All of us have played pianos where the tone was so uneven from note to note that it’s impossible to play a beautiful phrase. We may try to remember how each individual note sounds and try to adjust and create the illusion of a smooth melody line but this takes much of the enjoyment out of making music.
Pianos don’t have to play like this. They should and can play how we want them to; each note a beautiful singing tone that matches its neighbors perfectly.
By resolving tonal issues we can free the player to concentrate on the music alone. In a way we can make the piano disappear from the artists mind leaving only the music.
Many players are unaware that their piano’s tone can be adjusted so that tone is even from note to note and that the general tone of their piano can be changed from bright to mellow or visa versa.
Voicing is the process of adjusting tone primarily by needling the felt of the hammers in order to change their density. Other adjustments such as leveling strings so that each of the multiple strings on a single note are struck equally by the hammer and making certain that the strings are seated properly on every contact point, together with voicing comprise what we call tone regulating. I can say that I’ve never tuned or played any piano, no matter how seemingly perfect, that couldn’t have been improved by additional voicing and tone regulating. This is an area that receives far too little attention and one that I specialize in.
Piano tone is also profoundly affected by piano touch. A heavy touch makes us work harder for a given tone or volume, giving us the impression that the piano lacks power.
On the other hand because it takes so little effort to produce a loud tone on a very bright sounding piano that the touch may seem lighter than it actually is. Also, uneven touch can be just as distracting and troublesome as uneven tone. Since tone and touch are so interdependant I suggest that you also read the touchweight section to gain a fuller understanding of what it takes to make a piano play the way you want it to.
registered piano technician