Robert Estrin - piano expert

What is the Right Size Piano for Your Home?

What factors, besides size, should be considered when choosing a piano?

In this video, Robert talks about choosing a piano that's the right fit for your home. Is size the only aspect that matters?

Released on April 19, 2017

  
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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hello, this is Robert Estrin at livingpianos.com and virtualsheetmusic.com. The question today is, what is the right size piano for your home? You'd think this'd be a very easy thing, like if your room is this size, you need this size piano, but no, there's much more to it. Let's get into this.

Well first of all, there are many factors to consider. One is, is the piano going to be disturbing to people within your household or neighbors? Because as pianos get larger, they generally also produce more volume. More importantly, the acoustics of the room play a big part. You may be able to physically fit a large piano in a room, but if the room is very echoey and loud, it could be too much. Now you can temper the sound. Simply putting a rug underneath the piano will balance the sound down considerably because half the sound of the piano comes from the underneath. But you don't want to overwhelm the space. Conversely, if you have a room with carpeting, drapes, and soft furniture, even a large instrument might get sucked up by all the absorbing material in the room.

So the sound is one factor. Also, you know, you need the physical space when measuring a piano. Piano measurements and grands which I've discussed before, are the total length from the key slip all the way to the end of the lid, but you must also allow an extra couple of feet for when the bench is out. Sometimes uprights could be a good choice, but remember, uprights are about five feet wide and since the back of upright pianos is unfinished, you have to allow that much space, whereas grands and baby grands are very flexible because they look good any way you place them into your room. They can even be tucked into a corner.

So those are the factors you must consider when placing a piano in your home. Not just the size of the room, but the acoustics, as well as your lifestyle, and how it fits in. If you have an open floor plan and the kitchen is contiguous with the living space where the piano is, it could be a problem in some households. Maybe people want to watch TV in a family room, which is also connected in terms of sound, there's no doors to the other room. So think about all these factors when you are placing your piano and the size of the piano you have because the last thing in the world you want is to have a piano that you can't play on a regular basis because it's disturbing to people in your household or to neighbors.

Thanks so much for joining me. Robert Estrin at virtualsheetmusic.com and livingpianos.com.
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Fulvia * VSM MEMBER * on April 19, 2017 @5:21 pm PST
My upright is against an inside wall and the entire room is wood paneled. Is there any distance the piano should be placed from the wall? I leave a few inches to allow the tube of the vacuum cleaner to go behind it. Is this OK?
reply
Robert Estrin - host, on April 20, 2017 @11:35 am PST
Having some space from the wall can enhance the sound of an upright. Here is an article and video which goes into some depth about this subject:

http://livingpianos.com/general/where-to-put-an-upright-piano-in-a-room/
Fulvia * VSM MEMBER * on April 20, 2017 @6:16 pm PST
Thank you!
Jo-Anne Joyce Gannon * VSM MEMBER * on April 19, 2017 @4:41 am PST
Thank you Robert.
We owned a 5 ft baby grand, and when we downsized to a smaller home, switched with our daughter who owns my original apt size . She now has the baby in her home. When I play it in her home it is dull and muffled. She has thick carpeting, soft furniture, and draperies in her sunken living room.
How can she improve the sound from my baby??
reply
Robert Estrin - host, on April 20, 2017 @12:16 pm PST
There are a couple of simple things she can do to enhance the sound of her piano. One thing is to put a sheet of plexiglass under the piano to reflect the sound since half the sound of a piano comes out the bottom. If she has a good piano technician, they can harden the hammers for a brighter tone which may project better in the room.
Jo-Anne Joyce Gannon * VSM MEMBER * on April 20, 2017 @2:17 pm PST
Thank you so much for your response!
I will pass along your suggestions!
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