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"Muteing" a piano

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by rdagit, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. rdagit

    rdagit Member

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    Ok, so yes, another piano question... The Director decided that it was an excellent idea to have the piano for the music we're doing to be in the middle of the stage... And it is (of course) to loud in comparison to the actors on stage at times... Group numbers are ok, but some actors don't have singing voices quite yet, and it suffers a bit. And we have no wireless mic's for the space, just shotguns, PCC's etc... so no way to individually mic the actors...

    So, one of the problems I think is that it's a baby grand, and they have part of the lid open so that we can use the Piano's stand, but it is removeable, so I know re-installing this peice will help some... but I need more of a cut...

    My idea was to put Fabric Batting, or egshell crate batting (for beds) underneath the piano, there is space to put it there without it being to much of seeing issue... Does anyone have expereince with using either and which works better? is there something else that one can do, maybe to the actual piano (which wouldn't cause damage) that might help this situation...

    Thanks for everyone's response...
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Saratoga Springs, NY
    How long do you have till the show opens? The reason I ask.... most places never put a real piano on stage anymore, usually the build a shell of a baby grand and drop a keyboard in for the keys. Run a feed off of it, and you are set and have full control.

    I realize this is probably not feasible, but its an option for the future. The padding approach will work, but it will affect the over-all sound of the instrument. It will flatten out the sound of everything.
  3. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
    Portland, Or.
    Yell at the pianist to play softer.
    Close the lid.
    If desperate you could install some 1" thick foam to the under side of the lid, with < gasp> Gaff tape. This will no doubt freak the musical director to no end.
    You could install foam < and I'm talking "foam rubber" not rigid foam here.> under the sound board. you have access to the under side of the sound board beneath the piano. Typically therre is space between the framing members and the wood of the sound board by stuffing some soaft foam between there you can kill a lot of the extra volume.
    Be prepared to fight with the Pianist over all of these descisions. If possible tell the pianist to play everything with the Una corde pedal depressed, some even lock on for just this situation.
  4. Thefoxygranpa

    Thefoxygranpa Active Member

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    If they are an experienced player they should be able to play at almost any level. There's also a pedal that will dampen....:rolleyes:
  5. PcPVulture

    PcPVulture Member

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    As a professional Tech you never yell, never get upset and always listen to what the director wants, it’s his show, be professional. So what do you do, well, you sit and discuss the problem with the music and acting directors and the pianist, remember, don’t ever prepare for a fight, prepare to stop one by having solutions to all the technical problems before a given meeting and back them up proven methods to advance and improve the directors vision. Also I have learned over the years that “calmness breeds calmness” if your calm, speak in a professional manner with lots of options and “never back anyone in a corner with no way out” you will earn a reputation as a problem solver and that puts you in high demand in the job market. People want people to solve problems not become one. As advised you can use foam or you can use one thing I have tried and that is one of those Plexiglas shields for drums and mic the piano and use monitors, you can also make angle wedges with foam on them to position the pcc’s up at an angle to the actors, because a lot of actors have never been trained to utilize unidirectional boundary microphones. There is a thread in these forums call “How to use crown pcc-160” check that out.

    I hope this is some help to you
    The_Guest likes this.
  6. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Chicago, IL
    +1 on what PcPVulture said. Any chance of getting a nice rug to put underneath the piano? Also, I'd advise taking a good look at Footer's solution. Just getting a baby grand shell and a keyboard will solve the problem instantly, though it might not be feasible in this case.
  7. cjthedj

    cjthedj Member

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    Amen, PCPVulture!

    Put a nice dampening material and put it on the underside of the piano first, and if still too loud put some on the underside of the lid as well. Try to keep it the same color of the piano if possible to keep it from looking unsightly and freaking out any of the staff. :) Unless you have to I wouldn't close the lid on the Piano because it can cause the sounds to reverberate inside the shell and make the piano sound muddy.

    If you can, try to make the piano TOO quiet and mic it so that you have control over it.

    Hope this helps.

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