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Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: prout] #2778429
11/05/18 03:25 PM
11/05/18 03:25 PM
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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 03:31 PM.
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Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: Ken Iisaka] #2778430
11/05/18 03:25 PM
11/05/18 03:25 PM
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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
11/05/18 03:39 PM
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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
11/05/18 03:43 PM
11/05/18 03:43 PM
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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
11/05/18 03:50 PM
11/05/18 03:50 PM
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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
11/05/18 04:28 PM
11/05/18 04:28 PM
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Southwestern Ontario
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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 04:30 PM.
Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: pianoloverus] #2778467
11/05/18 04:54 PM
11/05/18 04:54 PM
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Southwestern Ontario
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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 08:53 PM
11/05/18 08:53 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 119
Foster City, CA, US
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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 11:50 AM
11/09/18 11:50 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 746
Southwest
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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.


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Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2779533
11/09/18 01:09 PM
11/09/18 01:09 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 334
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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".

Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2779538
11/09/18 01:46 PM
11/09/18 01:46 PM
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Posts: 83
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Don't need a template : I have a rug at home that is roughly the size of the Piano.

The concern is accoustic - see the OP.

Thanks

Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2779558
11/09/18 02:59 PM
11/09/18 02:59 PM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 240
Oregon USA
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I have a 6' in a 16x24 carpeted room and it does fine. It can get a bit loud for me, with walls on two sides and the lowest part of the vaulted ceiling, but no one else has complained.

Re: Enough Space for Grand Piano? [Re: almo82] #2779561
11/09/18 03:09 PM
11/09/18 03:09 PM
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Maryland, USA
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My living/piano room is about 14' x 18' (visual inspection-not actually measured). It does, through a large opening, open to another two rooms of similar size in series, and a smaller opening to the foyer of the house. My two grands sit inside just fine. We do mostly play with the lid closed, with the fly lid folded back so scores can be placed on the music desk. But even if full stick, I don't think the volume is a problem.

The pianos come with different hammers. The Hamburg B-using Renner Hamburg Steinway hammers, is brighter. The NY A-using original NY Steinway hammers, is softer. However, I think the A, which is a smaller piano, is overall slightly louder than the B. Not very accurately, this was seen on the recorded sound level from Zoom recorder in addition to subjective perception.

I don't think the formula, published quite a few years ago at Piano Buyer, of (W+L) x 2 / 10 is universally agreed upon.

So I think your room should be fine for any-sized pianos.


1969 Hamburg Steinway B, rebuilt by PianoCraft in 2017
2013 New York Steinway A
Kawai MP11

Previously: 2005 Yamaha GB1, 1992 Yamaha C5
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