Where to Place the Piano

It is not easy to find perfect location for your piano. Somewhere pleasing both to the eye and to the ear, and at the same time out of harm’s way. A separate music room is, of course, ideal but is not often attainable. Choose a room that offers relatively constant temperature and humidity (this rules out the kitchen, hallway, and conservatory or sunroom), and that offers few distractions or restrictions for the practicing student.

If possible, don’t choose a room directly below a bathroom; in case of flood, the piano will be ruined. Once the room has been chosen, consideration must be given to the piano’s location within it.

The most suitable place is against an inside wall, away from drafty windows, doors, and exposure to direct sunlight, which will almost certainly cause on the finish piano’s case to fade. Care must also be taken to position the piano as far away from heat sources as possible.

Never place a piano next to a radiator, heater, or fireplace; nor over cold or warm air ducts, or airconditioning units. Spare a thought for the room’s acoustics; a piano suffocated by shelves and cabinets cannot sing its true tone, and having to move a piano out from underneath a shelf every time it needs tuning is not ideal for the instrument or your relationship with your tuner.

Carpet and soft furnishings within a room will soften a piano’s tone and the opposite is true if a room has many hard and flat surfaces. Don’t expect a piano positioned in a room with carpet, curtains, or other soft furnishings to sound the same as it did in a stark showroom with exposed wooden floors.

Try to keep the top of the piano free of framed photos and other items that could vibrate when the piano is played. Nothing is more annoying than an accompanying rattle every time a particular note is played.

Although to some, a piano makes a lovely plant stand, resting a vase or pot on its top can spell disaster if it is over filled or knocked over. Imagine the damage done by water pouring through the casework hinges, soaking everything inside, let alone the instruments case.

Care should also be taken with drinks around the piano. Hot cups will leave a white ring, called bloom, if rested on certain finishes; and most soft drinks will make a sticky mess if spilled over a keyboard or grand action.

In extreme cases this can only be rectified by replacing the affected parts. Be careful when handling small objects-paper clips, thumbtacks, and pencils-around the piano, as they would cause nonthreatening but nevertheless annoying problems if they fell inside.

To protect a floor covering from the piano’s weight, castor cups can be used. Choose the largest diameter for protection, yet the thinnest depth-if the cups are too high they will raise the height of the piano, making the pedals uncomfortable to use.

With the exception of a piano with an ivory-covered keyboard, the fall and top should always be kept shut when the piano is not in use, to prevent dust from settling inside.

Ivory, like wood, is a natural material and its great asset as a key cover is that it absorbs moisture from the pianist’s hardworking fingers and so its surface remains dry. Once absorbed, the moisture needs to evaporate off into the air and failure to do this will cause the ivory to yellow.