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Re: Two words used to describe a piano's tone that I hate [Re: pianoloverus] #2784570
11/25/18 02:55 PM
11/25/18 02:55 PM
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For me, the term "bell-like" applied to the treble of a piano implies a sweetness and roundedness to the tone which is very pleasant. I do not think of it being like a bell, more like a celesta, as in the "Magic Flute" here. I do not mean that a "bell-like" piano treble will sound exactly like this, rather that there is an aspect to the tone which is reminiscent of this. I do not know if this is the same thing as Sally's helpful definition of clear fundamental.

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Re: Two words used to describe a piano's tone that I hate [Re: pianoloverus] #2784685
11/25/18 06:34 PM
11/25/18 06:34 PM
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And this is the problem that pianoloverus identified in the OP. People have their own, often personal and very imprecise, feelings about what the term means. That means the term often has little meaning in a conversation.

Re: Two words used to describe a piano's tone that I hate [Re: Piano*Dad] #2784686
11/25/18 06:40 PM
11/25/18 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
And this is the problem that pianoloverus identified in the OP. People have their own, often personal and very imprecise, feelings about what the term means. That means the term often has little meaning in a conversation.
Yes, and then how do you tell your tech what kind of tone you want? A term that has little meaning imparts little knowledge.

We can do better than that, but people have to agree on the meaning of the terms. Is that not the point of this thread?

Re: Two words used to describe a piano's tone that I hate [Re: pianoloverus] #2784691
11/25/18 07:00 PM
11/25/18 07:00 PM
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I doubt that a fully standard lexicon of definitions of musical qualities will ever evolve into precise terms. I never ask my customers to use "my" terms, I simply use tests to learn how they define the terms they speak with.


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Re: Two words used to describe a piano's tone that I hate [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2784693
11/25/18 07:16 PM
11/25/18 07:16 PM
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In the Ozarks of Missouri
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
I doubt that a fully standard lexicon of definitions of musical qualities will ever evolve into precise terms. I never ask my customers to use "my" terms, I simply use tests to learn how they define the terms they speak with.


That sounds like a sensible and intelligent solution.


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Re: Two words used to describe a piano's tone that I hate [Re: pianoloverus] #2784695
11/25/18 07:22 PM
11/25/18 07:22 PM
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Columbus, GA
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I actually don't think precise definitions are possible. Technicians hear hundreds of terms that piano owners use to describe the tone. Most of the time the only way to discuss this is in the room with the piano in question. We have the pianist play, then we listen to what they are telling us they don't like. We do a few things pointing the sound in the direction of what we think they want and see how they like it.

This is not as arbitrary as it might seem because usually the owner bought the piano and liked the tonal quality of the instrument when it was new. Getting a brand X to sound like it did when new is not hard. Experienced techs have a really good feel for where they need to go to achieve this. In addition the most obvious problems, like worn hammers that need filing or replacing, poor regulation and uneven tone are the starting points for ALL voicing. The methodology is almost always the same: file hammers, fit hammers to strings, voice for evenness. Then stop, let the owner listen and begin the discussion about whether they want it a bit more mellow or a bit more bright. I usually do about 75% of what I think will need to be done and either leave it for them to play for a while and see how they like it or plunge in and make more wholesale corrections.

And in addition to the normal movement of the tone in one direction or the other there is the overall goal of homogeneous voicing where you are trying to make the tone extremely even from bass to treble or whether or not you are going to make the tenor area a bit more mellow than the mid treble and the high treble a bit brighter then the mid treble, giving you more opportunity to bring out middle voices. Are you going for a sweet, mellow sound or are you aiming for more articulation in the mid section? All these things can be discussed and executed in a voicing process that can take several visits. Meanwhile the tech has to try to figure out what is meant by a sandy tone. Had that one recently. Bell like is much more common.




Last edited by S. Phillips; 11/25/18 07:23 PM.

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Re: Two words used to describe a piano's tone that I hate [Re: pianoloverus] #2784718
11/25/18 08:37 PM
11/25/18 08:37 PM
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Surrey, B.C.
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Describing sound and using "words" for it is IMHO flawed from the moment go. At least one can try to understand 'words', if agreeing on them or not. And it's never easy to understand the full "meaning" of them, especially when it has to do with sound. It's simply impossible to agree on the fine nuances of what is being heard or "felt" by an individual. This is where things always become difficult and much harder to describe. For that reason, I always let players decide on what they "heard" - not me. Or technicians who often vary in their perception of things also. If not liking the sound of a piano, the most 'precise' wording won't help. And vice versa. The words that really count are IMHO "I love it" - or "don't". And let them find descriptive words for it themselves.

Norbert smile


Last edited by Norbert; 11/25/18 08:46 PM.

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Re: Two words used to describe a piano's tone that I hate [Re: pianoloverus] #2784719
11/25/18 08:37 PM
11/25/18 08:37 PM
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New York City
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My tech says a lot of people complain about a "tinny" tone whose usage he says he doesn't like. I have found him very good at understanding anything I tell him although it's almost always in non tech terminology.

Re: Two words used to describe a piano's tone that I hate [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2784720
11/25/18 08:40 PM
11/25/18 08:40 PM
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New York City
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
I doubt that a fully standard lexicon of definitions of musical qualities will ever evolve into precise terms. I never ask my customers to use "my" terms, I simply use tests to learn how they define the terms they speak with.
I am very curious about your tests. Can you describe them?

Re: Two words used to describe a piano's tone that I hate [Re: pianoloverus] #2784724
11/25/18 08:50 PM
11/25/18 08:50 PM
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New Hampshire
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Just don't make it "mushy".

Pwg



Last edited by P W Grey; 11/25/18 08:50 PM.

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Re: Two words used to describe a piano's tone that I hate [Re: pianoloverus] #2784904
11/26/18 11:32 AM
11/26/18 11:32 AM
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Reseda, California
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The problem with "bell-like" is that there are many different kinds of bells, and they don't sound at all alike.


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Re: Two words used to describe a piano's tone that I hate [Re: pianoloverus] #2785122
11/26/18 11:20 PM
11/26/18 11:20 PM
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Seattle, WA USA
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Pianoloverus,
Not sure I can give you a great answer but I will try.

The "tests" I use involve listening to the pianist play if possible. I observe how they use the piano and ask questions about ease of expression and character of voice. So my use of the word "test" may not be highly accurate. I ask them to play me something they think works well on the piano and also show me what doesn't work.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
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Re: Two words used to describe a piano's tone that I hate [Re: pianoloverus] #2788689
12/07/18 10:18 AM
12/07/18 10:18 AM
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After reading through this thread, I love Sally Phillips.

Re: Two words used to describe a piano's tone that I hate [Re: pianoloverus] #2789092
12/08/18 02:05 PM
12/08/18 02:05 PM
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Columbus, GA
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Mzrt. Glad I can be helpful.


Sally Phillips
Owner/ Technician
Piano Perfect, LLC
Steinway & Sons Pianos
Columbus, GA
New Steinway, Boston and Essex pianos
www.steinwaypiano.com
Acoustic Piano Technical Consultant - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
http://www.pianobuyer.com/current-issue/07a-should-i-have-my-piano-rebuilt.html
Re: Two words used to describe a piano's tone that I hate [Re: pianoloverus] #2789143
12/08/18 04:45 PM
12/08/18 04:45 PM
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Sally Phillips has a very nice video explaining voicing, which I think is also relevant here.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJdLuZ1CJT0

At the end, the final tone is round, full, with good sustain.


Last edited by redfish1901; 12/08/18 04:46 PM.

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