Unlock the transformative power of piano voicing, tailored to your preferences and bringing out the best in your instrument for a truly unique and captivating playing experience. Discover the art of nuanced tones, proper hammer-string mating, and regulation, and let a skilled voicer breathe new life into your piano.
What is Voicing and why might I need it?
Voicing is described as altering or restoring the tone (not pitch) of the piano. Pianos can often be described as dark or bright, subdued or pingy, mellow or harsh. Many adjectives are used to describe either the tone currently present or currently desired. The descriptive terms dark or bright can be helpful when one thinks in terms of color. Color can be described as a shade and so can tone. The terms having to do with color can often be more readily understood and point a technician servicing your piano towards what you want. One could say “Well, I’m not really looking for something bright white but perhaps something of the brighter colors or a darker off white”. Terms like this should be able to point the “voicer” technician in the right direction. It is important that you are able to describe what you want so that the technician has a chance of giving you what you want.
Voicing, done properly, can bring new joy into your playing experience unlocking nuances of expression that you have not experienced before or perhaps for a long time. In this author’s view a piano should be mellow or dark or subdued enough to give you an almost haunting quality when played very softly. Conversely it should be able to “shake the rafters” when you are playing it loudly. Since an effort towards one will often kill the efforts towards the other, a balance must be struck. We don’t ever want a piano to sound like it could break glass but neither should it sound prematurely dead. Much depends not only on the skill of the voicer but also on the quality of the hammers and the condition of the soundboard. If the board is dead, it will not properly resonate. If the hammers are too dense and packed down all you will get is pingy, loud or bright. Either parts are replaceable parts but must be evaluated with experience and with a perception of market value and whether an expenditure of that sort is warranted.
Voicing can be a glorious thing, once properly done to any instrument and while voicing does most often deal with altering the density of the felt in the hammers, other aspects are involved. Do the hammers evenly strike the strings and are they mated well with the strings? Voicing of the hammers won’t work well if proper hammer/string mating has not been done. Regulation or the timing of the movement of the mechanical parts in the key and hammer action is also a factor. Placement in the home or hall can also affect the quality of the sound. Imagine a hall or room where everything, (walls, floor, ceiling) are hard surfaces. Compare that against how you perceive the sound would be against an all carpeted and upholstered room.
Many believe that the sound you hear when you buy the instrument is what it will be for its whole life. This is simply not true. A skilled voicer can often change the sound in such a demonstrable way that it doesn’t even sound like the same piano when finished. If you have questions, just ask!
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Learning to play the piano as an adult can be an incredibly rewarding experience, both personally and mentally. Whether you have prior experience playing music or are a complete beginner, the benefits of learning to play the piano are numerous.
Greg’s Piano Forte’ has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will continue to do so. The safety of our employees, customers, families and friends remains our top priority. We wanted to take a moment to share with you the steps we are taking to help protect the health and safety of our employees and customers during these trying times.