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music light: brightness & color temperature?

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  • music light: brightness & color temperature?

    How bright is your music rack light (in lumens), what is its color temperature (°K), and how do you like it?
    Alternatively, if you could order the perfect music rack light, what would you want for brightness and color temperature?

    Here's why I'm asking: I'm finishing up designs for four music rack lights, one each for my church's pipe organ, grand piano, and digital piano, and my own practice clavier. My reasons for building them myself include:

    • My eyesight is terrible, and I need very bright lighting to see my music.
    • I've never seen a music rack light that extends the full width of my music racks (34"–43"), and I regularly play from scores that are up to five 8½" wide pages across.
    • Even if I could find a suitable product, I couldn't possibly afford it at the prices I've seen for smaller ones..
    • I like making things!

    My designs are based on LED light tape, which is available in a variety of brightness and color temperature. Each lamp will have a dimmer, so it's okay if the maximum brightness is too much. I even found LED light strips with adjustable color temperature, but the controllers are way too expensive. The electronics for all four will cost $40–$50 per unit. I'll make the housings & mounts from scrap wood & PVC pipe, and maybe a few dollars worth of hardware.

    My design currently calls for roughly 1,000 lumens across 34"–43", but that's based mainly on guesswork. The LED tape comes in 16' rolls, so I can't afford to buy several kinds and try them out.

    I really don't know what the best color temperature would be. My research indicates that "warmer" light (lower color temp.) promotes relaxation, and "cooler" light (higher color temp.) promotes concentration. In other words, if I wanted a light for reading, the best color temperature would depend on whether I was reading for pleasure before going to sleep, or reading a textbook and trying to learn something. I have chronic eye strain, so I really don't want to exhaust my eyes while practicing. But I also suffer from chronic sleep insufficiency, and falling asleep on the bench is counterproductive.

    Anybody have any thoughts on this, based on either theory or experience?


    -- Ed

  • #2
    Frankly I find anything above 4,100 degrees to be way too blue and fatiguing for long periods so I stick with 3,100 to 3,500 degrees.
    Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand. Allen RMWTHEA.3 with RMI Electra-Piano; Allen 423-C+Gyro; Britson Opus OEM38; Steinway AR Duo-Art 7' grand piano, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI; Hammond 9812H with roll player; Roland E-200; Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico grand piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with MIDI, Allen MADC-2110.


    • #3
      I agree, the warmer the light the better. Blue light is fatiguing and makes it hard to sleep, especially if you practice at night. If you're falling asleep at the organ bench, it's time to pack it in no matter what colour temperature the light is! I've been there too! I even use incandescent bulbs at home because I find it too hard to get LED's that are warm enough. My current glasses also filter a lot of blue light.

      Be careful with your design that you have heat dissipating materials like metal close to the LED strip. They get very hot! If it's just wood and PVC, the PVC could melt, and the wood start on fire! If you buy a $20 LED under counter lamp, you see they mount the LED strip in an aluminum heat sink, and wrap that in plastic.

      Current: Allen 225 RTC, W. Bell reed organ, Lowrey TGS, Singer upright grand
      Former: Yamaha E3R


      • myorgan
        myorgan commented
        Editing a comment
        Give me my 2 oil lamps any day! ;-)


      • EdStauff
        EdStauff commented
        Editing a comment
        Actually, Christmas Eve I have to play "Silent Night" by candlelight, so years back I made myself a pair of 3-candle floor-standing candlabrae. No longer provides enough light, but I've got that hymn memorized.

    • #4
      Mr. Stauff,

      Check this post regarding the brightness of lighting: I knew I remembered Larry posting it.

      Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
      • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
      • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
      • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos


      • #5
        For those without light built into the music rack, I've used the following because it has 3 brightness settings, 3 color temperature settings (I use daylight during the day & warm in the evening), it fits just right over the plexiglass music rack yet leaves room for tall-ish scores, and matches the color scheme of my practice area:

        I don't use the Bluetooth or features but they do raise the lamps high enough to work well as a music rack light.
        Last edited by myorgan; 10-29-2022, 12:12 PM. Reason: Clean up extraneous URL.


        • #6
          Everyone has different needs and tastes when it comes to color temperature, as well as brightness. For music I find I need kinda bright, but warm color temperature to be happy. I have two organs that I put the regular old style "piano lamps" on, but replace the incandescent bulbs with LED ones. The bulbs are only 2200K, but at 40 watts equivalent each, you get an 80 watts lamp, and that's plenty bright enough for me. It also seems that the light "quality" is clearer ( somehow - I can't exactly explain it well ) than with incandescent bulbs.

          I always keep on the lookout for those lamps at garage sales and so on. I like that traditional style, particularly on older consoles where they seem to fit with the era. While the lamp does not cover the entire music desk length, the light certainly does. I much prefer having the light shine down from above, than having it coming up from the bottom. To use those lamps you often need to make up a spacer to get them high enough to clear taller music.

          The bulbs I am using in those lamps are these :
          Regards, Larry

          At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), US-1, EL-25 ( Chopped ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755. 1919 Wangerin 2/7 pipe organ.