Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pianos

I have a bad habit of watching home improvement/design shows (TLC and HGTV are evil!). One thing that I have noticed quite often when a designer is "designing" or "redesigning" a room is the placement of the homeowner's piano (quite often this dilemma occurs with a grand piano as opposed to an upright). The designer often places the piano near a bay window, corner window area, or some other place where the sunlight plays off of the finish. They want to make it "look good". I cringe every time I see this.

Obviously these designers are clueless as to the care a piano must receive to continue to be a valuable instrument that plays well and stays in tune. Pianos are very sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity due to the various woods and metals used in their construction. Direct sunlight can be very damaging to the fine finish of a piano, and when placed against an outside wall (with poor insulation) the changes in temperature and humidity can severely damage the instrument. Pianos should also never be placed near radiators, humidifiers, A/C vents, etc for the same reason.

A piano should also be tuned regularly. This is not something the average piano owner can do by themselves, in fact it should be done by a trained tuner.

I find it quite sad that someone would pay a large amount of money for a quality instrument (or receive it as an heirloom) and then not take basic steps to care for it. That (to me) is like buying a car and never getting the oil changed or getting regular maintenance done.

Of course, having an electric piano (like my beloved Yamaha) eliminates the need for being so stringent about temperature changes but then I'm sure an interior designer would have a fit because it's not "pretty" enough.

As a side thought, I doubt a designer would also take acoustics of the room into account. I just can't fathom how the sound of a piano rattling off of several windows would be attractive. Oh well. Excuse me while I put my musician self in time out.

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