Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.5 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
(ad)
Modern Piano Moving
Modern Piano Moving
(ad)
Virtual Sheet Music
Download Sheet Music Instantly
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Sheet Music...
(125ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Piano Buyer Guide
Piano Buyer Spring 2017
(ad)
Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restorations and sales
Who's Online Now
79 registered members (Almaviva, 36251, ando, AlanB, accordeur, 22 invisible), 1,830 guests, and 13 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

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

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
#2628308 - 03/30/17 10:58 AM Piano Lid Levels While Accompanying  
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 165
iObsessed Offline
Full Member
iObsessed  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 165
US
When pianists are accompanying singers or other instruments, I have noticed that they always have the lid at half. How much difference does a fully open lid affect such performances? Is it that easy for the piano to overpower and drown out what it's accompanying?

(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#2628323 - 03/30/17 11:30 AM Re: Piano Lid Levels While Accompanying [Re: iObsessed]  
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 21,365
Mark_C Online content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Mark_C  Online Content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 21,365
New York
Originally Posted by iObsessed
When pianists are accompanying singers or other instruments, I have noticed that they always have the lid at half. How much difference does a fully open lid affect such performances? Is it that easy for the piano to overpower and drown out what it's accompanying?

Yes. smile

And, y'know, it's also easy to overpower and drown out the others with a half-open lid too. Or with it fully down. It's a big issue no matter what. But it's a harder issue with the lid fully open.

I think there's also another thing about it: Since it's so customary to have it only half-open for accompanying, I think it would look bad to have it fully open, even if you made it work musically. It would look.....let's see, what are the words....self-centered, narcissistic, arrogant....it would look like we're thinking of ourselves more than the ensemble.

Nevertheless smile sometimes they violate it, probably especially in the very large spaces like Carnegie Hall:


#2628346 - 03/30/17 12:38 PM Re: Piano Lid Levels While Accompanying [Re: iObsessed]  
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 63
Minna Offline
Full Member
Minna  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 63
I think it also depends on the size (power) of the piano. Recently I have been to a recital mixed with voice and piano performances and the piano is 9 feet. During the voice performance the accompanist took the effort to close the lid completely, while in piano performances the lid was fully open. But even with the lid down the piano still sounded overpowering the singer.


Estonia L210
#2628417 - 03/30/17 04:23 PM Re: Piano Lid Levels While Accompanying [Re: Minna]  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 20,389
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
BruceD  Offline

Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 20,389
Victoria, BC
Originally Posted by Minna
I think it also depends on the size (power) of the piano.[...]


... and the power or amount of projection of the voice or instrument being accompanied. Ideally, it should be a balance.

Does it not also depend upon whether or not the piano is an accompanying instrument or whether it is an equal partner in a duo, such as an (instrument)-piano sonata?

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
(ad ) MusicNotes.com
sheet music search
#2628429 - 03/30/17 04:49 PM Re: Piano Lid Levels While Accompanying [Re: iObsessed]  
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 2,168
WhoDwaldi Offline
2000 Post Club Member
WhoDwaldi  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2008
Posts: 2,168
SE USA
Singers are taught to "stand in the curve" so that their accompanists can observe breathing. It feels safer to me for the lid to be fully down when they stand there. Some of them like to grip the corner of the lid folded back (to the point that their knuckles turn white).

I remember Bernstein accompanying on TV years ago for opera stars with the lid fully open, completely overpowering them both in piano volume and interpretation (which was exhilarating for everbody but the singer). grin


WhoDwaldi
Howard (by Kawai) 5' 10"
#2628668 - 03/31/17 11:50 AM Re: Piano Lid Levels While Accompanying [Re: Mark_C]  
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 165
iObsessed Offline
Full Member
iObsessed  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 165
US
Originally Posted by Mark_C
I think there's also another thing about it: Since it's so customary to have it only half-open for accompanying, I think it would look bad to have it fully open, even if you made it work musically. It would look.....let's see, what are the words....self-centered, narcissistic, arrogant....it would look like we're thinking of ourselves more than the ensemble.


Good take on this... But I think lid being half open doesn't have to be a norm.

#2628775 - 03/31/17 02:34 PM Re: Piano Lid Levels While Accompanying [Re: iObsessed]  
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 520
SonatainfSharp Offline
500 Post Club Member
SonatainfSharp  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 520
Minneapolis
Depends on the piano and the players. When I accompany students and not-quite-pros, the lid is half-open as people expect, pretty much on any piano. But I have played with pros who can handle collaboration with an open concert piano, no problem.

I once took part in a master class on a 9-foot grand, and we had the lid half-open while playing with a violinist. The clinician stopped us, opened the piano all the way, and told the violinist to learn how to play. She said her instrument wouldn't let her play louder without sounding crude, so the clinician (a violinist) took her instrument and bow, and just about doubled the volume...without it sounding crude.

The rest of the semester, we all played with the piano lid open during the instrumentalists' juries...I don't think anyone heard the instrumentalists the rest of that semester, ha!


I do music stuffs
Charles Walter 1500 in semi-polish ebony [2017]
#2628789 - 03/31/17 02:52 PM Re: Piano Lid Levels While Accompanying [Re: iObsessed]  
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 4,131
JohnSprung Offline
4000 Post Club Member
JohnSprung  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 4,131
Reseda, California

The other thing that can be done is to take the lid off and store it backstage. Has anyone worked that way?



-- J.S.

[Linked Image] [Linked Image]

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690
#2628801 - 03/31/17 03:12 PM Re: Piano Lid Levels While Accompanying [Re: iObsessed]  
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 2,168
WhoDwaldi Offline
2000 Post Club Member
WhoDwaldi  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2008
Posts: 2,168
SE USA
There is "cracked open," as for Juan Diego Florez's recital, here. (And, as I observed above, he's not only one of those corner grippers, but he does some slightly unsafe antics around 9:25. 😀 )

[video:youtube]x5aLNi632MY[/video]



WhoDwaldi
Howard (by Kawai) 5' 10"
#2628898 - 03/31/17 08:12 PM Re: Piano Lid Levels While Accompanying [Re: SonatainfSharp]  
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 165
iObsessed Offline
Full Member
iObsessed  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 165
US
Originally Posted by JohnSprung

The other thing that can be done is to take the lid off and store it backstage. Has anyone worked that way?



Isn't that more for recording studios of piano-only works? That would make it even louder.

Originally Posted by SonatainfSharp

I once took part in a master class on a 9-foot grand, and we had the lid half-open while playing with a violinist. The clinician stopped us, opened the piano all the way, and told the violinist to learn how to play. She said her instrument wouldn't let her play louder without sounding crude, so the clinician (a violinist) took her instrument and bow, and just about doubled the volume...without it sounding crude.

The rest of the semester, we all played with the piano lid open during the instrumentalists' juries...I don't think anyone heard the instrumentalists the rest of that semester, ha!


Damn, that is impressive. If that's the case, then maybe let the pianist open the lid full in the presence of instrumentalists, but not necessarily singers.

#2628923 - 03/31/17 10:22 PM Re: Piano Lid Levels While Accompanying [Re: iObsessed]  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 20,389
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
BruceD  Offline

Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 20,389
Victoria, BC
Originally Posted by iObsessed
Originally Posted by JohnSprung

The other thing that can be done is to take the lid off and store it backstage. Has anyone worked that way?



Isn't that more for recording studios of piano-only works? That would make it even louder.


I'm not sure that it would be louder, at least not to the audience. With a grand piano's lid fully open the sound is directed towards the audience. With the lid completely off, the sound is more dispersed, with less focused direction to the sound.

Right? Or am I wrong?

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
#2628969 - 04/01/17 07:08 AM Re: Piano Lid Levels While Accompanying [Re: iObsessed]  
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 48
P3T3R Offline
Full Member
P3T3R  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 48
Western New York State, USA
When I was in college, I played for many singers. The voice studios generally had small grands kept closed, suitable gor a small space.

The juries and performance venues all had at least 7 foot grands. The lids stayed down for singers unless they were especially powerful (although one voice teacher insisted on opening the piano more for orchestral reductions).

Accompanying brass players let us open the lid all the way. Winds were generally on the short stick. Strings as well.

Taking the lid off was mostly reserved for 2 piano music, with the lid coming off the instrument in the front that was "backwards." We also made sure that the louder instrument went lidless, because the sound reflected better on the lidded piano.

It really all comes down to doing whatever is needed to achieve the proper balance. When I sign at church, I usually ask the pianist to leave the lid up, but if the hammers were harder, I would put it down. As an accompanist, I prefer to leave the lid up and play quieter, even to the point of thinning the chords. I just don't like the sound of a closed concert grand.


Peter
1949 Baldwin M
currently working on the Chopin Ballades,
Brahms op. 10 Ballades and op.119 Klavierstucke,
Mendelssohn Songs Without Words and E minor Prelude and Fugue.
#2629026 - 04/01/17 11:27 AM Re: Piano Lid Levels While Accompanying [Re: iObsessed]  
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 293
DiarmuidD Offline
Full Member
DiarmuidD  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 293
In my experience fully open can project too much sound when accompanying. In fact I was at a violin concert recently where this was clearly an issue. It was a Steinway D with a fully open lid and everyone I talked to had the same impression. The piano was a bit overwhelming. I think the pianist or the violinist realised this though as in later pieces the pianist played more gently and they achieved a better balance, but they didn't change the lid position.

I know some people feel the lid should be fully open at all times and the pianist should adjust his playing accordingly as they think the shorter lid or indeed the lid closed doesn't just reduce projection, it changes the character of the instrument by muffling the sound somewhat. A bit of a purists stance that, I personally don't mind a half or even closed lid.

#2629029 - 04/01/17 11:39 AM Re: Piano Lid Levels While Accompanying [Re: DiarmuidD]  
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 9,239
bennevis Offline
9000 Post Club Member
bennevis  Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 9,239
At a recent concert I attended (which I described in another post) - the only one I've attended in which a song recital was followed by chamber music in the same concert, using the same piano (though played by different pianists) - the lid was on short stick for the songs, but then put on full stick for the piano trios.

The (seven-foot grand) piano in both capacities sounded just right in that medium-sized hall. The singer could be heard even when the piano was being banged (as per the composer's instructions wink ), while in the trios, because the string players were in front of the piano, the balance was also spot-on.

At least, from where I was sitting, in the front row......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#2629061 - 04/01/17 01:23 PM Re: Piano Lid Levels While Accompanying [Re: iObsessed]  
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 2,168
WhoDwaldi Offline
2000 Post Club Member
WhoDwaldi  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2008
Posts: 2,168
SE USA
There is a story that Rubinstein was about to play a trio somewhere "out in the boonies" and was asked what piano he preferred. Not wishing to impose on the organizers, he mumbled that he didn't care, as long as there was a short stick.

To his surprise, the provided piano ended up being a 5' George Steck. ha


WhoDwaldi
Howard (by Kawai) 5' 10"
#2654688 - 06/18/17 08:32 PM Re: Piano Lid Levels While Accompanying [Re: iObsessed]  
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,615
David-G Offline
1000 Post Club Member
David-G  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,615
London
For a song recital of music from the classical or early romantic era, this problem is solved if a period instrument is used. This was brought home to me recently when I attended a recital by Dame Emma Kirkby of Haydn English songs from the 1790s, accompanied on a Longman and Broderip grand piano of 1795 (Haydn's own piano in fact). The lid was fully open, and the balance between piano and singer was perfect.

#2654852 - 06/19/17 01:57 PM Re: Piano Lid Levels While Accompanying [Re: Mark_C]  
Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,270
SiFi Offline
1000 Post Club Member
SiFi  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,270
Washington, DC
Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by iObsessed
When pianists are accompanying singers or other instruments, I have noticed that they always have the lid at half. How much difference does a fully open lid affect such performances? Is it that easy for the piano to overpower and drown out what it's accompanying?

Yes. smile

And, y'know, it's also easy to overpower and drown out the others with a half-open lid too. Or with it fully down. It's a big issue no matter what. But it's a harder issue with the lid fully open.

I think there's also another thing about it: Since it's so customary to have it only half-open for accompanying, I think it would look bad to have it fully open, even if you made it work musically. It would look.....let's see, what are the words....self-centered, narcissistic, arrogant....it would look like we're thinking of ourselves more than the ensemble.

Nevertheless smile sometimes they violate it, probably especially in the very large spaces like Carnegie Hall:

May I politely disagree with all of this? Except for the last part, which is mostly just a statement of fact. BTW, Yuja did exactly the same thing when I heard her live with Kavakos at Strathmore and there was no perceptible imbalance whatsoever.

The thing I mostly disagree with is the use of the word "accompany". One of the pieces that Yuja and Leonidas played in their Strathmore recital was the Debussy Sonate pour violon et piano. The title makes it clear that the piano is not "accompanying" the violin; it is an equal partner in a duo. But it is the music itself that that confirms how the composer envisaged performance of the piece. Putting the lid of a grand piano down dampens not only the volume (to a rather limited degree) but also, and much more significantly, the colors and overtones of the instrument, which, with the Debussy sonata is a travesty of almost criminal proportions. It also restricts the range of dynamics available to the performer.

Pianists should be able to play quietly -- all the way down to a barely audible pianississimo -- with the lid up, down, halfway, or without a lid at all. I don't know where the idea of putting the lid down for chamber music came from, but it is completely illogical. It's like saying that all the instruments in the orchestra should play with mutes for a violin concerto. After all, how can a single violin be expected to compete with a full orchestra, including perhaps twenty or thirty other violins playing together? I guess Wagner must have been off his rocker when he scored the denouement of Gotterdamerung or Tristan for a full Romantic orchestra, often playing fortissimo, and just one lonely soprano.

The simple fact is that decent composers know how to write music in such a way that the balance, or performance feasibility if you like, is a built-in feature of the scoring. The performers just need to play and/or sing it intelligently as written. I'm not saying that a piano fortissimo in a duo, trio, song (in the proper sense!), or whatever should sound at the same decibel level as in a solo piece (or "song"). Obviously the approach to chamber music should be different from when you're playing alone. But making a pianist restrict their instrument's range of dynamics, color, and expressiveness because allowing them do otherwise might make them seem arrogant or narcissistic strikes me as, well, overtly discriminatory! Pianists are musicians too! I know several professional pianists who absolutely refuse to play with the lid on short stick for collaborative performances. As one of them put it to me, "It's a total deal-breaker." I think that's right.

Of course, I wouldn't be quite so hard-nosed in a case where you have a 6-year-old playing an arrangement of Minuet in G on a half-size violin with a pianist playing on a NY Steinway D. But I don't think that's what we're really talking about.

PS, I just noticed that I've repeated in a long-winded way what DiarmuidD said more succinctly in an earlier post. Just wanted to acknowledge that he or she said it first.

Last edited by SiFi; 06/19/17 02:05 PM. Reason: Add PS

SRF
#2654935 - 06/19/17 07:38 PM Re: Piano Lid Levels While Accompanying [Re: BruceD]  
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 15,853
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Morodiene  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 15,853
Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by Minna
I think it also depends on the size (power) of the piano.[...]


... and the power or amount of projection of the voice or instrument being accompanied. Ideally, it should be a balance.

Does it not also depend upon whether or not the piano is an accompanying instrument or whether it is an equal partner in a duo, such as an (instrument)-piano sonata?

Regards,

I agree regarding accompanying singers. Since I sing opera and I have a large voice, if the lid is half-down (or all down) and/or the accompanist insists on using the soft pedal, then it doesn't offer enough to support operatic repertoire. For Art song, maybe I could see half-stick or short-stick, but still, if the voice is large and projecting, then the pianist can feel free to do so as well. Most of the music is written in such a way that it won't interfere with what the singer is doing if they are mature and well-trained.

For younger singers, use of lid down, half-stick, and/or soft pedal may be necessary. I teach on my 9' Petrof, and all of my students, regardless of age, learn to sing along with the loud piano. I still listen when I play, of course and adjust as needed.

FWIW, when a person is singing, there's so much ringing going on in their head that at times one can be unable to hear the piano on top of it all. So a louder piano can really be helpful. But again, you have to as the pianist assess the ability and volume of the singer.

Last edited by Morodiene; 06/19/17 07:40 PM.

private piano/voice teacher FT

[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
#2654961 - 06/19/17 09:14 PM Re: Piano Lid Levels While Accompanying [Re: Morodiene]  
Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,270
SiFi Offline
1000 Post Club Member
SiFi  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,270
Washington, DC
Originally Posted by Morodiene
Since I sing opera and I have a large voice, if the lid is half-down (or all down) and/or the accompanist insists on using the soft pedal, then it doesn't offer enough to support operatic repertoire. For Art song, maybe I could see half-stick or short-stick, but still, if the voice is large and projecting, then the pianist can feel free to do so as well. Most of the music is written in such a way that it won't interfere with what the singer is doing if they are mature and well-trained.

For younger singers, use of lid down, half-stick, and/or soft pedal may be necessary. I teach on my 9' Petrof, and all of my students, regardless of age, learn to sing along with the loud piano. I still listen when I play, of course and adjust as needed.

FWIW, when a person is singing, there's so much ringing going on in their head that at times one can be unable to hear the piano on top of it all. So a louder piano can really be helpful. But again, you have to as the pianist assess the ability and volume of the singer.

Fascinating opinions from a singer's perspective. Thank you for sharing these observations!


SRF

Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

Piano Acc. & Gift Items in
Piano World's Online Store
In PianoSupplies.com ,(a division of Piano World) our online store for piano and music gifts and accessories, party goods, tuning equipment, piano moving equipment, benches, lamps Caster Cups and more.


Free Shipping on Jansen Artist Piano Benches
(ad)
Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
ad
Pierce Piano Atlas


(ad)
Pianoteq
Grotrian Concert
Royal
for Pianoteq out now
What's Hot!!
Why Do You Play The Piano?
-------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
-------------------
Piano Classified Ads
New Topics - Multiple Forums
To Shake up the Digital Piano scene?
by peterws. 06/22/17 06:08 PM
HELP: Lirika String Measurements
by Lirika. 06/22/17 05:01 PM
Chopin Revolutionary Etude - Tempo?
by hag01. 06/22/17 02:25 PM
(ad)
Sheet Music Plus
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(ad)
Accu-Tuner
Sanderson Accu-Tuner
Forum Statistics
Forums44
Topics180,396
Posts2,638,306
Members88,153
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Check It Out!
There's a lot more to Piano World than just the forums.
Check It Out!
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 - 2017 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0