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Joined: Sep 2005
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Usually, I sit at around the 'regular' piano height, where the forearms are approximately parallel to the ground and at the height of the keys. For some reason I decided to see what it would be like sitting higher, and plopped a big 3 inch book on the bench. It was clearly at a much higher height than I've seen most people sitting at. Yet to my amazement, the touch of the keys and playing felt completely different. It took so much less effort, and everything was so much more smooth and comfortable. Not to mention that since my head was 3 inches closer to the opening of the piano(I play an upright), the sound I was hearing sounded more 'pure'.

So my question is, how come noone sits higher at the piano? And would it be dangerous for me to play like that for extended periods of time? It doesn't feel like it would cause any problems, but that may be something I won't notice until it's too late. It was great though.. really.

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I use the adjustable bench at its top height. I'm 5'7". I have carpal tunnel syndrome.

I find that with my bifocals I can read music easier.

I find that there is less stress on my hands.


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I'm not exactly Glenn Gould but I can't seem to get my bench low enough (and I'm only 5'6"). I actually took the tiny metal taps off the bottoms of the legs.


Slow down and do it right.
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Quote
Originally posted by -Frycek:
I'm not exactly Glenn Gould but I can't seem to get my bench low enough (and I'm only 5'6"). I actually took the tiny metal taps off the bottoms of the legs.
Have you put your piano on castors yet?


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Originally posted by lilylady:
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Originally posted by -Frycek:
[b] I'm not exactly Glenn Gould but I can't seem to get my bench low enough (and I'm only 5'6"). I actually took the tiny metal taps off the bottoms of the legs.
Have you put your piano on castors yet? [/b]
They are both already on castors. Add castor cups maybe?


Slow down and do it right.
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yup, castor cups were meant!

(she knocks herself upside her head)


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Erroll Garner sat high. Legend has it that Liszt sat high and away from the piano.


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Sitting high and slightly away gives you more leverage for arm and upper back strenght. I experimented with this a little when i was learning chopin op 10 no 1. Helped a little bit i guess, but every little bit counts when you're playing op 10 no 1.


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I use an adjustable rolling office chair...benches are too hard on the sit-bones...

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Quote
Originally posted by MDes:
So my question is, how come noone sits higher at the piano? And would it be dangerous for me to play like that for extended periods of time? It doesn't feel like it would cause any problems, but that may be something I won't notice until it's too late. It was great though.. really.
Actually, plenty of people sit very high at the piano. Most adjustable artist benches do not go high enough. My artist bench at its maximum height is just right for me, but for my piano students I have to add a cushion or phonebook for them to sit on. I insist on having my students sitting at the correct height.

I prefer to have my elbows slightly above the keys, and I play with level-to-high wrists. My professor in college spent the entire first lesson explaining why I am sitting too low and how sitting higher can liberate your arms and wrists to play more difficult pieces. She's right!!


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Each person have to sit a different height not matter their height or body weight. The height of the bench is determined by the ratio between the lenght of the upper arm, forearm and torso.
So you might take 20 people of the same height, age and body type but their upper arm lenght, forearm length and torso lenght will vary.

As a rule those with a short torso and long upper arms have to sit higher. Those with a long torso and short upper arms have to sit lower.

This also means that for some people the correct height which leaves the forearm parallel to the ground will place the elbow above keys level while for others the exact same position of the forearm will place the elbow below keys level.

Still you should sight within a range in which your forearm is parallel to the ground and the upper arm are free to hang freely.

If you're sitting too high the forearm will be at an angle sloping down to reach the key and you will force the shoulders and shoulder blades down.

If you're sitting too low your forearm will be at an angle sloping upwards and you will raise and keep the shoulders and shoulder blades raised.

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Originally posted by Danny Niklas:
Those with a long torso and short upper arms have to sit lower.
That's me. I have a hard time getting shirts that aren't bobtailed on me and then have to roll up the sleeves.


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My artist bench at its maximum height is just right for me, but for my piano students I have to add a cushion or phonebook for them to sit on.
Concert halls usually have small wooden platforms to put the bench on when someone wants a taller bench. This gives more secure seating than cushions or such.


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I have a short torso (= longer legs than average for my height), but shorter arms (sleeves of formal shirts tend to be 2-3 cm too long).

What would be best for me in this prospective?


"The man that hath no music in himself / Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds / Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils." (W.Shakespeare)

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I do something that has the same effect for digital pianos. I use gig style pianos, which need a separate keyboard stand. Every keyboard stand I've had or tried (except for one very cheap off-brand I found on ebay), at its lower setting, is still about 2 or 4 inches higher then I would like. So I resorted to either using a file to cut an extra notch in the height adjustment mechanism, for X-stands, or, with table style stands, using a pipe cuter to cut a few inches off the legs (which also cuts of the height adjustment mechanism, but as long as I can get to height I want, I don't care.) Why the stand manufacturers make their stands so their lowest setting is so high, I don't know. Fine if you play standing up, but if you play sitting down, the lowest height is way too high.

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I always have the bench as high as possible.

I find it a bit exasperating when the bench has been left really low by the previous person, and I have to twist and twist the knobs - twisting at that angle seems to stress my wrists. Does anyone else have the same problem?

Quote
Originally posted by Innominato:
I have a short torso (= longer legs than average for my height), but shorter arms (sleeves of formal shirts tend to be 2-3 cm too long).

What would be best for me in this prospective?
Clarinet? smile

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"Clarinet? smile "

smile smile wink


"The man that hath no music in himself / Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds / Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils." (W.Shakespeare)

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Quote
Originally posted by whippen boy:
I always have the bench as high as possible.

I find it a bit exasperating when the bench has been left really low by the previous person, and I have to twist and twist the knobs - twisting at that angle seems to stress my wrists. Does anyone else have the same problem?
YES!

Have carpal tunnel syndrome and twisting those knobs drives me nuts. Luckily being a blonde, some nice male usually comes to my rescue!

Recent visit to a home saw a plug in auto adjuster. We just hit the button and away she went!


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I couldn't resist a reply to this post. I teach the Alexander Technique to Musicians (and I am a pianist as well) and seat height for EVERY musician is a challenge. While everyone has an opinion about the height of the bench in relation to hands and arms, I look at hip joints. Yes-really. If there is a slight slope down to your thigh i.e. your leg slopes down toward the floor, then it is easier to keep the hips free which allows your back to lengthen fully which adds to the freedom of your arms. It also contributes to a free pedal leg. I usually raise people up. The amount depends on their height. Too high is when your heels are no longer supporting you well.

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MDes

In regards to the height you have your stool its completely a personal decision. Using the philosophy ' what works '. Music Teachers will go to great lengths to discuss and illustrat ehand positions sitting positiong etc. In the end you are the person playing and you adopt the posture and height that suite you.

On top of the line grands there is an adjustible bench. You adjust it to the height that suits yourself. If you can traverse easily from the one end of the keys to the other and feel comfortable then the stool is at the right height for you.

Some concert artists create a whole performance spectacle re adjusting the height of the stool.

When you are playing a piece of a long duration ( e.g. a Beethoven Sonate ) you need to set up in advance to ensure your own personal comfort.

If you are comfortable in posture at the piano this quickly shows in the piece.

Enjoy your playing and the height of the bench is all a matter of personal preference


Maurice
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