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Voicing Your Piano

After you purchase your piano, it is important that you continue to service it to keep it sounding the way you want. Voicing, although often overlooked, is vital to a piano’s sound. This article will help you understand what voicing is, how it affects your piano, and when and why you should consider voicing your piano.

What is Voicing?

Voicing your piano is the process of changing the tone of the instrument, usually by changing the density of the felt tips of the hammers that contact the strings. Softening the felt will make the tone of the piano mellower and more delicate, while hardening it will bring out a more striking and bright tone. Voicing is performed using various methods. 

How are Pianos Voiced?

Methods of changing the density of the felt tip include sanding the felt, ironing it, treating it with chemicals, or pricking it with needles. However, altering the felt tip is not the only way to voice a piano: aligning the hammers with the strings is important as well. It is important that professionals carry out these processes so that you do not damage your instrument.

What to Consider

Before voicing your piano, take into account whether it is tuned correctly and where it is placed.

Firstly, tuning a piano resolves many problems you may have with the sound. If you think there is a problem with the voicing of the piano, it may be affected by its tuning. To put it simply, tuning your piano resolved many tonal issues.

Secondly, the location of your piano plays a role in how it resonates. Placing your piano near areas that have many sound-absorbing surfaces, such as carpets and soft materials. These areas can even absorb the tonal qualities of a brightly voiced piano with dense hammers. Placing your piano in an area with reflective surfaces, such as concrete, glass, or wood, will absorb less sound and scatter it around the room, often retaining the sound of your piano or even making it sound more intense. So, before voicing your piano, make sure that it is tuned and that the materials in the area surrounding it have the acoustics that you prefer.

When to Voice your Piano

If you purchase a brand new piano, the hammers become packed down after 6-12 months of playing. The increased density will result in a brighter tone, which you may prefer or dislike. Therefore, pianos may need some voicing at this time period. After this, however, the rate at which you have your piano voiced is determined by how much you play it. You’ll be able to tell when the tone of the piano sounds like it needs to be changed. 

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