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Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? #2709503
01/28/18 04:18 PM
01/28/18 04:18 PM
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Jack Knuckle Offline OP
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I am a keen amateur pianist (and organist) to Grade 8 standard in the UK and am making preparations to buy a new "forever" grand piano. This will replace the upright that I learned on as a child and that my parents and grandparents before me learned on which is now well over a century old and for a long time has far more sentimental value than musical value. I haven't ordered anything yet as I still want to audition a few options but the one to beat from my shortlist so far is the Feurich 178. It fits my budget and the sound and touch are absolutely what I like to find in a piano. 180cm/6 foot seems to be my "sweet spot", anything less and I find the bass too weedy, any longer and it won't fit the room.

My music room was originally the dining room of a Victorian house which has had a wall knocked out straight through into the front living room which is a similar size, so the total room is now about 9m long by 3.5 m wide by 2.7m high with one half measuring 4.5m reserved for music making. It currently houses an upright piano and an organ. Floors are solid laminate. Picture below is taken with my back to the front half of the room, where originally the music room ended, and I am looking into the space where the new piano is to go:
[Linked Image]

I'm hoping kind folks here can advise me on piano layout as there are a few traps to consider. The corner cabinet can be moved but the organ can't go anywhere else. There is also a radiator which is normally on most of the time in winter otherwise the room can get quite cold and there are French windows (doors with glass) in one corner.

(1) With the piano diagonally facing the window it fits but the player's back will be against the radiator which would be uncomfortably hot in winter;
[Linked Image]

(2) With the piano right hand side against the far wall the bench could be stowed under the keyboard to allow better access to the French windows but the long edge would face into the room;
[Linked Image]

If I place the piano with the long left side along either wall, it would either
(3) partly overlap the windows, which risks sunlight bleaching the case over time
[Linked Image]

(4) or partly cover the radiator and risk being damaged by heat
[Linked Image]

(5) Or I could place the piano at 45 degrees facing the opposite way to option 1 but the lid would still point towards a wall.
[Linked Image]

Option 1 probably looks and sounds best, 2 is the best use of space, and option 5 may be the best compromise. What would you do if it was your music room?

Jack Spanner

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Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2709505
01/28/18 04:33 PM
01/28/18 04:33 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
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Georgia, USA
Sam S Offline

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Move the radiator where the upright piano is now, and place the new piano where the radiator is. I have no idea how expensive that might be or even if it is possible.

Sam

Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2709506
01/28/18 04:33 PM
01/28/18 04:33 PM
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Portland, OR, USA
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Osho Offline
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I am no expert by any means... but a few thoughts: I like Option 3 if you can manage direct sunlight somehow. It leaves more room to walk between piano and organ and also it will let the sound go into the next room via arch when the lid is open - hopefully will be better acoustically?

Osho


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Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Sam S] #2709510
01/28/18 04:51 PM
01/28/18 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Sam S
Move the radiator where the upright piano is now, and place the new piano where the radiator is. I have no idea how expensive that might be or even if it is possible.

Sam


You know, if this is a first floor, it might be doable. I'd look around the basement and, if it seems it might be practicable, ask for a quote. Seems like the ideal solution. Certainly wouldn't want the lid opening to a wall right next to it and the consensus is that proximity to the radiator is a bad idea.

Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2709511
01/28/18 04:57 PM
01/28/18 04:57 PM
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London
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David-G Offline
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Jack, welcome to the Forum. Can I ask what aspect the window faces (N/E/S/W) ?That could be relevant to the sunlight question.

Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2709512
01/28/18 05:00 PM
01/28/18 05:00 PM
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Melville Saskatchewan
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FrankCox Offline
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Is that a steam rad or hot water? I don't see any outlet pipe attached to it so I'm guessing steam?

You might want to consider taking it out and replacing it with an overhead radiator and possibly a ceiling fan to circulate the air. You don't want an overhead rad with a built-in fan, though -- those things are noisy and generally a terrible thing unless your main concern is fast recovery and nothing else matters. But ceiling fans can be very quiet if you get one with enough blade width to move air without needing much rotation speed.

I don't know much about steam radiators, though. With hot water you can pretty much plunk a radiator down anywhere you want, but steam works with gravity and there are more restrictions on how one can be connected and still work properly.

You can always build a bulkhead around any exposed pipes to make them look pretty afterward; just hunt down or make some moulding that matches the rest of the room.


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We got both kinds of music: Country and Western!
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Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: FrankCox] #2709514
01/28/18 05:05 PM
01/28/18 05:05 PM
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London
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David-G Offline
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I suspect the rad is hot water, which is pretty standard for central heating in the UK. Can I ask what you mean by an "overhead radiator"?

Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2709520
01/28/18 05:18 PM
01/28/18 05:18 PM
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Scotland
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Jack,

1,2,and definately three does not leave the 3ft space required to extract the action for piano regulation.

ian


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Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2709521
01/28/18 05:20 PM
01/28/18 05:20 PM
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Victoria, BC
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I think that (2) and (5) are probably the worst options for positioning the piano in this room. Given the size of the room, you may not often want to open the lid, but with (2) you could not even get to the side of the piano to raise the lid and in both (2) and (5) you would have the sound projecting immediately against the wall. If the lid were to be opened, even on half-stick, the sound should be projected into the room.

(1) is problematic not only for the reason that you state but also having the tail of the piano in the widow. This could not only eventually damage the finish (unless drapes were always drawn during sunshine, but could adversely affect the piano in other ways, with one portion of it subject to sun and heat while the rest remains in shadow.

(4) is also bad for the piano with the radiator being adjacent to the bass end of the keyboard and what effect direct heat from the radiator might have on that portion of the piano (tuning, and perhaps action as well(?).

None of these placements seems to be ideal or even satisfactory. I would not know what to do except, contrary to your wishes, to invest in a higher-grade upright in place of a grand.

Let's hope that others have some practical suggestions that will prove more helpful than mine.

Regards,


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Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Beemer] #2709522
01/28/18 05:21 PM
01/28/18 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Beemer
Jack,

1,2,and definately three does not leave the 3ft space required to extract the action for piano regulation.

ian


Well, yeah, but assuming it has casters...

Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: tend to rush] #2709524
01/28/18 05:25 PM
01/28/18 05:25 PM
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Victoria, BC
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Originally Posted by tend to rush
Originally Posted by Beemer
Jack,

1,2,and definately three does not leave the 3ft space required to extract the action for piano regulation.

ian


Well, yeah, but assuming it has casters...


Moving a piano of that weight on casters on a laminate floor? I would think not. The casters will definitely need caster cups to protect the floor and unless one can get felt-bottomed caster cups, the piano won't be easily moved when sitting on caster cups.

Regards,


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Estonia 190
Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2709529
01/28/18 05:43 PM
01/28/18 05:43 PM
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Melville Saskatchewan
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FrankCox Offline
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An overhead radiator is just a radiator mounted high on the wall near the ceiling. Any old radiator will work for that, but they actually make radiators that look like a crown moulding specifically for that purpose if you want to be fancy.

Overhead radiators aren't particularly common (other than the shop-style fast recovery rads that you see in workshops and garages) but they do exist and if you're prepared to deal with the air circulation issue by installing a fan the result isn't that much different than installing a rad near the floor.


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We got both kinds of music: Country and Western!
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Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2709546
01/28/18 06:08 PM
01/28/18 06:08 PM
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London
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David-G Offline
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I would say (2) is out because you cannot get into the corner. (4) is out because the piano is too near the radiator (unless you move the radiator, perhaps to the wall between the garden door and the organ?). (5) is out because the lid angles the sound the wrong way, as Bruce points out. So that leaves (1) and (3), which are effectively variants of each other. Both of these options have two significant problems - the effect of the sun, and Beemer's point about leaving room to withdraw the action.

The sun issue might be solvable by installing an anti-UV film on the windows. I don't have personal experience of this, but you can easily find possibilities with a quick internet search. Alternatively, just draw the curtains when the sun is shining on the piano. If this makes the room too dark, you could replace the curtains, or install an inner curtain, with a material which diffuses the sunlight without blocking it altogether.

Re withdrawing the action, I wonder if Beemer's three feet is a little pessimistic? My own piano is in the corner (similar to position (3)), and there is an obstacle only 26" from the front of the piano. But there is no problem in withdrawing the action. Perhaps you should contact Feurich, explain your predicament, and ask what is the absolute minimum distance between the front of the piano and a wall which would allow the action to be withdrawn.

Do you use the door to the garden frequently? If so, perhaps (1) would make access to the door a bit awkward. I think (1) might look best, but (3) might be more practical. If you plump for (1) but are worried about your back getting hot from the radiator in winter, you could always keep a towel or a shawl handy to drape over the radiator while you are playing.


Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2709556
01/28/18 06:24 PM
01/28/18 06:24 PM
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Phoenix, Arizona
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Jack - Quite frankly, none of the options you presented are ideal - but option 3 seems the closest to being viable (as long as you either keep the drapes closed, or keep a cover on the piano itself when its not in use to avoid sun damage to the case). Would it be possible to repurpose any of the other spaces in your home to accommodate the six foot grand? Perhaps a section of the current music room can be dedicated to another use when you aren't playing the organ. If this is the only room in your house that can accommodate the piano, perhaps the best solution would be to purchase a new 52" upright to replace the current family heirloom. It would certainly be a major step up for you.


Last edited by Carey; 01/28/18 06:48 PM.

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Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2709561
01/28/18 06:46 PM
01/28/18 06:46 PM
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Can you turn off the radiator and get and portable electric heater? I live in NYC and never have heat on (or a portable heater) in the room where I have the piano, but I think the building I live in has very thick double windows.

Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2709627
01/28/18 11:01 PM
01/28/18 11:01 PM
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Phoenix, Arizona
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Jack - I would be very interested in any info you could share about the organ in your music studio. smile

Last edited by Carey; 01/28/18 11:03 PM.

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Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Carey] #2709654
01/29/18 12:46 AM
01/29/18 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Carey
Jack - I would be very interested in any info you could share about the organ in your music studio. smile


Yes, do you have pipes tucked away all over the house (given the number of stops just on the left)? Or do you have a combination of display or speaking pipes and electronics?

I agree with Carey that a fine upright might be more satisfactory in such a room.


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Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2709740
01/29/18 10:28 AM
01/29/18 10:28 AM
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Jack Knuckle Offline OP
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Might try a few uprights to see how they measure up to the Feurich but my wife's suggestion of a new grand as a fiftieth birthday present struck me as not being something one could reasonably turn down. The window does have curtains and faces towards the south west so doesn't get a lot of direct sunlight except at the end of the day but it would be a nuisance to have to keep the curtains permanently drawn. The radiator is in a hot water circulation system and position is pretty much fixed as I don't want to have to take up all the floorboards and fit a new floor to move it a few feet. Positions 1 and 3 seem the best compromise - if in practice the curtains conceal the bass end the long end along the back wall and the piano doesn't have to come too far forward for me to be in a comfortable position with the stool against the wall then option 3 might be best, otherwise I guess it will be option 1 in summer and option 3 in winter!

Regards, Jack

Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2709753
01/29/18 10:58 AM
01/29/18 10:58 AM
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There may be some coating that you can put on the glass that lets you see out but blocks most of the sunlight. Otherwise, a nice cover would protect the finish.

Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2709761
01/29/18 11:23 AM
01/29/18 11:23 AM
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The organ is the elephant in this room. Could it go in the corner where the little diagonal cabinet is, without interfering with the window? If not, perhaps against the other wall, with the radiator moved? The piano then goes where the organ was, bass side against the wall.


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