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Topic Options
#2014043 - 01/13/13 06:45 PM grand piano makes strange sounds by itself
zapper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/13
Posts: 77
Hi Everyone,
I have bought recently a new acoustic grand baby piano and have a question. Is it normal for a piano to make some kinda cracking noise by itself from time to time? What can cause it? I heard it twice already watching a movie and suddenly my piano "has spoken" smile It's relatively laud, short cracking sound.
thanks

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#2014044 - 01/13/13 06:47 PM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: zapper]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
No, this is not usual.

You might check the structural integrity of the floor!
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2014056 - 01/13/13 07:14 PM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: zapper]
Maxtor Offline

Bronze Supporter until Jan 01 2013


Registered: 08/14/11
Posts: 182
This is a job for a very important specialist.
You need to start by hiring a young priest and an old priest....
wink

On a more serious note, the post above is correct and it is worthwhile to consider the piano's placement. A floor should easily hold a piano, but the word "should" contains no promises. Is the piano near any air vents or windows? Air currents or large temperature changes could cause some interaction with the wood. How long has the piano been there, and has it been played much or tuned since delivery? Some problems could be manifest in the sound or could be discovered by a technician, but that all depends on the location of a problem.

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#2014064 - 01/13/13 07:37 PM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: zapper]
zapper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/13
Posts: 77
Interesting, never thought it could be floor. It's hardwood though so it's possible indeed.
The piano is about 6 feet from the fireplace and about the same from the window in my leaving room,
its standing there 6 months already and so far has been tuned once. It's not been played that much,
and hour maybe every other day or so.

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#2014070 - 01/13/13 07:51 PM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: zapper]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
My sister used to make strange sounds when she was all by herself. Oh, that's right, she was talking to herself.... Sorry, couldn't help myself again.....
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2014076 - 01/13/13 08:01 PM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: zapper]
Maxtor Offline

Bronze Supporter until Jan 01 2013


Registered: 08/14/11
Posts: 182
The tuning and playing sounds perfect, and it's good to hear that it's getting regular use smile

If the fireplace is used, the dry heat from a fire could cause the problem. If the fireplace is not used, then some cold could still get inside through the fireplace's vents (but probably not much assuming the vent is closed). I would estimate that heat or dryness from a fire would be more of a worry if it can get to the piano, assuming you use the fireplace.
It is certainly something to ask the tuner about the next time they visit. The piano should still be under warranty too, so the dealer should be able to provide some advice or feedback over the phone and could troubleshoot with you.

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#2014082 - 01/13/13 08:16 PM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: zapper]
backto_study_piano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 516
Loc: Australia
What sort of movie was it? Horror?
_________________________
Alan from Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert - she's 7'4" long and ebony) & 2 Allen Organs [long story - the first is for sale] - MDS312 and CF-15.

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#2014106 - 01/13/13 09:13 PM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: backto_study_piano]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5429
Originally Posted By: backto_study_piano
What sort of movie was it? Horror?


http://youtu.be/eaO_Y8DN0L4
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2014132 - 01/13/13 10:11 PM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: zapper]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3175
I have an old chest of drawers, and it constantly "creaks" as the temperature/humidity changes. It has done that for years, several times a day/night.

Its been in the family for decades...we are used to it. I assume it is a wood joint that is expanding/contracting, and "snaps" back and forth to its two positions.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#2014133 - 01/13/13 10:14 PM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: zapper]
victthoe Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/13/13
Posts: 7
Loc: Banned
This is a job for a very important specialist.


Edited by victthoe (01/13/13 10:23 PM)

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#2014157 - 01/13/13 11:36 PM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: zapper]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4437
Loc: San Jose, CA
My floors make noises when no one is walking on them. The flooring 'floats' over the subfloor; it is not nailed down or attached at the edges, and this is so it can adjust to changes in the environment without buckling. I was skeptical about this when we installed it, but evidently there was some sense to it. And, the piano's soundboard is actually made to transduce mechanical movements into audible sounds, so some small wood noise could sound a lot louder than you would expect, thanks to its help.

Pianos like a nice, steady, even environment--- in a perfect world. Since you would have mentioned it if the plate were breaking or the strings had popped off, it's probably the wood adjusting to changes in temperature and humidity from day to night, and over the seasons. The steadier you can keep the temp and RH, the better off you will be.

We're always suspicious of fireplaces and HVAC vents here at PW (but I have both in my music room). The further you can distance the piano from sources of heat and cold, drafts and dust, the better. If it's not possible, screening the piano from the heat or draft is a help. If the fireplace is disused, see if the flue is closed off--- it can make a pretty good draft, if not. There is actually such a thing as a fireplace screen, a movable ornamental screen, which was used back in the day to screen people from uncomfortable direct heat if they were sitting too close to the fireplace. You might still find one, or make one. If the side of the piano nearest the fireplace feels warmer to the hand than other parts, it might be good to do something about it.

If the piano says anything else, write back immediately, and tell us its exact words.
_________________________
Clef


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#2014179 - 01/14/13 01:14 AM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: zapper]
musicpassion Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1111
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: zapper
Hi Everyone,
I heard it twice already watching a movie and suddenly my piano "has spoken" :)thanks

Yeah, I can never get those player systems to work right either.

On a serious note, no it's not normal.
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

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#2014214 - 01/14/13 03:29 AM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: zapper]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3803
Loc: Northern England.
I had an old Broadwood grand. It`d sound off in the middle of the night, a loud crack. Was probably the soundboard; the instrument came out of a barely heated church hall and went into a centrally heated living room.

It was not best pleased..
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes � but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2014270 - 01/14/13 07:41 AM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: zapper]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12146
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Sounds like it could be fluctuations in humidity and/or heat. You may want to consult with your technician about installing a Dammp-chaser system. Perhaps even before that, see what the humidity is in the room over a period of days and see if it's stable. If not, try putting a humidifier in the room to normalize things a bit. If this helps, then I highly recommend the Dammp-Chaser - it is a great help. Especially in colder climates where there are wide swings in humidity and temp over the year.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2014386 - 01/14/13 11:53 AM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: zapper]
Thrill Science Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 530
Loc: California
Do you know where your cat is when you hear these noises?
_________________________
Robert Swirsky
Thrill Science, Inc.

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#2014411 - 01/14/13 12:25 PM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: zapper]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I still think it's my sister.... smile
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2014529 - 01/14/13 04:16 PM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: zapper]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1974
Loc: Philadelphia area
First you have to rule out ancient burial grounds and the need for "Ghost Busters". Then it could be new strings settling.


Edited by Dave B (01/14/13 04:18 PM)

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#2014612 - 01/14/13 07:53 PM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: zapper]
woodfab Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 383
Loc: Stoneham, MA
Cracking noise usually indicates that it's drying out to much. You should keep the humidity at at least 40%

I have an 12 year old Chinese made 5' grand.

Within the first couple of years the case has partly separated from the rim on both sides of the piano.

I feel that in this case the separation was most likely due to not conditioning the rim and the case properly prior to assembly.


Edited by woodfab (01/14/13 07:59 PM)
_________________________
Dan (Piano Tinkerer)

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#2014613 - 01/14/13 07:57 PM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: zapper]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
RH of 40-50% for pianos, people, and furniture is ideal.

Consistancy is the goal and there are various ways to achieve it.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2014634 - 01/14/13 08:44 PM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: Minnesota Marty]
piano joy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/28/11
Posts: 807
Loc: Florida
Are you 100% certain it's the piano?

Our kitchen floors make loud, sharp cracking noises and I've realized it's the settling of the foundation underneath.
Can't wait to see how THAT will show up someday..... crazy
_________________________
I don't care too much for money. For money can't buy me love.
-the Beatles




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#2014660 - 01/14/13 10:10 PM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: zapper]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8583
Loc: Georgia, USA
Well, my grand piano made a strange noise a year or so ago... of course I was playing it at the time. Turns out it was a string breaking in the upper treble.

Ouch!! Not a sound that was very pleasant... smile

One of the hazards of the piano, I guess... smile

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#2014746 - 01/15/13 03:27 AM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: zapper]
JohnSprung Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1570
Loc: Reseda, California
Zapper, where are you located? Speculation has run to climate, so it would be helpful to know. Any earthquake faults or landslide areas nearby? Make and age of the piano?
_________________________
-- J.S.

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690

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#2015048 - 01/15/13 05:33 PM Re: grand piano makes strange sounds by itself [Re: zapper]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
The Haddorff 5'6" grand I had until last fall periodically emitted a scary, loud "crack" sound. I could never relate the sound to anything in the piano but I'm pretty certain it was the piano, not the floor. The 1923 Steinway O that replaced it has plenty of issues, but speaking out of turn is not one of them.


Edited by AndyJ (01/15/13 05:34 PM)

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