Learn Piano Lamps
- Style of Piano Lamps
- Picking the Perfect Piano Lamp
- The Advantages of LED Piano Lighting
- Early Piano Lamps
- The Need for Piano Lighting
- When a Lamp is Necessary
- Ideal Heights for Different Lamps
1. Styles of Piano Lamps
Before you begin shopping for piano lighting, it's important to understand the various styles of lamps available.
Clip-on lamps attach to a music desk or shelf and stay attached with two felt-lined thumb screws on the back.
Desktop lamps have a weighted felt-lined base to prevent the lamp from tipping. This style has adjustable arms and a swivel shade so the light may be directed to the keys or the sheet music.
Floor lamps work well with most types of pianos. This style has a cylindrical shade with a long arm, and can be placed on either side of the piano with the arm reaching over to illuminate the music.
2. Picking the Perfect Piano Lamp
Whether you are a beginner or you have been playing piano all your life, proper lighting is essential. There are many styles of lamps available for pianos, and your choice will likely depend not only on your budget but the style of piano you own and your home décor.
The best place to begin is considering your style of piano, whether you have a grand piano, an upright piano, or an electronic piano, as each pairs best with a different type of lamp.
The most popular lamp choice for a grand piano is a clip-on or clamp-on style. Clip-on piano lamps attach securely to the top edge of the music desk and remain secured using two thumb screws. These grand piano lights will not damage your piano as the clamps are lined with felt. Clip-on piano lamps are most often used with popular grand piano brands such as Steinway & Sons, Baldwin, and Kawai.
While grand piano lights can be used for other types of pianos, the most popular choice for an upright piano is a desktop-style standing lamp. This type of piano lighting is similar to a lamp you would use on a regular office desk, although it is designed for use with a piano with a double adjustable arm and a swivel shade. This allows you to direct the light where you need it the most, whether you want to illuminate the sheet music or the keys. You will typically seek desktop piano lamps gracing Weber, Suzuki, Kohler & Campbell, and Henry F. Miller pianos.
Floor lamps work well with both grand pianos and upright pianos. They may sit either to the left or right of where either the pianist is seated or the piano itself, depending on the size of the instrument and personal taste. Floor piano lights work well with Yamaha, Casio and Roland pianos.
If you have an electronic piano, you may appreciate either a floor lamp or a desktop style lamp to provide the correct amount of illumination while you play.
3. The Advantages of LED piano Lighting
The most important decision to make when buying piano lights is the best type of illumination. Most types of lamps are available with standard incandescent lighting or fluorescent lighting. Today, most pianists prefer LED lighting, which produces light with no glare. This makes it easier to read sheet music as you play. LED piano lamps are available in all styles, including lamps for grand pianos, upright pianos and electronic pianos. LED lighting has a lower energy consumption and a longer-lasting light, and it produces non-glare, low-heat light. Many LED piano lamps are made with a slimmer profile design which allows for greater flexibility.
4. Early Piano Lamps
In the early days, pianists would play in auditoriums and practice at night with the light of a candle. This posed safety risks and made it harder to read the music because of the additional glare of the flame. Eventually musicians began to use this same concept with a cover placed on the back of the candle to reduce glare and focus the light of the flame onto the music and keys.
The rise of electricity took away the risk of fire, but the same glare problems developed. Covers and shades were then used to remove glare, making for more comfortable playing. Vintage piano lamps made in these styles are available for traditionalists, but they are usually much more expensive. Modern lamps are plugged in or powered by battery, and LED piano lamps often clip on to the music stand to be as unobtrusive as possible.
5. The Need for Piano Lighting
Piano lamps are used to illuminate sheet music and the keys of the piano while the pianist is playing. These lamps specifically serve the playing area even when room lighting may not be brilliant enough to properly illuminate the area.
Piano lamps are usually used to light up the work space when room or venue lighting may be too dim. The main feature of modern piano lights is the hood used to reduce glare so the pianist can avoid eye strain or any hindrance in their ability to see the music or keys. Some people purchase lamps as a way to display the piano decoratively in the home. Many lamps are designed to add beauty as well as function.
6. When a Lamp is Necessary
There are serveral situations in which a pianoist may realize they need a lamp:
- If the player finds him/herself straining the eyes to see the sheet music
- If it takes squinting or putting on reading glasses to see the music
- Notes are frequently misinterpreted in unfamiliar pieces
- When planning to perform in venues already known to be dark
- When giving piano instruction
7. Ideal Heights for Different Lamps
The best lamps for piano lighting have adjustable heights, but many truly vintage piano lamps often lack this feature.
LED piano lamps are often fairly short, standing at less than six inches so that they may be clipped onto the music stands of grand pianos.
Desktop piano lights for upright pianos are typically 10 to 12 inches in height, and may be adjusted at the neck.
Many floor lamp models are placed on the floor to the side of the piano, and they can provide light at nearly any height the player desires.