I once heard you talk about how your dad soundproofed your practice room at home. I've just moved into a new apartment, and though the walls are thick and I don't have any wall-neighbors, the sound travels up the wall and bothers an at-home writer 4 floors above me. What should I do? I don't want to muffle the piano too much but instead would rather attempt to "sound-proof" the room. What do you think about foam? I am open to any and all suggestions.
Blisteringly Bombastic (not really) in Berlin
My dad's form of soundproofing was nothing more than mattresses hauled up from the basement and placed around the piano. It didn't really work and my family members remained frustrated by the bombast.
You could hire a professional acoustician. Soundproofing is a tricky job, so much so that people spend years in school studying the science behind it. They could offer you better advice than me! One thing I've seen repeatedly in soundproofed apartments: the piano is elevated off the main floor. Apparently, the main conduit for the sound to reach other apartments is the legs of the piano and the floor. With this in mind, you could try putting the piano on, like, three thick rugs.
I own an electronic keyboard (Yamaha P90). Really, it's not as bad as you might think! It's designed for classical pianists and it has several functions which are surprisingly handy (various Baroque-style tunings, recording capabilities, and several fine-tuning sound adjusters). I use the keyboard for composing (because it connects to my computer) and when I want to spares my neighbors from the bombast.
You're in a sticky situation. Flowers, chocolates, and baked goods may help diffuse the emotions with your neighbor!