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Enough Space for Grand Piano? #2778108
11/04/18 03:05 PM
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Currently considering purchase of a grand (~6') to replace my aging upright.

The room it will go into is approx. 21'x11'. with a fairly low celing (7.5'). for those with a Metric persuasion, that is roughly 6.5m X 3.4m X 2.2M.

The room has 2 double doors which open into the rest of the house - but I may close the doors often (I have several small children). There are also large Bay windows which expand the room slightly.

My musical style is diploma-level classical - mostly romantics, and some own compositions : I occasionally host impromptu concerts at home - and my playing has been in the past described as "too loud".....

Question : is the room too small?

Last edited by almo82; 11/04/18 03:06 PM.
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Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2778111
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I have a 7 foot grand in about the same room dimensions.... and always play on full stick. The room has hard floors and not much to soften the sound. I was also a little concerned about the room, so I bought a large rug with a thick pad to go under the piano. The sound is great! (I certainly don’t know if I really needed the rug!)

Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2778116
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I have come across several concert-level pianists' original instruments. None of them were decent grand pianos, and one was a spinet. Talent will come out no matter what they are playing. I suspect that the biggest improvement in their technique would come from better maintenance, not from going from a vertical to a grand.


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Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2778117
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Interesting : I have solid wood flooring, and It is my intent to place a thick Carpet directly underneath the piano - although I was planning to do this for stylistic, not accoustic reasons.

Does the Rug make a difference?

Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2778125
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Originally Posted by almo82
Interesting : I have solid wood flooring, and It is my intent to place a thick Carpet directly underneath the piano - although I was planning to do this for stylistic, not accoustic reasons.

Does the Rug make a difference?


I have no idea if I needed the rug, as this is my first piano in this space. I just knew I had hard floors and not much furniture, so I made the decision before the piano was delivered.

Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2778126
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Almo, If you go by Larry Fine's formula, (2X L+W) you make it with a 6' piano. Grands differ markedly in how "loud" they sound. Many have a scale designed to be heard in the back row of a large performance space. Your choice of which particular grand you buy will effect how loud it will sound in your space. I have found Bosie and Estonia to be quieter pianos. Bluthner I think even offers 2 different hammers for their grands depending on whether they are for parlor or concert use. You shouldn't assume a 6' grand will be louder than your upright. When testing pianos you should decide if you will want to play them with the lid open or closed (with a muffled effect on the sound), as this also effects how "loud" they will sound in your space. It can be challenging because most dealers display their pianos in large spaces.
Check out past postings, you'll get a lot of good advice.

Last edited by Sanfrancisco; 11/04/18 03:56 PM.
Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2778136
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Thanks Sanfrancisco - the Pianos I'm looking at is Kawai GX2 and the Shigeru SK2 (both 5'11).

Not sure I follow with Larry Fines formula, based on it I should be looking for a 5.3 .... (2x21+11)/10 = 5.3....

Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2778140
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2 x (L+W)/10 gives you 2 x (21+11)/10, which is 64/10 = 6.4


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Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2778143
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Originally Posted by almo82
Thanks Sanfrancisco - the Pianos I'm looking at is Kawai GX2 and the Shigeru SK2 (both 5'11).

Not sure I follow with Larry Fines formula, based on it I should be looking for a 5.3 .... (2x21+11)/10 = 5.3....


I hope someone from PianoBuyer will reply; I don’t believe this formula is currently being recommended as there are other variables such as openings to other rooms

Last edited by dogperson; 11/04/18 04:28 PM.

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Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: dogperson] #2778167
11/04/18 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by almo82
Thanks Sanfrancisco - the Pianos I'm looking at is Kawai GX2 and the Shigeru SK2 (both 5'11).

Not sure I follow with Larry Fines formula, based on it I should be looking for a 5.3 .... (2x21+11)/10 = 5.3....


I hope someone from PianoBuyer will reply; I don’t believe this formula is currently being recommended as there are other variables such as openings to other rooms
Yes, I think that's the case although I'm not sure if that's the reason.

Since you have concerns about the size of the room you might be able to get the dealer to agree to a very short try out period in your home with the understanding that you pay for shipping costs if the piano proves too loud. If you already have a trusted tech that takes care of your vertical piano you could ask his opinion and even have him listen to the piano you're thinking of buying.

Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2778175
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A 6 ft will be fine in that room. Some of us have concert grands in rooms like that.


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Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2778183
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You absolutely have enough room for a grand! I've got a model D in a room of slightly smaller dimensions and it causes no problems.
Hard, wooden/glass/stone surfaces are your enemy, though. Soft furnishings etc help absorb and soften the sound and overall volume. Not that I've ever gone down that route - I like minimal smile


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Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: JohnSprung] #2778192
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Originally Posted by precise
You absolutely have enough room for a grand! I've got a model D in a room of slightly smaller dimensions and it causes no problems.
Hard, wooden/glass/stone surfaces are your enemy, though. Soft furnishings etc help absorb and soften the sound and overall volume. Not that I've ever gone down that route - I like minimal smile

Originally Posted by JohnSprung

A 6 ft will be fine in that room. Some of us have concert grands in rooms like that.
Yet there are many PW posts about trying to soften much smaller than concert grands in reasonably large rooms because they are too loud. Every room, piano, pianist's technique, pianist's hearing, pianist's preferences etc. are different.

Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2778194
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It is usually easier to play a large piano softly than it is to play small pianos softly.

If you neglect the maintenance of a piano, you will find yourself playing louder to compensate for the shortcomings in the regulation and voicing.


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Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2778202
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Originally Posted by almo82
Currently considering purchase of a grand (~6') to replace my aging upright.

The room it will go into is approx. 21'x11'. with a fairly low celing (7.5'). for those with a Metric persuasion, that is roughly 6.5m X 3.4m X 2.2M.

The room has 2 double doors which open into the rest of the house - but I may close the doors often (I have several small children). There are also large Bay windows which expand the room slightly.

My musical style is diploma-level classical - mostly romantics, and some own compositions : I occasionally host impromptu concerts at home - and my playing has been in the past described as "too loud".....

Question : is the room too small?
The advantage of a larger instrument is fuller, clearer bass, and more resonance throughout the piano, making it a joy to play and to which to listen. However, as BDB says, no instrument will be a joy to play if it is not well regulated and maintained.

As far as your playing being described as “too loud”, I offer this advice, which was given to me by the technician who delivered my 7 foot grand to my 18’ x 18’ x 8’ living room - “You will just have to learn to play softly.” He was right. It took me about a year to adjust, and has been totally worth it. Keeping the piano well regulated is part of learning to play softly. The piano has to be able to do it, as well you.

Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2778219
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Get the instrument you need that will physically fit in the room with a few feet behind it for a pianist. Don't worry about the perfect piano and room size match unless you have a huge mansion and wide choice of room sizes from which to choose. We often have ended up placing the piano is a smaller room farther away from the rest of the house so we can shut the door and The Delicate Artist can pound on it all hours without disturbing anyone else.

Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2778271
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I have a 6'8" grand in a room that's 10x11. Volume isn't a problem for me at all, but my piano is regulated well and I've never been a loud player.

Last edited by johnstaf; 11/05/18 12:33 AM.
Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: dogperson] #2778285
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Thank you for the helpful responses everyone!

Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: johnstaf] #2778324
11/05/18 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
I have a 6'8" grand in a room that's 10x11. Volume isn't a problem for me at all, but my piano is regulated well and I've never been a loud player.
Is the only opening a door around 3' wide or does the room open into other rooms?

Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2778413
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No need to limit yourself to an arbitrary equation like that. A concert grand will easily fit in the room thanks to its length. Get the best and the biggest piano you can buy. Make sure that the piano is well regulated that it can be played softly. You will learn to play more quietly. You can also place sound absorption materials on the wall if you find that the room gets saturated, but again, you will just learn to play more quietly.

Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: prout] #2778429
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Prout quote:
As far as your playing being described as “too loud”, I offer this advice, which was given to me by the technician who delivered my 7 foot grand to my 18’ x 18’ x 8’ living room - “You will just have to learn to play softly.” He was right. It took me about a year to adjust, and has been totally worth it. Keeping the piano well regulated is part of learning to play softly. The piano has to be able to do it, as well you.
[/quote]

Prout, Glad the "loudness" issue cleared up. I am interested in what hammers your M&H came with, and did you consider changing the hammers to deal with the problem?

Last edited by Sanfrancisco; 11/05/18 02:31 PM.
Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: Ken Iisaka] #2778430
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Originally Posted by Ken Iisaka
No need to limit yourself to an arbitrary equation like that. A concert grand will easily fit in the room thanks to its length. Get the best and the biggest piano you can buy. Make sure that the piano is well regulated that it can be played softly. You will learn to play more quietly. You can also place sound absorption materials on the wall if you find that the room gets saturated, but again, you will just learn to play more quietly.
I partially agree with Ken's and Prout's comments about learning to play more softly.

I have a 10 year old Mason BB in a 12'x18'x8' room although the effective space is significantly larger since the room opens up to a kitchen/dining area and hall way. I think the effective space is more like 20'x18'. I play with the lid closed and lid hinge folded back. I had some difficulty with the volume of the piano in this space but part of it was definitely that my technique for playing softly needed improvement.

The problem, I think for everyone, in learning to play softly is avoiding playing ghost notes, i.e. notes that don't sound. This requires good technique and practice. I started a long thread on PW about playing softly and much of the advice I thought was poor, but one key piece of advice(playing with firm fingers) helped a lot. I think people who have difficulty avoiding ghost notes often play with not firm enough fingers when trying to play softly but this makes it difficult to control the key's descent.

OTOH there is a limit to how slowly one can depress a key and still have the note sound. So I'm not convinced that ppp or pp dynamics are automatically possible in every room with every piano in every passage no matter how well regulated the piano is and how good one's technique is. IOW learning to avoid loud playing is quite easy but always being able to control pp or ppp dynanics can be difficult or perhaps impossible in some situations.

I have no problem with a p dynamic but I sometimes feel like I have to use the soft pedal to play more softly and be sure of avoiding ghost notes. This could be because a Mason BB is a pretty loud piano in general or because of technical deficiencies despite my improvement so it's possible that Prout or Ken, who are both far superior to me as pianists, could control my piano in my space down to ppp and never feel the need to use the soft pedal. I am interested in hearing their thoughts on this.

Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: johnstaf] #2778432
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
I have a 6'8" grand in a room that's 10x11. Volume isn't a problem for me at all, but my piano is regulated well and I've never been a loud player.


John, I suspect that this is at least partially due to the scale of your C Bechstein.

Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: pianoloverus] #2778434
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by johnstaf
I have a 6'8" grand in a room that's 10x11. Volume isn't a problem for me at all, but my piano is regulated well and I've never been a loud player.
Is the only opening a door around 3' wide or does the room open into other rooms?


It's just a room by itself. There is a lot of absorbent material in it. I don't make any effort to play more softly, but I don't disturb the people in the next room -with the door closed...

Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: Sanfrancisco] #2778437
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Originally Posted by Sanfrancisco
Originally Posted by johnstaf
I have a 6'8" grand in a room that's 10x11. Volume isn't a problem for me at all, but my piano is regulated well and I've never been a loud player.


John, I suspect that this is at least partially due to the scale of your C Bechstein.


Probably, and the new hammers are fairly light. It's no louder for "normal" playing than the upright in the same room, even though it can get seriously loud if I need it.

Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: Sanfrancisco] #2778456
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Originally Posted by Sanfrancisco
Originally Posted by Prout

As far as your playing being described as “too loud”, I offer this advice, which was given to me by the technician who delivered my 7 foot grand to my 18’ x 18’ x 8’ living room - “You will just have to learn to play softly.” He was right. It took me about a year to adjust, and has been totally worth it. Keeping the piano well regulated is part of learning to play softly. The piano has to be able to do it, as well you.


Prout, Glad the "loudness" issue cleared up. I am interested in what hammers your M&H came with, and did you consider changing the hammers to deal with the problem?

The piano came with Renner Blues - very very hard, and required hundreds of needle penetrations to open up the sound and get some tonal variation - this is typical for this type of hammer. I was able to learn to play softly. However, after 5 years and about 7500 hours of heavy duty playing, they no longer responded well to reshaping and needling, so I replaced them with Ronsen Weickert natural felt hammers. They have required very little voicing, one needle, two to three penetrations on the cup line have opened them up a lot. They are nearly as loud as the Renners, but more bell like and more tonal variation. Changing hammers won’t make the piano softer, if they are good hammers. It will change some aspects of the tonal characteristics of the piano.

Last edited by prout; 11/05/18 03:30 PM.
Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: pianoloverus] #2778467
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Ken Iisaka
No need to limit yourself to an arbitrary equation like that. A concert grand will easily fit in the room thanks to its length. Get the best and the biggest piano you can buy. Make sure that the piano is well regulated that it can be played softly. You will learn to play more quietly. You can also place sound absorption materials on the wall if you find that the room gets saturated, but again, you will just learn to play more quietly.
I partially agree with Ken's and Prout's comments about learning to play more softly.

I have a 10 year old Mason BB in a 12'x18'x8' room although the effective space is significantly larger since the room opens up to a kitchen/dining area and hall way. I think the effective space is more like 20'x18'. I play with the lid closed and lid hinge folded back. I had some difficulty with the volume of the piano in this space but part of it was definitely that my technique for playing softly needed improvement.

The problem, I think for everyone, in learning to play softly is avoiding playing ghost notes, i.e. notes that don't sound. This requires good technique and practice. I started a long thread on PW about playing softly and much of the advice I thought was poor, but one key piece of advice(playing with firm fingers) helped a lot. I think people who have difficulty avoiding ghost notes often play with not firm enough fingers when trying to play softly but this makes it difficult to control the key's descent.

OTOH there is a limit to how slowly one can depress a key and still have the note sound. So I'm not convinced that ppp or pp dynamics are automatically possible in every room with every piano in every passage no matter how well regulated the piano is and how good one's technique is. IOW learning to avoid loud playing is quite easy but always being able to control pp or ppp dynanics can be difficult or perhaps impossible in some situations.

I have no problem with a p dynamic but I sometimes feel like I have to use the soft pedal to play more softly and be sure of avoiding ghost notes. This could be because a Mason BB is a pretty loud piano in general or because of technical deficiencies despite my improvement so it's possible that Prout or Ken, who are both far superior to me as pianists, could control my piano in my space down to ppp and never feel the need to use the soft pedal. I am interested in hearing their thoughts on this.
I consider myself an adequate pianist, so words such as ‘far superior’, are IMO and referring to me, not reasonable to use.

Much of what you mention forms the basis for control of the piano. If you want to ensure that a single note or a single chord will sound when played softly, the keys need to bottom out on the keybed. For playing softly in runs and arpeggios and the like, it is necessary to play well above the keybed.

A little explanation is necessary here. As you all know, the final velocity of the hammer determines the dynamic level. The key undergoes an acceleration when your finger presses it. The impulse, that is, the applied force times the length of time that the finger applies the force, and which determines the final velocity of the hammer, is limited by the fact that the finger only presses the key a little way down before moving on to the next note. This allows one to play softly without having to play slowly.

As far as dynamics are concerned, I think p is about as soft as I can get on fast runs, though slow arpeggios and chordal changes can be done pp. I can play single notes ppp without any problem.

Once I get wound up playing a piece however, all bets are off. Passion takes over, and my wife leaves the room.

Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2778553
11/05/18 07:53 PM
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Foster City, CA, US
K
Ken Iisaka Offline
Full Member
Ken Iisaka  Offline
Full Member
K

Joined: May 2011
Posts: 109
Foster City, CA, US
Here's the thing: playing softly is a lot harder than playing loud. Also, fine regulation is far more critical when playing soft.

I've found that having the instrument regulated really well, but also concentrating on the volume and tone being produced really helps develop the technique to play more softly.

Then, there is the 4th pedal on Fazioli that makes it so much easier to play soft AND fast.

Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2779525
11/09/18 10:50 AM
11/09/18 10:50 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 483
Southwest
j&j Offline
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j&j  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 483
Southwest
Ask the piano store for the matching template for each of the pianos you’re considering. You can usually take them home and try different piano placements in the room. The dealer might even offer a bigger template for you to try so you can feel comfortable buying an even bigger grand. 😁. The bigger the piano, the bigger the soundboard and the longer the strings, so you can more easily play louder or much more softly. Playing softly does take lots of practice but on a new grand, practicing should become a joy. Once the piano is in your home, there are many subtle ways to change the acoustics in your room to the sound you want. You can put a rug underneath the piano, change the draperies, play full stick, or closed. Your piano technician can really help you figure out how to achieve the sound you’re looking for. Best of luck.


J & J
Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." Pablo Picasso
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Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2779533
11/09/18 12:09 PM
11/09/18 12:09 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 312
T
tend to rush Offline
Full Member
tend to rush  Offline
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T

Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 312
I've told this story here before, but, based on a template, I thought I could accommodate a 6' 1" - 6' 3". When the 5' 7" I bought was delivered, I was shocked to find that anything much larger would've been way too big. A grand piano is not a two-dimensional shape on the floor, but a big, honking three-dimensional object. Be sure you envision that. God knows what I'd have done if they'd delivered a 6' 3".

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