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Lid position #2789217
12/08/18 08:46 PM
12/08/18 08:46 PM
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Radio.Octave Offline OP
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Wondering a few things about lid position...I know that wide open vs closed can affect the brightness and tone, but what about room acoustics and what we hear at the bench? For example, since the lid is basically a huge sound reflector, when it's wide open, it's blasting sound out into the room. Since some rooms are more "live" than others, can we take more of the room's influence on the sound out of the equation by lowering the lid?

Basically, by having the lid on short stick (or no stick), do we get a more direct piano sound at the bench vs when it's open? Are we hearing more of the piano and less of the room?


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
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Re: Lid position [Re: Radio.Octave] #2789253
12/08/18 11:37 PM
12/08/18 11:37 PM
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San Diego, CA
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I almost always practice with the lid closed. So when I open it either short stick or full stick, I'm always struck by the change in tone. It is not just louder, the tone seems to change for the better.


[Linked Image]
Re: Lid position [Re: Radio.Octave] #2789258
12/09/18 01:24 AM
12/09/18 01:24 AM
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Do whatever sounds best for what you are playing. I have one piano where the lid position makes a lot of difference, and another where it does not. You have to decide depending on what you are doing.


Semipro Tech
Re: Lid position [Re: Radio.Octave] #2789271
12/09/18 04:18 AM
12/09/18 04:18 AM
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Piano manufactures scale their pianos for what they feel is the best sound with the lid wide open. When the lid is closed you lose upper overtones in both the tenor and treble (the wood lid blocks the upper frequencies, worse with MDF) and the bass loses clarity. The sound is muted, how much varies with the size and make. That said, scale sound preferences are a very personal and some owners actually prefer the sound of a closed lid.
I far prefer the sound of my piano with the lid open. I even permanently removed my music desk because it slightly blocked some of the clearness in the sound, which is a value that I highly appreciate. That is why I bought my piano, but that's just my taste.

quote=Radio.Octave
Basically, by having the lid on short stick (or no stick), do we get a more direct piano sound at the bench vs when it's open? Are we hearing more of the piano and less of the room?[/quote]

I don't think so.

Last edited by Sanfrancisco; 12/09/18 04:25 AM.
Re: Lid position [Re: Radio.Octave] #2789278
12/09/18 05:13 AM
12/09/18 05:13 AM
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Moscow, Russia
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Originally Posted by Radio.Octave
Since some rooms are more "live" than others, can we take more of the room's influence on the sound out of the equation by lowering the lid?

Basically, by having the lid on short stick (or no stick), do we get a more direct piano sound at the bench vs when it's open? Are we hearing more of the piano and less of the room?

When the lid is closed, we hear less resonance of the strings and more resonance of the soundboard and the cabinet, because sound in this case is 'closed' inside the cabinet.

The room acoustics, however, remains the same whether the lid is closed or not. The room acoustics just 'multiplies' whatever sound is coming from the piano.

Re: Lid position [Re: Radio.Octave] #2789588
12/09/18 09:33 PM
12/09/18 09:33 PM
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Minneapolis, MN
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I am SO glad I read this string. Since I bought my piano in June, I noticed a flatness in a few treble keys (and less resonance than I would like in the upper register). I routinely play with the lid closed, and the piano cover on, which I pull back just enough to expose the keyboard and piano stand. After reading this, I removed the piano cover and opened the lid fully to see how the qualities above would be affected by doing so. The difference is noticeable and I am happier. Indeed it seems that some overtones have been restored (or are no longer covered up).

Thanks!!!



Mason & Hamlin AA
Working my way through Faber-Piano Literature Book 3 and Piano Sonatinas Book 2
Re: Lid position [Re: Sanfrancisco] #2789738
12/10/18 10:35 AM
12/10/18 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Sanfrancisco
I far prefer the sound of my piano with the lid open. I even permanently removed my music desk because it slightly blocked some of the clearness in the sound, which is a value that I highly appreciate. That is why I bought my piano, but that's just my taste.

There's a lot of sense in this.

Many pianists and teachers advocate playing with the lid closed/down - for some reason they seem to think that this will help them project better when they come to play in an auditorium. It's kind of false logic, really: they're used to really pushing the sound out at home, they get to a hall, the piano lid is up, and they carry on pushing the sound, often leading (and I speak from personal experience here) to over-projecting and tonal difficulties, and shock at the volume of sound coming from the piano.

It was a wise, older pianist who told me many years ago that the lid should alway be up when playing at at home. Then, when it comes to a performance, the piano volume doesn't startle you, and you know how to control the piano - you're used to it.

Of course, if playing at home for enjoyment etc, it's personal choice, and I can appreciate that some people prefer a less 'alive' sound.

NVB




Re: Lid position [Re: Radio.Octave] #2789762
12/10/18 11:36 AM
12/10/18 11:36 AM
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I'd like to see an in-between stick length -- not as imposing as full stick, but long enough that anything anybody put on top of the piano will slide off.... ;-)


-- J.S.

[Linked Image] [Linked Image]

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
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Re: Lid position [Re: Radio.Octave] #2789771
12/10/18 12:08 PM
12/10/18 12:08 PM
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Georgia, USA
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I've also noticed that music desk up or down affects the quality of sound that I hear - assuming you ever play with no music. Music desk up and a thick book of sonatas open absorbs a lot of sound coming in my direction.

It can also be very visually distracting to play with the music desk removed - I can see the dampers go up and down and the hammers rise and fall and forget what i am playing...

Sam

Re: Lid position [Re: Radio.Octave] #2789780
12/10/18 12:37 PM
12/10/18 12:37 PM
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I've seen people play with the music desk laid flat, and the chart laid flat on top of it. I certainly can't read anything at that angle, but there are those who can.


-- J.S.

[Linked Image] [Linked Image]

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690
Re: Lid position [Re: Radio.Octave] #2789817
12/10/18 02:20 PM
12/10/18 02:20 PM
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Columbus, GA
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I usually do all the voicing with the lid all the way up. This is the only way you can really hear what is happening. I think pianists should practice like this as well.


Sally Phillips
Owner/ Technician
Piano Perfect, LLC
Steinway & Sons Pianos
Columbus, GA
New Steinway, Boston and Essex pianos
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Re: Lid position [Re: Radio.Octave] #2789823
12/10/18 02:42 PM
12/10/18 02:42 PM
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Southwestern Ontario
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Whether or not the lid is up, the music rack, for me, really destroys the tonal balance across the compass that I hear at the bench. I use it for initial practicing as support for marking the score, but then switch to just my iPad on a small wooden plate to support it. This helps a lot.

If you want to really control the range of tonal characteristics a piano has available, playing with the lid up is the only way. That being said, in my small living room, I put the lid down when playing with other musicians. I often have a string quartet in my 18’x18’ room, so the piano with the lid full up becomes a bit loud to balance without all of us destroying our hearing. On stage, with the quartet, the lid is full up.

Re: Lid position [Re: Radio.Octave] #2789854
12/10/18 04:14 PM
12/10/18 04:14 PM
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I often lift the lid on my Sauter 130 upright .It has quite a big sound anyway but lifting the lid gives a much more creative tone to work with when playing .
With my old grand I used to do the same when teaching ,always found it best .

Re: Lid position [Re: prout] #2789943
12/10/18 09:05 PM
12/10/18 09:05 PM
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Prout, I thought I was alone in my fastidiousness with sound being distorted by a closed lid and blocked by the music desk/rack. I hear a marked difference in tonal richness and dynamic range. I use an 12.9" iPad Pro with the dedicated, abbreviated stand that Apple sells for it (marketed as a charging stand). Noticebly less sound is blocked then with a rack. The music desk that came with the piano also blocked sound rising upward from the strings. There is some truth in the saying that a pianist at the bench has the worse seat in the house. I think this is more true as the piano gets larger, by the time you get to a concert grand they are made to be heard best 10' away. Open lid and no desk helps on my 210cm Estonia. It's also a kick to see the dampers rising and falling when playing fast passages.
Also agree with Sally's take on it.

Last edited by Sanfrancisco; 12/10/18 09:09 PM.
Re: Lid position [Re: JohnSprung] #2789958
12/10/18 09:41 PM
12/10/18 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung

I'd like to see an in-between stick length -- not as imposing as full stick, but long enough that anything anybody put on top of the piano will slide off.... ;-)


All new yamahas and Kawaid have this actually - a sort of a “quarter stick”.

See picture in link. (Stick #3).

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-7WRe-Zcbl9g/Tm_FcTwGQuI/AAAAAAAAADw/ZfpRGWYrz0Y/s400/3Props%2523.jpg

Re: Lid position [Re: almo82] #2789967
12/10/18 10:20 PM
12/10/18 10:20 PM
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Radio.Octave Offline OP
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Originally Posted by almo82
Originally Posted by JohnSprung

I'd like to see an in-between stick length -- not as imposing as full stick, but long enough that anything anybody put on top of the piano will slide off.... ;-)


All new yamahas and Kawaid have this actually - a sort of a “quarter stick”.

See picture in link. (Stick #3).

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-7WRe-Zcbl9g/Tm_FcTwGQuI/AAAAAAAAADw/ZfpRGWYrz0Y/s400/3Props%2523.jpg


Yep, my Kawai has 3 sticks, too. It's nice to have choices =)


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Lid position [Re: Sam S] #2789969
12/10/18 10:26 PM
12/10/18 10:26 PM
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Radio.Octave Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Sam S
I've also noticed that music desk up or down affects the quality of sound that I hear - assuming you ever play with no music. Music desk up and a thick book of sonatas open absorbs a lot of sound coming in my direction.

It can also be very visually distracting to play with the music desk removed - I can see the dampers go up and down and the hammers rise and fall and forget what i am playing...

Sam


Does anyone know if it's possible to get a custom music desk for grand pianos? For example, it'd be kind of cool to get one where the rack is more see through, rather than the typical solid piece of wood. Something along the lines of this...
[Linked Image]


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Lid position [Re: Radio.Octave] #2789981
12/10/18 10:55 PM
12/10/18 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Radio.Octave
Originally Posted by Sam S
I've also noticed that music desk up or down affects the quality of sound that I hear - assuming you ever play with no music. Music desk up and a thick book of sonatas open absorbs a lot of sound coming in my direction.

It can also be very visually distracting to play with the music desk removed - I can see the dampers go up and down and the hammers rise and fall and forget what i am playing...

Sam


Does anyone know if it's possible to get a custom music desk for grand pianos? For example, it'd be kind of cool to get one where the rack is more see through, rather than the typical solid piece of wood. Something along the lines of this...
[Linked Image]

It looks like you can get one here: MisterStandMan

Re: Lid position [Re: Radio.Octave] #2789989
12/10/18 11:20 PM
12/10/18 11:20 PM
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Casio GP-400
Schimmel SP-182T
Re: Lid position [Re: Radio.Octave] #2790061
12/11/18 08:44 AM
12/11/18 08:44 AM
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Sally's take seems the most logical to me as well. My S&S B sounds totally different when I am listening to someone else play it. I notice a very distinct tonal difference when I stand and playit for even just a few seconds it vs. when I'm full seated, so I also agree that the bench is not the player's position does sound very different from the audience.

On my B in my house, I prefer lid full closed, lid folded back with music rack up, or full stick. I just don't like to "kick-back" I get and the way the piano projects at short-stick height in my house. It's too powerful and kind of slaps me in the face.

Re: Lid position [Re: Radio.Octave] #2790071
12/11/18 09:13 AM
12/11/18 09:13 AM
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I find it odd that people think the piano bench is the ‘worst seat in the house’.

Why would you bother playing, or thinking that you could make and enjoy great music from the worst position? The violinist, cellist, guitarist hears the bow noise, string and finger noise, and do they complain about where they are in relation to the instrument? No. Do they mute the instrument when they practice? No. I love the sound of a close mic’d classical guitar. That noise is a wonderful part of the music experience.

We are inexorably drawn to the instrument by the desire to make music. Learning to control the complete, unmuted, incredible tonal and dynamic range of an instrument is music making.

Re: Lid position [Re: Radio.Octave] #2790085
12/11/18 09:58 AM
12/11/18 09:58 AM
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I normally play lid closed. When recording I use full stick. Bit still the mics are placed only 2-3 feet away from the curvature. That is for avoiding the room acoustics which are not good in my case because of the 8 ft ceilings.

Re: Lid position [Re: Hakki] #2790113
12/11/18 11:32 AM
12/11/18 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Hakki
I normally play lid closed. When recording I use full stick. Bit still the mics are placed only 2-3 feet away from the curvature. That is for avoiding the room acoustics which are not good in my case because of the 8 ft ceilings.


I do the nearly the opposite. I play with the lid full up and record with the lid on the short (15cm) stick with the cardiod mics peeking over the rim at the curve and at the tail. They capture all the resonance of the instrument and none of the room.

Re: Lid position [Re: jarobi] #2790167
12/11/18 01:52 PM
12/11/18 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jarobi

It looks like you can get one here: MisterStandMan

Thanks for posting that, just went and ordered one for my piano.


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: Lid position [Re: prout] #2790174
12/11/18 02:06 PM
12/11/18 02:06 PM
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Reseda, California
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Originally Posted by prout
I find it odd that people think the piano bench is the ‘worst seat in the house’.

Why would you bother playing, or thinking that you could make and enjoy great music from the worst position?


Undeniably the sound at the bench is very different than what you hear a few yards away. Get someone else to play your piano. Start sitting next to them, then walk around the room. Try sitting in different places.

After that I'm sure you'll still bother playing. But you'll do it with a bit of a reference point as to how different it sounds to others in the room.

There was an orchestra in Europe (perhaps Berlin?) that experimented with seating the musicians mixed with the audience. You'd have a violinist, then two or three audience members, then another violinist....


-- J.S.

[Linked Image] [Linked Image]

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690
Re: Lid position [Re: JohnSprung] #2790200
12/11/18 03:30 PM
12/11/18 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by prout
I find it odd that people think the piano bench is the ‘worst seat in the house’.

Why would you bother playing, or thinking that you could make and enjoy great music from the worst position?


Undeniably the sound at the bench is very different than what you hear a few yards away. Get someone else to play your piano. Start sitting next to them, then walk around the room. Try sitting in different places.

After that I'm sure you'll still bother playing. But you'll do it with a bit of a reference point as to how different it sounds to others in the room.

We have regular house concerts so I am used to hearing my piano played by others. I enjoy its different sound. But that was not my point.

I would argue that, if I really don’t like the sound of the piano configured the way it was designed to be played - from the bench with the lid full up - but prefer to hear it from a distance, then I have two options - give up playing or get a midi slab, put it 10 metres away from the piano, and connect it to a disclavier type player on my piano. That way, I would get to play the piano and yet also get to hear it just like the audience.

Personally, I’d rather shoot myself than excercise either of the above options. I’ll keep making music from bench with the lid full open, knowing that it is the ‘best seat in the house’.

edit: I don’t know about the rest of you, but I hear vastly more colour and nuance and texture in my piano when sitting at the bench than I hear from a piano as an audience member. In the audience, all the vibration is gone, much of the subtle beating of various partials is gone, and some of the high frequency components are reduced. All in all, a compromised sound.



Last edited by prout; 12/11/18 03:36 PM.
Re: Lid position [Re: JohnSprung] #2790208
12/11/18 04:10 PM
12/11/18 04:10 PM
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Karl Watson Offline
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The very LAST thing I'd chose would be to be opposite Sally in any discussion about piano tone and/or mechanics. BUT . . .
just as I only rarely perform at my own piano, I'm almost always working at it. I absolutely can't stand to work at an open piano. It scrambles my brains and I can't stand the volume for more than a few minutes. A large grand in a spacious environment is a different matter, but the Bs and Ds in the teaching studios at The Curtis were always fully closed, with the desks placed out on top of the CLOSED lids, as is my own poor instrument. Not to be tiresome, as I've mentioned this more than a few times in the past, but I don't know of a single colleague whose personal instrument is kept open. The very idea of persons working at fully open pianos always puts me in mind of the dilettante who practised, at home, in white tie and tails. It's just too absurd. After all, it's work not a yacht race.
Sorry if this offends.
Karl Watson
Staten Island, NY
kw35@si.rr.com

Re: Lid position [Re: Radio.Octave] #2790210
12/11/18 04:14 PM
12/11/18 04:14 PM
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Midwest USA
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Originally Posted by Radio.Octave
Originally Posted by Sam S
I've also noticed that music desk up or down affects the quality of sound that I hear - assuming you ever play with no music. Music desk up and a thick book of sonatas open absorbs a lot of sound coming in my direction.

It can also be very visually distracting to play with the music desk removed - I can see the dampers go up and down and the hammers rise and fall and forget what i am playing...

Sam


Does anyone know if it's possible to get a custom music desk for grand pianos? For example, it'd be kind of cool to get one where the rack is more see through, rather than the typical solid piece of wood. Something along the lines of this...
[Linked Image]

Gosh, that would make a really neat headboard for my bed. Sized appropriately, of course.


[Linked Image]
Re: Lid position [Re: Radio.Octave] #2790211
12/11/18 04:17 PM
12/11/18 04:17 PM
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Karl,

No offense inferred as far as I can tell.

Work is one thing - Listening to a student banging on a piano in a small studio is bad enough with the lid closed.

But for those of us enjoying what life has to offer after the bills are paid - a fine wine, a fine piano, are best served after they are opened.

Last edited by prout; 12/11/18 04:19 PM.
Re: Lid position [Re: JohnSprung] #2790323
12/11/18 11:27 PM
12/11/18 11:27 PM
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PhilipInChina  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 3,699
Kuwait
Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by prout
I find it odd that people think the piano bench is the ‘worst seat in the house’.

Why would you bother playing, or thinking that you could make and enjoy great music from the worst position?


Undeniably the sound at the bench is very different than what you hear a few yards away. Get someone else to play your piano. Start sitting next to them, then walk around the room. Try sitting in different places.







Yes, totally different. Fewer mistakes, better technique etc. when anybody else is playing.


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
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