Recording Acoustic Pianos

Until about 20 years ago I made recordings right after having my grand tuned and regulated, in the evening. I set up microphones and open reel recorders and did all the editing myself.  It was also hot, since I had to turn of air conditioning while recording. Finally, I had to make sure that I recorded at a time when there were no interruptions and no neighbors would be bothered. It was wonderful when it worked, but more often it was stressful and frustrating.

To this very moment there are people who consider any recording not made on an acoustic instrument as inferior. Period. They are doing roughly what I used to do, although recording equipment is improving all the time.

It’s important to mention briefly that while recordings of very fine players being recorded on superb acoustic pianos are wonderful, it’s a very impractical thing for people with limited space and limited funds. Acoustic pianos used for performance must be treated a bit like a fine race car. They are marvelous instruments, but they need continual attention. This includes regulation, tuning, voicing of hammers, replacement of broken strings and many other things of that nature too extensive and too technical to go into here. All of this is quite expensive.


2 thoughts on “Recording Acoustic Pianos

  1. Reading this makes me appreciate having a (decent) digital piano, for recording. Lots of respect for those who have recorded acoustic pianos. Quite interesting, though.

    I dabbled once in recording violin and had to learn what kind of mike (cardioid), and then that the angle and distance makes a difference in what qualities of sounds get picked up, in which proportion. The piano is bigger and more complicated.

    1. Without any doubt right now is the best time ever for many people to learn to play the piano because of the possibility of starting without paying a great deal of money for an acoustic piano.

      A lot of what used to allow people to learn to play piano was linked to class and money.


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