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Riddle Me This: Composing at an Upright Piano?
#3051846 12/02/20 01:24 AM
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Hi Everyone...

I'm still in the midst of an extended search for a small grand, though (perhaps) coming to terms with the idea that I might be better off investing in a higher quality upright piano, instead, due to serious space limitations in my home. The main reason I wanted a grand, other than that I prefer the sound to most uprights, is that I work at a grand piano in my office when I'm composing & have plenty of space to spread out and write on manuscript paper at a grand.

Upright pianos as "work" pianos for me are a challenge. For example, even though I really like the Kawai K300 and would consider investing in that instrument over a small grand, the tiny little music desk flap on the fallboard is maddening when it comes to writing at the piano. The fold down section is too skinny, and the curved lip of the fallboard makes it near impossible to write on music paper.

My question:

Does anyone here have ideas for adding a large drafting-table-style writing surface to an upright piano? I can't find any third-party solutions online, but I'd even be willing to build something with a little guidance.

Also... any recommendations for quality upright pianos I should consider over a smaller used grand? Used or new doesn't matter as long as the instrument is musical and in good shape.

Thank you!

Re: Riddle Me This: Composing at an Upright Piano?
jmiley97302 #3051848 12/02/20 01:45 AM
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Why not just put a table beside the piano? Put the whole thing in a corner in an L shape, with the piano on one wall and the table on the other. Then you just have to turn or reach over to the side to write.


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Re: Riddle Me This: Composing at an Upright Piano?
jmiley97302 #3051851 12/02/20 02:03 AM
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You could get a drawing board of an appropriate size and just put in on a piano that has a sturdy method of holding music. The Mason & Hamlin 50 and the modern Steinway K would be suitable for that. The old Steinways have the small fold-down ledge.

You could also bend a couple of metal brackets on the back of the drawing board, and hang it from the top of the front board, but you should have pretty stiff brackets. Standard L-brackets would work if you bent the ends down to catch on the top of the front board. That could provide the strength that the fold-down ledges lack.

With most drawing boards, you could push-pin paper to the front, and add a ledge onto it to hold whatever you want to write with, or to hold a tablet in place. That would not be very difficult to put together.


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Re: Riddle Me This: Composing at an Upright Piano?
FrankCox #3051856 12/02/20 02:51 AM
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I wish I could just put a drafting table next to the piano... But because there's a giant floor-to-ceiling picture window on one wall, plus a corner fireplace, there are limited options.

I look into the the drawing board option--that's a good idea. I would just need to explore different ways to affix it without damaging the piano (and still have it removable so I wouldn't have to leave it there when not working).

Re: Riddle Me This: Composing at an Upright Piano?
jmiley97302 #3051874 12/02/20 05:03 AM
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Options: baby grand; electronic baby grand; keyboard + table/drawing board; upright + BDB


Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm
Re: Riddle Me This: Composing at an Upright Piano?
jmiley97302 #3051896 12/02/20 07:00 AM
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What are the dimensions of your room? Are you sure you can’t fit a small grand?

As an aside, fireplaces are lovely but they do take away valuable wall space don’t they! When we were house-hunting, I didn’t make a “no fireplace” rule, but I think my real estate agent thought I was crazy every time I complained about a house that had a fireplace. As it happens, we found this house (the living room is no especially large but there’s no fireplace, among other pluses) and I was able to sell my upright and get a grand in our first year of living here.

Anyway, good luck!


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

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Re: Riddle Me This: Composing at an Upright Piano?
jmiley97302 #3051971 12/02/20 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by jmiley97302
Does anyone here have ideas for adding a large drafting-table-style writing surface to an upright piano? I can't find any third-party solutions online, but I'd even be willing to build something with a little guidance.

I cut a 48" wide piece of plexiglass and screwed a length of 1" x 2" along the 48" length to create a lip. It gives me acres of room to spread music out, but it is heavy enough that I wouldn't trust simply resting it on an upright's little fold-out music desk. What I do is place a Manhasset stand on either side of the piano to support it at the ends. I don't lean on it, so the Manhassets easily support the weight of the desk and music, and it's an easy rig to move from piano to piano. If you needed a sturdier base on either side, that would be easy to make, maybe with a couple of mic stands.

Larry.

Last edited by iLaw; 12/02/20 10:35 AM.
Re: Riddle Me This: Composing at an Upright Piano?
iLaw #3051975 12/02/20 10:43 AM
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..... I should have warned that I take some occasional ribbing from people who call it my salad bar.

Larry.

Re: Riddle Me This: Composing at an Upright Piano?
jmiley97302 #3052033 12/02/20 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by jmiley97302
Upright pianos as "work" pianos for me are a challenge. For example, even though I really like the Kawai K300 and would consider investing in that instrument over a small grand, the tiny little music desk flap on the fallboard is maddening when it comes to writing at the piano. The fold down section is too skinny, and the curved lip of the fallboard makes it near impossible to write on music paper.

My question:

Does anyone here have ideas for adding a large drafting-table-style writing surface to an upright piano?

Thank you!

As you like the K300 have a look at the K400 which is essentially the same model but with large music desk instead of the small flip down style you find maddening. Actually I thought the K400/600/800 range of pianos also sound nicer than the equivalent K300/500/700 small desk models although I can't logically suggest why there should be any significant difference.

Re: Riddle Me This: Composing at an Upright Piano?
jmiley97302 #3052053 12/02/20 01:47 PM
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If you search Google Images for Maria Schneider, you'll see she has a setup maybe something like you're looking for. Can't see it clearly, though.

Re: Riddle Me This: Composing at an Upright Piano?
tend to rush #3052059 12/02/20 02:02 PM
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Maria has long been one of my compositional heros! That setup looks perfect--wondering how she managed to get that large music desk affixed to the upright. Pretty cool.

Re: Riddle Me This: Composing at an Upright Piano?
jmiley97302 #3052244 12/02/20 11:08 PM
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You could look for an upright with a full width music rest:

http://forums.pianoworld.com/ubbthr...h-full-width-music-rest.html#Post3052144


Not logging in very often, but I will receive PMs.

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