The presence of a grand piano in private homes kept on increasing these days. More people love the idea of listening to quality music that this fine musical instrument can certainly produce in the confines of the home. It also adds a certain grandiose touch to the overall look of the house. Aesthetically, a home can never go wrong with its addition, but acoustically if the room size is not appropriate for it, the sound that comes from a grand piano will not resonate well.
Grand pianos are built differently as compared to vertical pianos. The latter can easily be placed against a wall in smaller rooms, and the sound it generates when played can work even with limited space. A grand piano needs more space for its music to be absorbed properly. It is for this reason why we see these instruments played in huge showrooms or large spaces. Certain musical instruments are best appreciated from a distance imposed by the law of physics. The power of the sound it creates requires a bigger room so listeners can fully enjoy each note. Unless the quality of sound isn’t that important to you, then any room size will do.
Different Grand Piano Sizes
Prepare the size of the room according to the size of the grand piano that you will be using or purchasing. Make sure to check the size dimension of the instrument, particularly of its length, to appropriately fit it in the room of your choice. Here are the universal grand piano sizes.
First is the baby grand piano, which is considered the smallest, varying from 4’6″ to 5’3” in length weighing around 550lbs. The second size is the medium grand piano slightly bigger as it comes in 5’5″ to 5’3″ in length and weighs 50lbs or more. The third is the large grand piano with lengths of about 6’5″ to 7’4″ and an estimated weight of around 650lbs to 850lbs. The biggest and the heaviest in the bunch is what we usually see being played at orchestras. It is called the concert grand piano with lengths measuring at 7’4″ to 9’6″ and weighs around 900 to 1200lbs.
Grand pianos are often given a variety of names such as the ballroom grand, petite grand, recital grand, or professional grand by the manufacturers for marketing purposes, so just make sure that you inquire about their sizes, so you know exactly what you are getting.
Grand Piano Ideal Room Size Ratio and Measurement
The height and width of the room should be able to match the dimensions of the grand piano. Any piano that is more than 6 feet would encounter problems with smaller spaces. No matter how well made the instrument is, and even if the make of the room is equipped with the necessary materials to absorb sound, it still will not work. Grand pianos are of a different breed, and they have specific requirements.
For instance, if the room’s height is 8 feet or more, sound engineers find it best to follow the general rule of thumb, which is to ensure that the total length of the walls of the room is at the very least ten times bigger than the length of the piano. A large grand piano with a length of 8 feet should be in a room that has 80 feet of space or more. That ideal measurement is appropriate for solo playing, but with an ensemble, it is best to have 15 times the piano’s length. That being said, it is also important to remember to look into the room size ratio. It is not enough to just focus on the amount of space but also make sure that it does not have a 1:1 or 1:2 size ratio.
It would be best to avoid square and rectangular rooms if possible as these types of rooms create low-frequency waves making uneven sound whenever low octave notes are played. For instance, when the lowest A of a 7-foot grand piano with a frequency rate of 27.5 Hz cycles per second is played, it would travel into a wavelength of about 41 feet. If the maximum dimension of one of the walls of the room is shorter than 41 feet, the sound will be erratic. Suppose the room is appropriately-sized for a 7-foot piano. In that case, it will resonate better than coming from a 9-foot grand piano using the same space even if the latter instrument has more power and low-bass clarity.
The best comparison would be when using speakers in a room. A smaller speaker would give a quality result than a bigger speaker with more power when used in a small room.
Ceiling Height Requirements
Most sound engineers and acoustic consultants would tell you that designing the room for the best acoustic results would depend on science, musical knowledge, and practicality.
Generally, the higher the ceiling, the better for resonance, but it can be quite tricky too if you are not careful. Some of the things you need to remember are the following:
- It is best to remember not to have a room with a ceiling height that is the same size as one of the lengths of the walls.
- The length of the wall should not be a multiple of two or divided or multiplied by two.
One example would be if you find a 16-foot wall; the height of the ceiling must not be an 8, 12, or 16 feet. If one cannot change the size of the room, different acoustical treatments can help, but the desired effect is less than the quality sound you will receive from an appropriately-sized room.
Positioning the Grand Piano in the Room
There are many private homes with grand pianos placed in an area without considering its acoustic implications. Most of them just focused on the aesthetics that it would bring to the room. Grand pianos are such fine musical instruments that should be well-preserved as much as it needed to sound great when played.
They should be positioned strategically in the room to acquire the best sound as well as protect it from any sudden climate changes that can harm the instrument. It is common sense to never place the grand piano or any piano under direct sunlight. While having it near a window may look aesthetically pleasing, the heat of the sun would easily damage it. Avoid air vents as any temperature changes affect the instrument. It has to be placed beside an inner wall with a straight edge against it. A 45-degree angle in a corner of the room is an alternative site. However, make sure that you position the piano in such a way that the pianist will be able to see the rest of the room instead of having him face the wall.