Piano voicing allows the owner to get customized sound from their piano. The same piano can have different sound output depending on the size of the room where is played. Voicing helps to regulate the sound coming from the piano so that you get quality sound in every location.
Hammers are the part of the piano that are manipulated in piano voicing. The hammers give each piano a distinct sound when it is played. There is no set standard for piano voicing. It is done to the preference of the owner and can be altered whenever the owner prefers a different sound.
The voicing process involves making the piano hammers softer or harder. Soft hammers land softly on the strings producing a soft sound. To increase the sound and tone, voicing needs to make the hammer tips a bit harder.
The tip on soft hammers that is made with soft cotton material is a covered with a diluted lacquer solution. This works to harden the tip just enough to have greater impact on the strings without causing damage. The result is a higher tone and louder sound from pressing the piano buttons.
Hard pressed hammers on the other hand hit the piano strings with great impact producing a loud sound and high tone. Pianos used in enclosed spaces with few audiences may be too loud and require the hammer impact on the strings to be toned down.
Voicing the piano to tone down the hammer impact involves poking holes in the fibers at the tip of the hammer to make it softer. The softer hammer tip has less impact on the string than the harder tip.
Steaming the hammer tips is also another way to reduce the hardness of the hammer tips on a piano. The voicing can also be done by soaking the hammers in special chemicals to make them harder or softer for professional voicing.
Professional musicians can choose to have their piano voiced for optimal performance in a large room with many people. The sound needs to have a high tone and should be loud enough to go through the entire hall. Some of the sound will be absorbed by the bodies of the people in the audience. So, the piano must be loud enough to account for that.
Playing with an optimized piano makes the musical sound from the piano audible to everyone in the room. Failure to voice the piano can cause the piano sound to be drowned by other musical instruments or sounds from the audience.
Pianos played in residential areas don't need to be too loud. Residential voicing is standard on most pianos. The sound is mellow and more rounded, which is enough for enclosed rooms. Occasionally the home piano can be rented out for a concert. This will then call for voicing so that it can be heard in the larger room with an audience present. After the concert, the voicing needs to be toned down again for residential use.