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Steinway B - too big for a small room?

Posted By: Rakvsv4301

Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/09/19 01:49 AM

I am purchasing a Steinway B that is 6’11” long but the only space I can put it in will be a small room that measures 12’ by 13’ with 10’ high ceiling. Will this piano overwhelm the space? I will have a rug and a small settee for sitting and that’s it. Thanks for your advice!
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/09/19 02:06 AM

Does the room open up into other room(s) with openings wider than a normal door with?

Are you willing to play with the lid down and lid hinge folded back or even with the lid completely closed?
Posted By: Anne Shirley

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/09/19 02:18 AM

I'm in a similar boat. Was planning to purchase a 5.5 to 6 ft but ended up getting a 7 ft. My living room is 12x20.
People in NYC have grands too large for their space all the time!
Posted By: Ken Iisaka

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/09/19 03:01 AM

Just play more softly, and have the piano regulated well.

There is no such thing as a piano that's too large for the room, unless it doesn't fit.
Posted By: Rakvsv4301

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/09/19 03:05 AM

Yes, one wall is entirely open to the foyer - so the opening is about 12 ft
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/09/19 03:10 AM

I have a piano that's around that size (a couple of inches smaller) in a room that's smaller than yours, and I have no problem with it. If you have a lot of soft furnishings and curtains etc. it makes a huge difference.
Posted By: backto_study_piano

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/09/19 04:48 AM

My Grotrian is about "B" size - and it's fine in a room slightly bigger than yours (though has 3 openings) with only 8' ceilings. Mine is ½ carpeted.

But - ensure that it's regulated quite fine, and voiced well, so that you can play it pp easily.
Posted By: trandinhnamanh

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/09/19 07:33 AM

With my 7’6” Steinway C in my living room, I learned how to play more softly perfectly well. So yes, there’s no such thing as a piano that’s to large for a room, unless it doesn’t fit.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/09/19 09:53 AM

If there was no such thing as a piano that's too large for a room, there wouldn't be so many threads on PW saying that the poster's piano was too loud or asking how their piano can be made quieter. There are limits to how softly a piano can be played without playing ghost notes. If the dynamic is f do you really want to have to play the passage with a touch that would normally produce a p dynamic in a larger space?

The effective space for a piano is often much larger than the size of the room if the room opens up into other rooms with openings larger than the width of a door. So I think many people whose pianos are not too loud are playing in rooms that are effectively much bigger than they think they are.

While I agree with the general consensus that larger pianos aren't necessarily louder, I don't think pianos work well in very small rooms.

I have a 7' Mason BB in my living room. The room is 12'x18'x8' but opens to the foyer, hall, kitchen and dining area so the effective space is more like 20'x18'. I play with the lid down and flylid folded back. If I played with the lid up in any position I don't think it would be possible to play pp consistently. If my piano was in say a fully enclosed 8'x10' room I don't think it would be possible to play pp.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/09/19 09:54 AM

Originally Posted by trandinhnamanh
With my 7’6” Steinway C in my living room, I learned how to play more softly perfectly well. So yes, there’s no such thing as a piano that’s to large for a room, unless it doesn’t fit.
How big is your living room? How high is the ceiling? Does it open into other rooms?
Posted By: nhpianos

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/09/19 10:15 AM

We have our model B in a 9' x 15' room with ceilings of about 7'. Certainly not ideal, but I won't be trading it in on a smaller piano that "fits" better. About the only time I play it with the lid up is when I'm recording. Otherwise I usually practice with the lid completely closed whereas my wife plays with the flylid open. The piano is not voiced down to be particularly soft-toned, but it's not excessively bright either.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/09/19 11:46 AM

Originally Posted by nhpianos
We have our model B in a 9' x 15' room with ceilings of about 7'. Certainly not ideal, but I won't be trading it in on a smaller piano that "fits" better. About the only time I play it with the lid up is when I'm recording. Otherwise I usually practice with the lid completely closed whereas my wife plays with the flylid open. The piano is not voiced down to be particularly soft-toned, but it's not excessively bright either.
Does the room open up into other rooms?
Posted By: BDB

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/09/19 04:56 PM

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
If there was no such thing as a piano that's too large for a room, there wouldn't be so many threads on PW saying that the poster's piano was too loud or asking how their piano can be made quieter. There are limits to how softly a piano can be played without playing ghost notes. If the dynamic is f do you really want to have to play the passage with a touch that would normally produce a p dynamic in a larger space?


How many of those threads are started by people who have large pianos? I suspect very few.
Posted By: Ken Iisaka

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/09/19 05:42 PM

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
If there was no such thing as a piano that's too large for a room, there wouldn't be so many threads on PW saying that the poster's piano was too loud or asking how their piano can be made quieter. There are limits to how softly a piano can be played without playing ghost notes. If the dynamic is f do you really want to have to play the passage with a touch that would normally produce a p dynamic in a larger space?


Some pianists don't have the technique to play pp. Some pianos aren't regulated well enough to be played pp.

Longer keys of larger pianos make it easier to play softer, as well.

I would contend that the 10' monstrosity in my living room can be played more quietly than the 7' piano of the same manufacturer right next to it, even though they are maintained to the same standards by the same technician. I also ask to set the let-off to be closer than the usual for better control in pianissimo.

Good regulation makes it possible to play more softly. Softening the hammers makes the piano softer when played more loudly.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/09/19 05:46 PM

Originally Posted by BDB
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
If there was no such thing as a piano that's too large for a room, there wouldn't be so many threads on PW saying that the poster's piano was too loud or asking how their piano can be made quieter. There are limits to how softly a piano can be played without playing ghost notes. If the dynamic is f do you really want to have to play the passage with a touch that would normally produce a p dynamic in a larger space?


How many of those threads are started by people who have large pianos? I suspect very few.
You may very well be correct that many of those posters didn't have large pianos. It's possible that voicing, regulation, acoustic treatment, or better technique from the pianist could improve the situation. But I also think it's also possible that none of those would help and that no grand would have worked out in the space.

In the later part of my post(not quoted above) I said I mostly agreed with the idea that larger pianos aren't necessarily louder. But I think that some rooms, if very small and without any large opening to other rooms(which would make the space effectively much larger), are too small for almost any grand.

I couldn't imagine having my BB in a fully enclosed 8'x10' room and not having it too loud for the space.
IOW I disagree with the poster that said as long as the piano can fit in the room it's not too large for the room.


Posted By: Ken Iisaka

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/09/19 05:50 PM

Originally Posted by BDB

How many of those threads are started by people who have large pianos? I suspect very few.


I have the same suspicion. I've even seen some equations to "determine the optimal size of the pianos" for a given room. Absolute nonsense.

The biggest piano that can fit in the room is the biggest one that can fit inside the room , leaving a 1 meter space so that a technician can work on it.
Posted By: j&j

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/09/19 08:54 PM

I’ve been told but haven’t completely proven it to myself yet but a longer piano that’s well voiced and regulated should be able to let a trained player to achieve greater dynamic range. A concert grand is expected to go from a whisper to a trumpet blast between measures. The typical mistake people make is bigger pianos are louder. But bigger pianos can be played more softly more easily than small grands. A big piano does eat up floorspace so that if you stuck a big piano in a small room, the only seating would be the piano bench.
Just my thoughts.
Posted By: PhilipInChina

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/10/19 04:54 AM

Musically it shouldn't be too much piano. The other consideration is aesthetics. You might think that it overpowers the room. This is less likely if the room isn't used for anything elsebut music. Only you can decide on a question of taste.
Posted By: OE1FEU

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/10/19 08:17 PM

It's one of those threads where I wish that the US would finally leave the group of the last three countries remaining on earth not using the metric system.

I understand that Liberia and Myanmar are important countries, but seriously?
Posted By: dogperson

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/10/19 08:46 PM

Originally Posted by OE1FEU
It's one of those threads where I wish that the US would finally leave the group of the last three countries remaining on earth not using the metric system.

I understand that Liberia and Myanmar are important countries, but seriously?


a lifelong US citizen, I totally agree about the advantages of metric....but switching here will probably happen when pigs fly 🐷 . I work in an industry that uses metric, and it is much easier to mentally see measurement relationships. Sad but true that we won’t switch
Posted By: jshelton

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/10/19 10:54 PM

Originally Posted by dogperson
I work in an industry that uses metric, and it is much easier to mentally see measurement relationships. Sad but true that we won’t switch

Half of 10mm=5.5mm, half an inch is 1/2", a third of 10mm=3.33333endless, a third of foot=4". Sometimes metric is not so simple. I use both constantly in my business and find that both have value but certainly neither is better.
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/11/19 02:50 AM

Originally Posted by jshelton
[...]
Half of 10mm=5.5mm, half an inch is 1/2", a third of 10mm=3.33333endless, a third of foot=4". Sometimes metric is not so simple. I use both constantly in my business and find that both have value but certainly neither is better.


How does half of 10 equal 5.5?

Regards,
Posted By: backto_study_piano

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/11/19 05:42 AM

Originally Posted by BruceD


How does half of 10 equal 5.5?

Regards,

Inflation.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/11/19 07:10 AM

Originally Posted by Ken Iisaka
Just play more softly, and have the piano regulated well.

There is no such thing as a piano that's too large for the room, unless it doesn't fit.

As long as the piano technician is not too large !
Posted By: Hakki

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/11/19 11:00 AM

Probably it will overwhelm that space. Especially if you play lid on full stick. The general formula for a room with 8' ceiling height is, max piano size = room perimeter / 10. in your case it is about 5'. Since you have 10' ceiling height maybe a bigger piano might be possible. But still I doubt this room is suitable for a Steinway B.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/11/19 11:24 AM

I think many of those with grand pianos(or large grand pianos)in "small rooms" that say there is no problem with the piano being too loud have the piano in a room that opens up to another room with a wider than a door width opening. My guess is that pianos are often in living rooms that typically open into other spaces. Thus, their small rooms are actually effectively much larger than their dimensions in terms of sound.

I cannot imagine most grands and especially larger grands working well in terms of sound in a fully enclosed(except for a door) room that is 8'x10' and certainly not in a room just large enough to fit the piano. OTOH this is only my feeling(and a very common one, I think) and it's not based on hearing grands in that kind of space.

I hope some of the posters in this thread(or techs who have experienced tons of in home pianos) that said their piano was not a problem in their small room will give their piano room's dimensions and say whether the room opens into other spaces. That might convince me that a tiny enclosed room is OK for a grand that is well regulated, voiced for the space, and played by a pianist with good technique for pp playing. I cannot imagine my M&H BB(admittedly a powerful piano)working well in my 9'X12' bedroom.
Posted By: jshelton

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/11/19 03:04 PM

Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by jshelton
[...]
Half of 10mm=5.5mm, half an inch is 1/2", a third of 10mm=3.33333endless, a third of foot=4". Sometimes metric is not so simple. I use both constantly in my business and find that both have value but certainly neither is better.


How does half of 10 equal 5.5?

Regards,

I should never post replies after drinking wine :-).
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/11/19 06:48 PM

Originally Posted by jshelton
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by jshelton
[...]
Half of 10mm=5.5mm, half an inch is 1/2", a third of 10mm=3.33333endless, a third of foot=4". Sometimes metric is not so simple. I use both constantly in my business and find that both have value but certainly neither is better.


How does half of 10 equal 5.5?

Regards,

I should never post replies after drinking wine :-).


I'l drink to that!

Cheers!
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/11/19 08:15 PM

Originally Posted by pianoloverus

I hope some of the posters in this thread(or techs who have experienced tons of in home pianos) that said their piano was not a problem in their small room will give their piano room's dimensions and say whether the room opens into other spaces. That might convince me that a tiny enclosed room is OK for a grand that is well regulated, voiced for the space, and played by a pianist with good technique for pp playing. I cannot imagine my M&H BB(admittedly a powerful piano)working well in my 9'X12' bedroom.


My piano is in a room that's 10'x12', and which doesn't open up to another room. The piano is 203 cm. I think the important thing is how loud the piano is when played normally. Some pianos sound more powerful than others, irrespective of size. I've had to wear ear plugs when playing smaller pianos in bigger practise rooms.
Posted By: Lushey1

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/12/19 02:57 AM


https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/how-to-make-a-piano-room-sound-grand/
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/12/19 02:02 PM

You can always soften the volume with a nice rug or wall hangings, if needed. Books under the piano and furniture in the room help also. And, there are always acoustic ceiling treatments.
Posted By: j&j

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/12/19 02:40 PM

Sadly, one of the worries that always clouds the joy of buying and owning a big grand such as a Steinway B, a D, a Mason & Hamlin BB, or a Yamaha C7 or C7X is the immediate thought, where are we going to put “this beast”? I just guess it’s one of the things that comes along with the big dream piano. But still my dream pianos are at least 7 feet.
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/12/19 02:56 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13
[...]Books under the piano and furniture in the room help also.[...]


Books under the piano?!
Posted By: Rakvsv4301

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/13/19 11:37 AM

Yes the room has 3 walls and one wall is open to the foyer and living room.
Posted By: Rakvsv4301

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/13/19 11:38 AM

Thanks!
Posted By: Sanfrancisco

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/13/19 12:06 PM

Different piano makes are scaled for different "loundness". I have found C Bechstein and Bosendorfer to be among the "quieter" ones, scaled for a living room in the 214cm size.
Posted By: Spno

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/14/19 12:00 AM

Acoustic panels would help you tame the sound a bit; real ones that is, not foam...like RPG, Real Traps or GIK etc...easy to DIY. (If you have the money start with a RPG Modex broadband or two).

One trick that makes a huge difference is to put acoustic panels raised up underneath the piano...or even cut/made to size in the slots...as an example, if u have neighbour issues, fill the whole bottom of the piano with pillows/insulation, put it on isolation mounts, fully close the lid, and put mover blankets on top...loads you can do to change the sound!
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/14/19 04:31 PM

Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by cmb13
[...]Books under the piano and furniture in the room help also.[...]


Books under the piano?!


I've seen it posted by others that music books (ie in crates or stacked) can help soften the sound.
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/14/19 08:34 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by cmb13
[...]Books under the piano and furniture in the room help also.[...]


Books under the piano?!


I've seen it posted by others that music books (ie in crates or stacked) can help soften the sound.


I was thinking of the aesthetics of having stacks of books, or crates of books under the piano; it wouldn't appeal to me, because I'm also thinking of the piano as an item of beauty in a space that is viewed by others.

However, if the piano were in a teaching studio, that might work. For me, I can't imagine how many times I would hit my head on the underside of the piano while retrieving a book. But that's just clutzy old me; I would never learn! Ouch! and some expletives that I can't produce here! smile

Regards,
Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/15/19 01:04 AM

Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by cmb13
[...]Books under the piano and furniture in the room help also.[...]


Books under the piano?!


I've seen it posted by others that music books (ie in crates or stacked) can help soften the sound.


I was thinking of the aesthetics of having stacks of books, or crates of books under the piano; it wouldn't appeal to me, because I'm also thinking of the piano as an item of beauty in a space that is viewed by others.

However, if the piano were in a teaching studio, that might work. For me, I can't imagine how many times I would hit my head on the underside of the piano while retrieving a book. But that's just clutzy old me; I would never learn! Ouch! and some expletives that I can't produce here! smile

Regards,


It would not appeal to me either. My wife would never allow books (or anything) under the piano anyway.
Posted By: j&j

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/15/19 12:56 PM

I’ve never heard of putting music books under the piano to quiet the sound. Especially if it’s my old dog eared well used music books. But I do have old classical music books from my Mom that are in decent shape that I never use that could work if I ever needed to do that. It definitely would detract from beauty of the Steinway B.....unless you could build or have someone construct a small open matching pull out (from under the piano) storage cabinet and put the rarely if ever used music books in it. Deadens the sound a bit and is extra storage for books. Maybe a small bookcase something by IKEA?
Just my morning thoughts over coffee.☕️
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/15/19 01:59 PM

I have several boxes under my piano. I live in a small house, and the piano takes up most of the room it's in. There's also a mountain of books on top of the piano, which I should probably move, as I'm afraid they could make the lid sag over time.
Posted By: j&j

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/15/19 02:48 PM

Originally Posted by johnstaf
I have several boxes under my piano. I live in a small house, and the piano takes up most of the room it's in. There's also a mountain of books on top of the piano, which I should probably move, as I'm afraid they could make the lid sag over time.

Maybe get some of those storage containers you see in Membership wholesale places and put the books stacked on the lid to under the piano.
More thoughts over coffee.
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/15/19 03:42 PM

Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by johnstaf
I have several boxes under my piano. I live in a small house, and the piano takes up most of the room it's in. There's also a mountain of books on top of the piano, which I should probably move, as I'm afraid they could make the lid sag over time.

Maybe get some of those storage containers you see in Membership wholesale places and put the books stacked on the lid to under the piano.
More thoughts over coffee.


Yes, maybe. Just make sure, however, that the material that these containers are made of don't, themselves, reflect sound rather than absorb it. Wood? Plastic? MDF? Probably not?

Regards,
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/15/19 03:42 PM

Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by johnstaf
I have several boxes under my piano. I live in a small house, and the piano takes up most of the room it's in. There's also a mountain of books on top of the piano, which I should probably move, as I'm afraid they could make the lid sag over time.

Maybe get some of those storage containers you see in Membership wholesale places and put the books stacked on the lid to under the piano.
More thoughts over coffee.


Yes, maybe. Just make sure, however, that the material that these containers are made of don't, themselves, reflect sound rather than absorb it. Wood? Plastic? MDF? Probably not?

Regards,
Posted By: backto_study_piano

Re: Steinway B - too big for a small room? - 08/16/19 01:05 PM

I saw some boxes at IKEA which were cloth covered - not sure the underlying material, but I think they were for clothes. The ones I particularly liked were the bamboo ones - called SKAKARE - but back to the subject, cloth covered would be better for absorbing sound.

Or a lot of dogs - that was my dog's suggestion?
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