheeled cart, which can be moved into the living room for occasions like the Superbowl, etc., when people might be dropping in. Or better yet, close up the house and drop in on someone else's party.

The 11 x 11 would also make a suitable bedroom for a child, up to the later teens.

The piano itself is just the beginning, when it comes to floor space and electric service. You will need shelves for scores, suitable lighting, recording and hi-fi gear [mics, speakers, stands, cabling--- trust me, it takes room]. And once you figure out how helpful a DP is, it also takes space, and you may well be wanting room for a computer that serves the music room. DP plus computer [and a good printer] will make it very attractive for a young music student. And, there goes more shelf space for computer programs and the big, fat manuals that you will be printing out on your own [software guys can't bother with it these days]. And digital media will be keeping them company on the shelves.

Or, you may be wanting to hold rehearsals for the church choir, so chairs will be necessary.

If all that doesn't move you, then try to find out the makers and models of the new, smaller grands that Del Fandrich has designed. He has significantly improved the breed.


Clef

Re: Maximum size of grand piano to be used in 11 x 11 room [Re: Almaviva] #2602441
01/09/17 11:51 AM
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Might it be possible to break out the wall of this small room, or even have a wide set of sliding or French doors?


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Re: Maximum size of grand piano to be used in 11 x 11 room [Re: Almaviva] #2602452
01/09/17 12:28 PM
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My impression is most/all of those saying a room this small is OK for a grand are really talking about small rooms that open up into other rooms through openings far larger than a normal width door. So, in effect, the rooms they are considering are much larger than an 11x11 enclosed bedroom even though the "dimensions of the room" may be small.

I am writing this in my approximately 11x13 bedroom with a single door opening and cannot imagine a grand, or even a vertical, working well in such a small and enclosed space. But this is just how I imagine a grand would sound in my bedroom so I could be wrong.

Does anyone here actually have experience with a grand in a fully enclosed room(except for a door)room about 11x11?

I don't understand those who say it's mostly just a question of having the technique to play softly enough(assuming one has a well regulated piano of reasonable quality). There is a limit to how slowly one can depress the keys and get any sound out of piano.

If the size of the room requires one to depress the keys more slowly than one could in a larger space to avoid too loud a sound, then at a certain point one reaches that limit where no sound will be produced. To put it another way, if a one is trying to play at an mp dynamic in a very small room but this requires depressing the key at a speed that one would use to play pp in a larger room, how will one play pp in such a small space?

If there really is no problem of pianos being too loud for a room, why has Dell Fandrich tried to specifically design pianos that he feels are more suitable for a home environment, i.e. with less volume, than most grands?

Last edited by pianoloverus; 01/09/17 12:30 PM.
Re: Maximum size of grand piano to be used in 11 x 11 room [Re: pianoloverus] #2602517
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus

Does anyone here actually have experience with a grand in a fully enclosed room(except for a door)room about 11x11?


Sure -- visit the practice rooms of pretty much any university.

As Jeff says, they're far from the ideal listening environment. But that won't do you any permanent harm.



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Re: Maximum size of grand piano to be used in 11 x 11 room [Re: JohnSprung] #2602522
01/09/17 04:33 PM
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Not only should you visit the practice rooms with large pianos, compare them with the ones with small pianos. There is not that much difference. Then imagine someone practicing in the same room with a trumpet or other wind instrument along with it. Come to think of it, what if they are practicing with a tuba, or bassoon? Would you expect it to be worse just because the instrument is larger?

I once spent an hour or so working in a piano storage room, all hard concrete, with Valentina Lisitsa practicing on a Steinway D. We both survived.


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Re: Maximum size of grand piano to be used in 11 x 11 room [Re: BDB] #2602537
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Originally Posted by BDB
Not only should you visit the practice rooms with large pianos, compare them with the ones with small pianos. There is not that much difference. Then imagine someone practicing in the same room with a trumpet or other wind instrument along with it. Come to think of it, what if they are practicing with a tuba, or bassoon? Would you expect it to be worse just because the instrument is larger?

I once spent an hour or so working in a piano storage room, all hard concrete, with Valentina Lisitsa practicing on a Steinway D. We both survived.
My comment was along the lines that no piano would work well in an 11x11 fully enclosed room, not that small pianos are softer than longer ones.

Re: Maximum size of grand piano to be used in 11 x 11 room [Re: Almaviva] #2602538
01/09/17 05:24 PM
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I have a 5 foot 4 inch baby grand (Hailun 161) in a 13 by 17 foot room with a 9 foot ceiling. The room has one standard bedroom door for an entrance (that opens into a hallway). I am very pleased with the resulting volume and tone. There is a bookcase and computer desk (and chair) in the room as well (and carpeted floor). I can play with the Lid full open, partially open, or closed with no problems. It has become a great practice room for me wile others are in the living room watching T.V, etc.

Re: Maximum size of grand piano to be used in 11 x 11 room [Re: JohnSprung] #2602541
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by pianoloverus

Does anyone here actually have experience with a grand in a fully enclosed room(except for a door)room about 11x11?


Sure -- visit the practice rooms of pretty much any university.

As Jeff says, they're far from the ideal listening environment. But that won't do you any permanent harm.
I don't think not causing permanent harm or only being far from ideal are good criteria for a home piano.

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