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What is a Piano Lamp?

Updated May 17, 2024
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If a candelabra seems just a bit too formal, but you still need to shed some light on your piano keys and sheet music, you may be in need of a piano lamp. A piano lamp is designed to be attractive, but it's main function is to cast illumination onto the piano keys and the sheet music when there isn't adequate lighting.

A piano lamp can be a tall vertical lamp that sits adjacent to the piano itself, but when most people think of a piano lamp, they think of the most popular style, the type that sits on top of a piano. It can be extremely ornate or very simple, but all piano lamps are hooded to avoid direct glare for the pianist. A piano lamp is available in any any number of different shapes, sizes, and materials. Brass, chrome and other sorts of enameled metals are all popular choices for a piano lamp.

The shelf style piano lamp is usually adjustable, and many feature a weighted base to increase stability. The base might also be made of a fine quality material such as marble, to add beauty as well as function. A practical feature of a piano lamp is a counter-weighted arm, preventing the lamp from getting top heavy regardless of its positional setting.

Piano lamps can be either electrical or battery-powered; some piano lamps clip-on directly to the sheet music. An electric piano lamp is normally designed for either one or two light bulbs of 40-watts or less.

You can purchase these lamps at home furnishings stores, music stores or online. The price of a piano lamp can range from as low as $50 (US dollars) to hundreds of dollars.

Down through the years, the piano lamp has replaced the practice of using candles to shed light and add ambiance during a piano recital. Today's piano lamps may not have the same glowing effect, but they can be very lovely, and are much safer.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By sunshined — On Jul 16, 2011

When my grandmother passed away, I had the opportunity to receive her old piano. My grandfather tuned pianos, so our family has always had pianos around.

I am not a great piano player, but do like to sit down and play when nobody is around to hear all of my mistakes. I found a wonderful antique piano lamp at an antique store that would be perfect to set on top of this old piano.

This piano had been refinished so the wood was a beautiful, warm color and the antique lamp was in great shape. It was the perfect compliment to my grandmothers piano which brought me many memories.

By sunshined — On Jul 16, 2011

When I was looking to add some extra lighting in my bedroom for reading at night, the piano lamps caught my eye. I wanted something that was simple in design, yet give off some bright light for reading.

I set this simple brass piano lamp in the middle of my headboard. It works great because the lighting is perfect and the top of the lamp can be adjusted so the light will shine directly where you want it.

If I want to stay up late and read, I can move the lamp so it does not shine in my husbands eyes when he is trying to sleep. When I am done reading I can just reach up and turn off the light without getting out of bed.

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