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What determines the loudness (in db) of an upright piano? #2859435
06/17/19 04:17 AM
06/17/19 04:17 AM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 169
Norway
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oivavoi Offline OP
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oivavoi  Offline OP
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Joined: May 2012
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Norway
I know there have been discussion about this is in the past. But I'm still not sure what to make of it. In short: What determines how loud an upright piano will be when playing with a "normal" touch?

My subjective experience is that some pianos are louder than others. This has partly to do with how loud it CAN get - and partly with how loud it gets with what would be "normal" touch for me.

What are the reasons for this?

And can this be changed with regulation and voicing? My layman understanding would be that voicing can make a piano less bright/shrill, which may make it sound less loud, but that it can't make it less loud objectively. I would assume that regulation can change how loud a piano will be with "normal" touch - is that the case?

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Re: What determines the loudness (in db) of an upright piano? [Re: oivavoi] #2859443
06/17/19 05:35 AM
06/17/19 05:35 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,368
Queensland, Australia
backto_study_piano Offline
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backto_study_piano  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2010
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Hammers, regulation and or voicing generally.

But - some pianos are quieter than others, even when new.

An example - in my Mum's Aged Care facility, in her ward is an old English, small piano (Broadwood is the brand), looks OK, in tune. Probably donated!!!

It rarely gets played ... because ... it has 2 volumes 1) very,very loud; or 2) slightly louder. The hammers are so hard you could probably drive nails into timber with them. Besides that, there is no sense of feel to the piano, and having no sense of responsiveness makes it difficult to play.

I don't doubt that new hammers would make a huge difference, but in isolation it will only partly solve the problem. It probably needs new strings, dampers and hundreds of other parts replaced - a full regulation. Much more than the piano will ever be worth.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: What determines the loudness (in db) of an upright piano? [Re: oivavoi] #2859502
06/17/19 09:09 AM
06/17/19 09:09 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,559
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j&j Offline
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I’m sure the room acoustics also directly affect how loud and/or shrill any piano sounds. That’s why it’s kinda crazy to buy a piano without first playing it. If you find that your dream piano sounds a bit too loud when you bring it home, you can change the room’s acoustics to bring out the sound you want.
I’ve learned enough over the years to play a piano with a good range of dynamics. If I can’t play it very softly in the showroom or owner’s home, it’s immediately scratched off my list.
I’ve never bought a piano that’s too loud or shrill. If I did, I’d ask my piano tech to fix it. It might take several long work sessions and maybe new hammers or strings but he could fix it. I would have to answer his polite query of “what in heaven’s name were you thinking? Why didn’t you ask me to check this out before you plopped down your money?”


J & J
Yamaha C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
Pianos - the reason God made trees!
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Re: What determines the loudness (in db) of an upright piano? [Re: j&j] #2859503
06/17/19 09:13 AM
06/17/19 09:13 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,368
Queensland, Australia
backto_study_piano Offline
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backto_study_piano  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,368
Queensland, Australia
Originally Posted by j&j
I’m sure the room acoustics also directly affect how loud and/or shrill any piano sounds. That’s why it’s kinda crazy to buy a piano without first playing it. If you find that your dream piano sounds a bit too loud when you bring it home, you can change the room’s acoustics to bring out the sound you want.

Definitely - a pipe organ is a great example - the biggest aspect is the acoustics. There is one Church near here which a lovely medium pipe organ - destroyed because someone carpeted the entire building. There is no resonance in the building - plus a fair bit of volume was lost.

And yes, you can certainly improve a piano by altering the acoustics - I've done it a number of times. But the piano needs to be reasonable to start with, unlike the abomination in my example a few posts up.

Another example was a piano showroom (since bankrupt) with high end grand pianos which opened up to face plate glass windows. They sounded terrible.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: What determines the loudness (in db) of an upright piano? [Re: oivavoi] #2859523
06/17/19 10:19 AM
06/17/19 10:19 AM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 169
Norway
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oivavoi Offline OP
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oivavoi  Offline OP
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Joined: May 2012
Posts: 169
Norway
Thanks guys/gals. That's good advice. I'm asking since I consider buying an old upright which I really really liked in many ways, plus that the asking price is very low considering the quality. But I perceived it as a bit too loud, and slightly more difficult to get to ppp than I ideally would like. So I'm wondering how much it would be possible to do with that.

Re: What determines the loudness (in db) of an upright piano? [Re: backto_study_piano] #2859645
06/17/19 04:10 PM
06/17/19 04:10 PM
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 2,658
North Vancouver
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Lady Bird Offline
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Lady Bird  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 2,658
North Vancouver
Originally Posted by backto_study_piano
Hammers, regulation and or voicing generally.

But - some pianos are quieter than others, even when new.

An example - in my Mum's Aged Care facility, in her ward is an old English, small piano (Broadwood is the brand), looks OK, in tune. Probably donated!!!

It rarely gets played ... because ... it has 2 volumes 1) very,very loud; or 2) slightly louder. The hammers are so hard you could probably drive nails into timber with them. Besides that, there is no sense of feel to the piano, and having no sense of responsiveness makes it difficult to play.

I don't doubt that new hammers would make a huge difference, but in isolation it will only partly solve the problem. It probably needs new strings, dampers and hundreds of other parts replaced - a full regulation. Much more than the piano will ever be worth.

I once had an old Broadwood which I bought for teaching purposes.It had a lovely tone and was very responsive to playing with dynamics.
When comparing however to many newer uprights the
action was probably rather worn.
Playing softly and quickly or louder with repeated notes would not have been possible as far as I remember. Many newer uprights can cope much better with this.For example the new Ed Seiler with the use of magnets for repitition .

Re: What determines the loudness (in db) of an upright piano? [Re: oivavoi] #2859658
06/17/19 04:24 PM
06/17/19 04:24 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,559
Southwest
j&j Offline
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j&j  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,559
Southwest
Originally Posted by oivavoi
Thanks guys/gals. That's good advice. I'm asking since I consider buying an old upright which I really really liked in many ways, plus that the asking price is very low considering the quality. But I perceived it as a bit too loud, and slightly more difficult to get to ppp than I ideally would like. So I'm wondering how much it would be possible to do with that.

Ask an independent, reliable piano technician what could be done to get that piano to play softly enough for your playing and technique. Which means you would have to play that piano for the tech you hire. Trained competent piano tech’s can do that sort of thing so incredibly well.


J & J
Yamaha C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
Pianos - the reason God made trees!
[Linked Image]
Re: What determines the loudness (in db) of an upright piano? [Re: oivavoi] #2859670
06/17/19 04:43 PM
06/17/19 04:43 PM
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 2,658
North Vancouver
L
Lady Bird Offline
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Lady Bird  Offline
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L

Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 2,658
North Vancouver
I should just add I bought that Broadwood from a well known dealer so it probably had a great deal of work
done on it.On the other hand J&J gives good advice ,
Also as back to _study _piano implies have the piano
properly assessed by a technician but expect that the
piano may need more work than you realize.


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