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A place of honor for the piano.

An old wives' tale admonishes the homeowner never to put a piano near an outside wall. But in the West, where most climates are mild and relatively stable, we can--using just a little common sense--put pianos and organs wherever we like. Some palces, though, seem more fitting than others. Here and on page 116, we show a few.

The first thing to remember about placing a piano is obvious: that you need to treat it like the fine wood furniture it is.

Avoid spots a window--the ultraviolet rays can fade your piano's finish. Also avoid places where moisture collects, since some of the key-action parts are of unfinished wood and can absorb humidity; these then swell, squeezing the felt bushings and making pins sluggish. Ideal humidity is between 20 and 60 percent.

Like people, pianos prefer temperatures ranging from 60 percent to 90 percent. Make sure any heat sources near them don't get too hot; otherwise, the wood can dry out and the finish blister. The backbone of any piano, its cast-iron plate, will also expand and contract if exposed to significant temperature changes, causing the instrument to go out of tune. In extreme cases, the soundboard can crack.

As to the old wives' tale, if you do live in a fluctuating climate and ant to put your piano near an exterior wall, make sure the wall is well insulated and any nearby windows well sealed. For the extreme humidity of Hawaii, the grand piano pictured at left is equipped with a low temperature electric "piano blanket.c

When you decide where to put your piano, there are accoustic considerations as well as questions of temperature. You can, to some extent, manipulate the tone of your instrument by the size of your room and its furnishings.

A grand piano in a large room with hard surfaces will have a "bright" or highly amplified sound. (In planning the platform shown in the top photograph on page 114, the owners wanted the sound to be heard in every room.) For a rounder tone, the use of carpeting and draperies night be advisable.
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Date:Feb 1, 1984
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