Although playing the piano can be music to your ears, it is not always that way for your neighbours – especially if you need to do a lot of repetitive practice. But don't worry; we've compiled some of the top ways to quiet your piano to help you practice without disturbing those around you.
There are several things one can try to reduce the sound of a piano. Consider hiring a technician to voice down the piano or place the piano against a wall. Using a practice pedal can also help. Additionally, one can place a rug underneath the piano and other dampening material behind the piano
In this article, we'll discuss the following methods to make your piano quieter:
- Use A Practice Pedal
- Use A Silent System
- Place The Piano Against A Wall
- Put Pillows Or Blanket At The Back Of The Piano
- Put A Carpet Underneath The Piano
- Soundproof The Room
- Have A Technician Quiet The Piano
- Close The Piano Lid
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1. Use A Practice Pedal To Quiet A Piano
A practice pedal is available on many upright pianos, which may be used to practice quietly without disturbing your neighbours. If you are unsure whether you have one, check the number of pedals on your upright.
If your upright piano has three pedals, you almost certainly have a practice pedal. In this case, the practice pedal, also called a muffler pedal, will be the middle pedal. On the other hand, if you have only two pedals, you do not have a practice pedal.
When this pedal is depressed, a rail will lower a thin piece of felt between the hammers and strings. As a result, the hammer's strike will be impeded, resulting in a significantly lower volume and mellower sound.
You can even install a muffler rail in a grand piano. However, it is recommended that such work be left to the professionals.
To learn more about piano pedals, check out my article Why Do Pianos Have Pedals & How Do The Pedals Work?
2. Use A Silent System To Make A Piano Quieter
Rather than reducing the volume of your piano, there is a way to silence it entirely. Sound counterintuitive? You're probably asking yourself, “What's the purpose of that?”
Well, with new technology, the piano can be silenced entirely when played; however, you will still be able to hear it via headphones.
This new technology is called the silent system, and it works by installing bars that stop the hammers from hitting the strings, thus eliminating the sound.
The note and velocity, i.e., how hard or soft you pressed the key, are detected by optical sensors, which then convert those digital signals into audio output. The best part of this technology is that you can still enjoy the feel of an acoustic piano.
Additionally, if you are bored with the sound, you can change the output to a different sample; for instance, you can change it from a standard upright to a concert grand piano with exceptional reverb.
This technology does have a downside, though. Unfortunately, you will be removing the acoustic sound from the piano (only when the system is switched on), in addition to it costing a fair bit of money.
You could, alternatively, invest in a digital piano. To learn more about digital pianos, check out my article Are Acoustic Or Digital Pianos Better? Pros And Cons Of Each.
3. Place The Piano Against The Wall To Quiet The Sound
The piano's location in a room has a significant impact on the sound. If you have an upright piano, most of the sound will come from the back.
So, placing your piano directly near or even against a wall is a great way to reduce the sound of the piano, as the wall will absorb a large portion of the sound.
Of course, there will be resonant frequencies that end up being amplified by the wall material. However, since the piano is already on the floor, it's already sending mechanical vibration through the structure to begin with. The overall effect of having a piano up against (or directly next to) a wall will be that of reduced volume.
Be cautious, though, to never place your piano in an area with direct sunlight, even if it is for a few hours a day. Exposure to sunlight can cause harm to your piano over time.
4. Put Pillows Or Blanket At the Back Of Your Piano
As we mentioned before, most of the sound of an upright piano comes from the back, where the soundboard is. So, placing pillows or blankets behind the piano is a great way to dampen the sound.
Additionally, you can invest in acoustic blankets to place them behind your piano. If you can cover as much area as possible, you will be able to dampen the sound even further.
5. Put A Carpet Underneath The Piano To Quiet The Sound
Putting a rug under the piano has long been a popular practice among piano owners, as it helps to reduce sound. Make sure, though, that the carpet placed beneath the piano is not too thin. If possible, try to use the thickest carpet available.
Or, if you are willing, consider buying a carpet that will be suitable for placing underneath the piano. Similarly, foam or other insulating materials can be placed under the piano as an alternative to carpeting.
6. Soundproof Your Room To Quiet The Sound Of The Piano
In general, the more objects you have in a room, the more sound is absorbed. This absorption of sound is particularly noticeable if you have things such as professional acoustic panels, thick curtains and sofas in your room.
Therefore, you should replace your curtains with thicker ones and add as many rugs and sofas to your room as possible.
This isn't technically soundproofing. Rather, it's acoustic treatment. However, any sound energy absorption via acoustic panels or otherwise can help reduce the overall sound that escapes the immediate listening environment.
Actual soundproofing is a bit more difficult. You can also hire someone to assist in converting a designated room into a soundproof room. However, this solution is not cheap.
7. Have A Technician Quiet Your Piano
Over time the hardening of the hammer felt causes the piano to sound brighter. Having your technician or tuner voice down the piano, which involves needling the hammers, will result in the piano having a more rounded, mellow sound and a slight reduction in volume.
8. Close The Piano Lid To Quiet The Sound
Closing the piano lid is one of the best solutions for quieting the sound if you have a grand piano.
With a grand piano, you can close the lid in two ways; in the first case, you could close the lid but leave the fly lid open; or you can remove the music rack and close the lid entirely. Among these two options, the latter will produce the quietest piano sound.
There are several methods for reducing the volume of your piano. However, some of these options are dependent on how much money you're willing to spend. This isn't to say that the other solutions aren't viable; it is quite the contrary.
For instance, the correct placement of your piano and the use of other absorbent materials are all efficient techniques to reduce sound. Try out these methods and see which ones work best for you.
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