Where to place the piano in the room:
The piano should be placed in a room where the acoustics are good and there are no gaps in the sound or echo. However, the acoustics are not the only element that must be considered, because the environmental conditions can equally influence the quality of the sound.
The pianos are instruments that need a good ventilation in order to function properly. Therefore, we recommend not to place the piano in the corner of the room, but rather in the center or near an interior wall, at a distance large enough to allow continuous air circulation.
Please avoid placing the instrument near an outside wall for two reasons:
- On the one hand, the contact with the outside weather conditions affects the tonal quality and sonority.
- On the other hand, the exterior walls are usually provided with windows and the wooden exterior of the piano must be protected from direct sunlight, moisture or sudden temperature changes.
Also, it is advisable to place the piano away from sources of heat or ventilation (radiators, heaters, stoves or air conditioners). These may affect the sound or the piano mechanism.
Ideal conditions for getting a perfect sound
The piano works best when the room temperature is constant (18-22 ° C) and the humidity is 50-60%. The best thing would be to measure these variables constantly, to make sure the instrument is maintained in excellent conditions.
Avoid excessive humidity
Some of the key components of the piano are made of corrosive materials (felt, cloth, leather, metal and wood), which makes the instrument very sensitive to moisture. Prolonged exposure to high moisture levels, tends to hinder the movements of the hammers, to deteriorate the sound quality and leads to the formation of rust.
In areas with high rainfall, it is best to contact a local technician for advice regarding the maintenance of the piano. Fortunately, in Romania, yearly precipitation is average, so you can take some simple measures to protect your instrument from excessive moisture.
When the sky is cloudy or raining, make sure that all the door and windows in the room with the piano are closed. Do not forget to close the cover after each use. The textile skin covering the piano absorbs some of the moisture in the room when the weather is rainy. Therefore, it is important that, from time to time, you take it out in the sunlight to dry and ventilate properly.
Avoid the extreme dryness
In the summers mainly, when the air becomes excessively dry, you have to place a pot with water, abundant plants or a humidifier in the room with the piano. Long-term exposure of the timber and the felt to sharp dryness may cause them to contract. Also, the sounding board and other wood pieces that are joined by bonding, will dismantle, some parts will get deformed, the pins will start to escape and the piano tuning will deteriorate.
Avoid sudden temperature changes
When a cold component is suddenly heated, the moisture resulted will condense and will settle on the metal parts and on the piano strings, favoring the formation of rust. Felt will absorb the moisture and this will hinder the joint motion and affect the final sound quality.
Do not place any objects on the piano
Heavy objects can influence the sound, by causing disturbing vibrations. Also, items made of plastic, vinyl, and liquids in general, might damage the surface and the piano mechanism. Even a vase of flowers, despite the fact that it would be a nice addition to the decor of the room, puts the piano at risk. The only exceptions to this rule are the music sheets and possibly a Maehlzel metronome.
Cleaning the piano
The accumulation of dust slows the motion of the hammerheads and leads to unpleasant noises. Remove the dust from your piano regularly, with a soft cloth or a whisk.
Do not use products containing alcohol to clean the keys. Use only a soft cloth and if there are areas where dirt lingers, you can soften the cloth in water with soap. Remember though to wring out the water in the cloth as well as you can, so that water does not penetrate inside the piano. As a measure of precaution, just because a piano is very difficult to clean and sensitive at contact with any other material, we recommend that you wash your hands before playing. Lacquered parts (the case, the legs, etc) should not be washed with soap.
Piano tuning and regulation
Even if you take all these measures, and make sure that your piano is kept in ideal conditions, do not underestimate the importance of a regular inspection by a specialist. There are two types of professional interventions needed by any piano, several times a year: tuning and regulation. The piano tuning is the adjustment of each note by stretching the correspondent strings. Regulations is the process by which the piano parts that moved from place during interpretation, are returned to their initial position. Instrument’s performance depends largely on the accuracy of regulations and a well done tuning. Do not try to do this alone because you can damage sensitive components that are hard to replace. Instead, contact a professional technician, who knows precisely what he is doing.