The Best Conditions For Piano Acoustics and Health

Learn How to Control Climate and Acoustics In Your Piano Room

The piano is built to last, and chances are it will (for at least a few decades). But whether it will be worth having by that point depends a great deal on where it’s kept today.

If you own an acoustic piano – or you plan to buy a used one – you need to know the right room conditions in which it should be kept. Use the following guidelines to help you create or update a piano room to both complement and protect your instrument:

01
of 04

Maintaining the Right Temperature for a Piano

Piano beside fireplace in living room
Ivan Hunter/Digital Vision/Getty Images

An ideal piano room is a constant 70-72° F (21-22° C); going too much higher or lower upsets tuning, weakens delicate internal glue, and contributes to long term wood damage. Make sure you can control the temperature of your piano room, avoid climate fluctuations:

  • Keep your piano from exterior walls, drafty windows and doors, fireplaces, and climate-control vents.
  • If your area has temperature extremes, keep the room protected and well-insulated, especially if your climate-control will be off at night.
  • Placing an area rug beneath a piano is helpful on cold floors, and can also help balance out an overly-bright piano.
02
of 04

Ideal Humidity Levels for a Piano

A piano fares best in 35-45% humidity, but up to 55% is acceptable – so long as it’s constant. Fluctuating humidity causes wood – including the ever-important soundboard – to swell and release, leading to tuning issues, changes in timbre, silent keys, and a host of other costly, avoidable problems.

  • Tip: If you own an electric piano, keep the humidity level at 55% to prevent static electricity damage.
03
of 04

Limit Exposure to the Elements

Windows and doors can allow a string of threats to casually wander in and destroy your piano:

  • Condensation – a particular threat to electric keyboards – can be avoided by keeping windows and doors well-insulated; both of which should remained closed when less than 4 feet from a piano.
  • Dust, pollen, and smoke all reach the piano’s fragile interior easily, and – with the help of condensation – coat it with a sticky, bacteria-happy residue. Keep the piano lid closed, and invest in a quality cover for your electric keyboard.
  • Direct sunlight should never touch a piano – electric or acoustic. Indirect sunlight can help prevent mold and yellowing keys in acoustic pianos, but be sure to monitor the temperature in a sunny piano room.
04
of 04

The Best Room for Your Piano Style

Your piano room should enhance your piano’s voice. “Bright” pianos – which sound clear, treble, or even mildly piercing – are balanced by absorbent surroundings like carpeting and wall hangings. Subtle, mellow piano voices are complemented by wooden floors and other hard surfaces. Consider the following:

  • Hard-wood floors are great because of their versatility: You can add or remove area rugs to customize the sound of the room.
  • Electric pianos depend on the strength and quality of the speakers used; a small room works best with built-in speakers, but external speakers can always be toggled to suit a room.
  • Correct vibrating surfaces such as windows, loose shelves, or picture frames to avoid harsh tones or falling objects!

 


Reading Piano Music
 ▪  Sheet Music Symbol Library
 ▪  How to Read Piano Notation
 ▪  Memorize the Staff Notes
 ▪  Illustrated Piano Chords
 ▪  Tempo Commands Organized By Speed

Beginner Piano Lessons
 ▪  Notes of the Piano Keys
 ▪  Finding Middle C on the Piano
 ▪  Intro to Piano Fingering
 ▪  How to Count Triplets
 ▪  Musical Quizzes & Tests

Getting Started on Keyboard Instruments
 ▪  Playing Piano vs. Electric Keyboard
 ▪  How to Sit at the Piano
 ▪  Buying a Used Piano
 ▪  Tips for Finding the Right Piano Teacher
 ▪  Musical Keyboard Comparison Guide

Forming Piano Chords
 ▪  Chord Types & Their Symbols
 ▪  Essential Piano Chord Fingering
 ▪  Comparing Major & Minor Chords
 ▪  Diminished Chords & Dissonance
 ▪  Different Types of Arpeggiated Chords

 

Reading Key Signatures:

  • All About Key Signatures
    Everything you need to know about the accidentals & key signatures.

  • Use the interactive key signature locator to identify or double-check your key.

  • There are always two keys that relate to one another more than any other key. Find out what this means.
  • Comparing Major & Minor
    Major and minor are often described in terms of feelings or mood. The ear tends to perceive major and minor as having contrasting personalities; a contrast that is most obvious when the two are played back to back. Learn more about major and minor scales and keys.

 

Learn About Enharmony:

  • The 6 Enharmonic Key Signatures
    If you’re familiar with the circle of fifths (or you just know your way around the key signatures) you may have noticed a few anomalies. Some keys – like B-sharp and F-flat major – are seemingly absent, while others go by two names
  • The Inefficient Keys
    The circle of fifths shows only the working scales. But, if we expand on its pattern, we can see that it’s actually more of an infinite spiral, so there’s no end to the possibilities of musical scales.
  • Table of Working & Non-Working Keys
    See a clear visual of which keynotes are workable and which would be redundant.

 

More Italian Music Symbols to Know:

▪  marcato:    informally referred to as simply an “accent,” a marcato makes a note slightly more pronounced than surrounding notes.

▪  legato or slur:    connects two or more different notes. In piano music, the individual notes must be struck, but there should be no audible spaces between them.

▪  : "from nothing"; to gradually bring notes out of complete silence, or a crescendo that rises slowly from nowhere.

▪  decrescendo: to gradually decrease the volume of the music. A decrescendo is seen in sheet music as a narrowing angle, and is often marked decresc.

▪  delicato: “delicately”; to play with a light touch and an airy feel.

▪  : very sweetly; to play in a particularly delicate manner. Dolcissimo is a superlative of "dolce."