How to Get a Round Tone on the Piano

by Steven French
Playing with the left pedal depressed creates a softer sound.

Playing with the left pedal depressed creates a softer sound.

Jupiterimages/ Images

Most pianos are designed with the same basic qualities, such as the arrangement of the keys and string-striking mechanism. One way in which different pianos can vary, however, is their tone -- the quality of the sound they produce. You can create a broad range of sounds on most pianos from a harsh, bright tone to a soft, round one by using different playing techniques. If your piano still sounds too bright, you can have the hammers softened by a professional piano technician. This process is known as "voicing" the piano.

Step 1

Place your hands on the keys and play a piece of music or a few notes.

Step 2

Strike the keys as softly as possible and notice that the sound becomes softer and "rounder" as you lighten the pressure with your fingers.

Step 3

Depress the far left pedal with your foot and hold it. This pedal is known as the "soft pedal" and moves the hammers so that they strike fewer strings for each note, creating a softer and rounder sound. You can depress the right (sustain) pedal with your right foot while holding the soft pedal to give the notes extra resonance.

Step 4

Play a piece of music or a few notes with a combination of a softer striking technique and the soft pedal and listen to the softer, rounder sound the piano makes.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your piano still sounds too bright after trying the techniques above, call a piano technician and schedule an appointment. Explain to the technician that you would like a rounder tone and ask if they can voice the piano for you.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images