What is piano voicing?

Do you find your piano’s sound too harsh or too muffled?

Voicing or toning is the fine adjustment of the sound of your piano, broadly speaking how bright or mellow it is. With careful work we can fine tune the attack of the hammers to give you full dynamic control, from pianissimo to fortissimo.

Voicing is one of the more rare and skilful elements of our work. We re-shape the hammers to correct wear, fit them accurately to the strings and finally adjust the tensile structure of the hammer by inserting needles at precise points. It may also involve treating the hammer to harden it if required.

It is a common observation that some well-known and first class pianos from the Far East seem very bright & loud, they do not need to be. Most large-scale production pianos come from the factory “unvoiced” giving a neutral palette for the pianist to work with their technician to obtain their preferred tone.

Piano tone is subjective to an extent but there are some rules of thumb; a concert piano should be clear and powerful but never clattering or clanky (known as a “bag of nails” in the trade). Some C.19 Blüthner pianos were conceived as ‘Salon’ pianos, to have a warm, round, unaggressive sound suitable for the drawing room.  The objective is to find the tone the piano is best capable of and was conceived for. A pub piano should sound like a pub piano!

Most of all, the compass should be even in tonal response giving a neutral, homogeneous palette from which the pianist can create their own sound & find all the dynamics they require available to them.


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