Many of you may be cursing piano seller or manufacturer just for the reason because as you bring this instrument home, it doesn’t give you sound like it was giving in the showroom. There may be only some cases where the difference may be because of some problem with the piano itself however in most of the cases; it is about your room and whereabouts of your piano. So this case is termed as voicing your room. There can be many factors that may be affecting piano sound around your room and it is all basically related to the science that revolves around nature and movement of sound waves.
Sound Waves: Any distortion, echoing or bad sound may be a result of sound wave hitting some obstacle such as a window, mirror or anything and it may have bounced back. Usually rooms have a lot of obstacles and even if you place nothing inside there will be walls, windows and doors so sound travelling in such a room will bounce back and forth again and again. The travelling sound waves involves two sound types:
Direct Sound: It is the sound that is produced from an instrument and reaches your ears directly.
Reflected Sound: It is the sound that is produced from an instrument, hits an obstacle and reflects back. This sound is usually the cause of distortion as it reaches us typically later than the direct sound.
Two Ways of Dealing with Reflected Sound Waves:
- Absorb: One of the ways is to absorb these reflected waves. However one drawback of doing so is that strength of wave would be reduced.
- Diffuse: Whereas the other way is to diffuse these waves meaning that we can scatter these ways in varied directions.
Whether the sound in your piano room is absorbed or diffused would depend upon what materials and objects are placed in the room.
Tips for Voicing your Room with Piano Music:
Here are some tips that would give you a combination of reflected sound absorption and diffusion and these methods combined would aid in giving you a soothing voice of piano music in your room.
Size of Piano: Before making any changes in the whereabouts and things in your room, it is important to have a look at the size of the piano. The main voicing problem may be because you don’t have a piano of right size according to your room. Too small instrument or too large would either give really small voice that would be difficult to hear or too much loud voice for the room.
Location: Next thing that is important for proper voicing is location of your instrument. Many a time pianos are witnessed to have been placed in a corner and thus you witness sound issues. Typically right location for a piano could be away from corners, along length of a wall or preferably set it at an angle. Changing location of your piano may also solve this issue.
Use Sound Absorbing Materials: If sound of the piano is too loud, try placing some sound absorbing materials in the room. Some tips to consider
- Place a rug under your piano for sound absorption especially if your floor is of sound reflecting nature such as wooden, tiled or stone.
- You may cover your piano directly overs string in order to reduce its loud volume.
- Place a material that absorbs sound between soundboard and wooden support of your piano and it would also control loudness to a great extent. You can find a number of sound controlling maps, sheets, foams and quilts that are designed to give you best results with absorption of loud sound coming from your piano.
Remove Hangings that Scatter sound: Typically your bedrooms or living areas or any other rooms have wall decorations and other objects that scatter sound. Too many of such objects may give you a lot of distortion and thus you should remove some of those glass hangings, painting and other objects. Rather replace some of them with sound absorbing items. Depending upon the requirement you may add or remove objects as too much of scattering may give you a lot of bad audio whereas too much of absorption would also make the sound too soft or low. You may need to experiment a lot to find the right combination of these objects in your piano room.
Try Covering Windows and Glass Walls: As said earlier these surfaces tend to scatter sound waves and thus if you are practicing or playing in a room with glass walls all around, you would find sound to be quite harsh. Try out sound absorbing covers for such areas in the room and you will be able to control the energy and brightness of sound.
Tips for Avoiding Noise from Outside:
One of the issues that may be culprit behind disturbed piano voice in your room is all that outside noise from the street, from your neighbor next door or elsewhere. Here are some tips to avoid that sound disturbance as you play piano for learning and practice:
Avoid placing your piano in a room that is adjacent to your noisy neighbor. For example one of your wall in some rooms may be shared with your neighbor’s apartment; so best would be to avoid that room for piano practice. Make sure you place your piano in a quiet room so you don’t get bothered by your neighbor during practice and even your neighbors don’t get disturbed with your loud piano music.
In order to gain complete command over voicing your room with piano music, you would need to do certain experimentation with location, objects and interior of your room where you have placed your piano. You may need to add more of sound absorption or may need to scatter some ways in order to make the sound from your piano best and professional sound. If you have some other useful tips to add on to the above mentioned, share them with us!