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#3069880 01/16/21 02:31 PM
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Anjru Offline OP
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We’re in the process of buying a larger home. So I’m thinking of getting a grand or maybe a baby grand. I have a nice digital, a Roland FP90. I’ve been playing somewhat consistently for 15 or 20 years. So I’m not bad. Plus I played other instruments, guitar, trumpet, flute. I’d keep the Roland so as to be able to play quietly. I’m wondering now what size piano to invest in, where to put it, if brand really makes that much difference (as in how much will I be able to tell). Of course you can’t tell me exactly the answer to any of my musings, not knowing the size nor layout of the different rooms of the place, how not bad I am, nor what my sensitivity is.

I’m thinking we could probably fit a 5’10” pretty well. I’m also concerned that I’d even play the acoustic enough to merit it’s purchase and placement. That is, I’m sometimes self-conscious about my playing and withdraw into headphones.

I’ve read online about piano placement and size in relation to room size. There’s not a tremendous amount written that I’ve found. And piano stores will of course tell me that what I’ve read online isn’t necessarily a true indication of size in relation to room size.

I’m an aspiring jazz/blues player and enjoy classical too. I’m just in it for fun though.

I’ve tried searching the forums here for threads that relate to this but haven’t found much. Any thoughts?

Last edited by Anjru; 01/16/21 02:33 PM.
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theres an article in the PianoBuyer website that walks you through a basic algorithm for computing room size based on the piano size. i'd start there; but im sure somebody has it memorized and will respond shortly.

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Anjru Offline OP
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Thanks Kitkat. Actually, that’s the info on the web I had found that I mentioned. 😄

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Remember room size vs. piano size is just one factor in determining an appropriate piano size. Other factors include room furnishings, does the room open into other rooms with a wider than a door opening, rug or no rug, lid position (fully open, fully closed or lid down with fly lid folded back), the pianist's hearing, the natural voice of the piano, the piano's regulation and voicing, the pianist's skill at soft playing. Finally, many but not all posters say that it's easier to play more softly on a larger piano.

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I like Larry Fine's advice about getting a piano 6' or larger. That is when the bass and tenor start to shine.

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Thanks Pianoloverus. I like what you said about being able to play more softly on a larger piano. Sounds like a nice thing.

Tbell, not sure who Larry fine is or exactly what he said?

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Larry Fine is the author of "Piano Buyer" online publication and its hardcopy predecessor "The Piano Book". He suggests when buying a grand, if possible, get one at least 6' long.

5'10" is pretty close. Many have a space constraint they must endure.

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I looked him up. I’ll tey to get his book out of the library. Maybe you’ve got the book, T. Does he say why? I saw that he says the length of a piano should be no more than a tenth of the size of, for simplicity’s sake we’ll say, the perimeter of a room, which shouldn’t be square. So if a room is 10 x 12 (with an 8’ ceiling, he says) a piano that’s 4’ 4” should fit. He says that empirical. He doesn’t say how much larger the piano could be if it was a 10’ ceiling. So I don’t know if he’s talking about acoustic principles or design. He also says the piano should be placed diagonal to a corner, but not with it’s nose going into a corner. He doesn’t mention if the nose should be pointed at the short wall or the long wall. But since it’s empirical I’m skeptical. I like the nose pointing into the room but the flow of traffic is sometimes made awkward by that. And I like good flow. Maybe I need a fung shui expert.

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my understanding is that you want the "wing" of the grand piano to be pointing out, from the corner; with the short side parallel to the wall.

imagine a "firing arc" that is 180 degrees, from keyboard to nose, covering the wing of the piano, unleashing a broadside of sound.

i hope the example is not in poor taste.

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Originally Posted by TBell
I like Larry Fine's advice about getting a piano 6' or larger. That is when the bass and tenor start to shine.
As far as I know Fine never says that. Can you say where you saw that?

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Originally Posted by Anjru
I looked him up. I’ll tey to get his book out of the library. Maybe you’ve got the book, T. Does he say why? I saw that he says the length of a piano should be no more than a tenth of the size of, for simplicity’s sake we’ll say, the perimeter of a room, which shouldn’t be square. So if a room is 10 x 12 (with an 8’ ceiling, he says) a piano that’s 4’ 4” should fit. He says that empirical. He doesn’t say how much larger the piano could be if it was a 10’ ceiling. So I don’t know if he’s talking about acoustic principles or design. He also says the piano should be placed diagonal to a corner, but not with it’s nose going into a corner. He doesn’t mention if the nose should be pointed at the short wall or the long wall. But since it’s empirical I’m skeptical. I like the nose pointing into the room but the flow of traffic is sometimes made awkward by that. And I like good flow. Maybe I need a fung shui expert.
Fine didn't write that article. There are many things that decide if a piano's volume in a room is OK besides the length of the piano and the room's dimensions: does the room open up to other rooms with a wider than a door opening, the room's furnishings, lid position, the piano's natural voice, the piano's regulation and voicing, the pianist's skill at playing softly, does the room have a rug, the pianist's hearing, etc. And many knowledgeable pianists think that it' s easier to play a longer piano more quietly because of its longer keys. All the advice about placement in the room are the author's ideal placements. It doesn't mean other choices won't work. If the room the piano must be in is square there's not much one can do
about that!

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To the OP, have you bought (or chosen) the new house yet? If yes, please give us an idea of the size of the room you plan to put the piano in, and what else will be in the room.

If you are still house hunting... Look for a house with a good room that doesn't have a fireplace or heater vents in bad spots, think about the location of windows and what direction they face...

The other thing is to think about how the piano room will function. Will it be your main living room or will another room have the living room function? The answer to this question will influence the size of the piano in the room and also how you evaluate potential houses and which rooms would work for the piano room.

I have a 5'8" grand piano in a room that's about 11' x 18'. I personally would not want a larger piano in here, even though it technically would "fit." My piano room also has two chairs each with a sort of side table, and there are also two bookshelves to hold my sheet music. This detail is reelvant because the piano room is my practice space, so not just for looks or entertaining. I also have three lamps in the room (which if you think about an 11 x 18 room is kind of overkill... :P

We have another room that has more seating, our tv etc., so we use that room as a family room and the front room, which is meant to be the living room, is the piano room. Since I like to have music parties and play with a violinist (when there's not a pandemic...) I wanted the piano room to be able to function for that purpose as well, and when we have a music party, we bring in extra chairs, so that's another reason why I wouldn't want a larger piano in here...

So my point is, the size of the room and the size of the piano need to be considered in conjunction with how the room will function and how you'll use it.

Oh, regarding feeling self-conscious... it would probably be good to get over that. But, (again, if you're still house hunting) another detail is where is the piano room in relation to where other family members will be spending their time. If someone is in our family room, they will hear me playing the piano loud and clear. But most of the time when I'm playing piano, my husband is in his studio, which is in our finished basement, and he says he hardly hears it down there. That's enough for me not to feel self-conscious when I'm playing the same measure a gazillion times...

Hopefully some of this is helpful. As for piano brands, that's a whole different subject now isn't it!

Good luck! smile


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by TBell
I like Larry Fine's advice about getting a piano 6' or larger. That is when the bass and tenor start to shine.
As far as I know Fine never says that. Can you say where you saw that?
Piano Buyer - 4th Edition - under the section titled "What size Piano Should I Buy?" pg 15.

The diagonal placement is to minimize 'standing waves' , which is what can happen if you have the piano parallel to a wall and some frequencies will get louder and others quieter, due to wave interference where some waves get 'added' and others 'canceled'.

That being said, my piano is parallel to a wall due to space constraints.

Anjru, you should post a sketch of your room along with the dimensions. You will get some good feedback.

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Originally Posted by TBell
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by TBell
I like Larry Fine's advice about getting a piano 6' or larger. That is when the bass and tenor start to shine.
As far as I know Fine never says that. Can you say where you saw that?
Piano Buyer - 4th Edition - under the section titled "What size Piano Should I Buy?" pg 15.
Piano Buyer or Piano Book? Piano Buyer has come out twice a year for around the last ten years or more.

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Originally Posted by TBell
The diagonal placement is to minimize 'standing waves' , which is what can happen if you have the piano parallel to a wall and some frequencies will get louder and others quieter, due to wave interference where some waves get 'added' and others 'canceled'.

neat ! i didnt know that.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by TBell
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by TBell
I like Larry Fine's advice about getting a piano 6' or larger. That is when the bass and tenor start to shine.
As far as I know Fine never says that. Can you say where you saw that?
Piano Buyer - 4th Edition - under the section titled "What size Piano Should I Buy?" pg 15.
Piano Buyer or Piano Book? Piano Buyer has come out twice a year for around the last ten years or more.
(Continuing my post....) The Piano Buyer is listed by date and season and has no editions as far as i know. In the 2018 Piano Buyer, Fine just says(all other things being equal) to buy the largest piano you can afford and have space for. No mention of a specific cutoff length. Same for the 2009 version of the Piano Buyer and I think every version. Some random PW posters have given a specific length they think one should aim for when buying a grand so you may be thinking of those posts.

Giving a specific cutoff length is IMO very reasonable. For example, if the cutoff is 6', what about 5'11'' or 5'10''? Also, a specific cutoff length does not take the quality of the piano into account.

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That should be 'Piano Book', which morphed into 'Piano Buyer' when it went online.

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Originally Posted by TBell
That should be 'Piano Book', which morphed into 'Piano Buyer' when it went online.
I can't find my copy to verify your statement, but in the last 24+ versions of the Piano Buyer Fine has omitted any specific mention of length in his discussion on page 15. For very good reasons, I think. Fine is extremely careful and precise with his wording, and I would frankly be quite surprised if he ever gave a specific cutoff length.

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Originally Posted by TBell
The diagonal placement is to minimize 'standing waves' , which is what can happen if you have the piano parallel to a wall and some frequencies will get louder and others quieter, due to wave interference where some waves get 'added' and others 'canceled'.

This is urban myth which contradicts acoustics.
Piano is not omnidirectional, and noticeable standing walls occur only in rooms with highly reflective walls and low amount of additional surfaces, i.e. furniture.
Room modes exist in any room, this is law of physics, but again, its effect for specific frequency depends on source and listener position, and on reflectivity of the room boundaries.


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Originally Posted by VladK
This is urban myth which contradicts acoustics.

OK Professor, why do acoustic designers and placement sites suggest placing a grand diagonally, rather than parallel along a wall?

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