Regardless of the brand, the sound of any piano falling down a staircase is the stuff of nightmares for piano movers. Whether it’s a Kawai piano, Steinway & Sons piano, or one of the many reasonably-priced Yamaha pianos, all piano brands tend to make hefty musical instruments.
This is probably more important than you think it is.
Acoustic pianos are the pianos you’re probably used to seeing and there are two main types of acoustic piano: the upright piano and the grand piano. both of which, unlike digital pianos, have physical parts which require tuning by either piano technicians or a piano tuner.
These instruments include hammers which strike strings, a cast iron plate, a soundboard, and keys. All these physical moving parts are what tends to make them so heavy.
Do you want to buy a piano without breaking the bank? Are you just starting out or do you want to get better at playing the best pieces by Chopin, Schubert, Mozart, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, or Tchaikovsky?
Have you seen a new piano for sale? Don’t reach for your credit card before you’ve read some of Superprof’s information.
Let me first give you a quick crash course on the piano as a musical instrument:
Firstly, the piano is a polyphonic stringed instrument. Polyphonic means it can play more than one note at the same time. Instruments that can’t are known as monophonic.
To keep things simple, we’re going to call the piano a stringed instrument (because it has strings). Some argue that the piano should be considered as a percussion instrument since these strings are physically struck using hammers. If you’ve used pianos before, you’ll know what we’re talking about.
The name piano comes from the pianoforte, the original 18th-century instrument which inspired it. The pianoforte gets its name from its ability to vary the volume of the notes it produces: This is because you can play a piano softly (piano) or loudly (forte).
In addition to being able to change a notes volume, you can also change its duration. A note also be stopped by releasing the key thanks to the damper or elongated to naturally decay thanks to the sustain pedal.
Anyway… As I said before, there are two main types. Let’s start with the upright piano…
The upright piano, also sometimes known as a vertical piano, gets its name because the strings that make the sound are held within an upright (or vertical) frame. The strings in this frame are struck by the hammers which are activated by the pianist when they press down on the keys on the piano’s keyboard.
Only a real piano expert will know the answer. Is this an upright or a grand? (Source: JoyTunes)
The upright piano also features pedals which allow the quality of the notes to be changed. These notes can be extended by using the sustain pedal to move the dampers away from the strings. This action allows the notes to continue even after the key has been released.
A typical piano keyboard includes 88 keys, 36 black keys (semitones) and 52 white keys.
Since the frame is upright, the strings are held vertically. This layout is quite functional if you have limited space since most upright pianos have the advantage of being able to be placed flush up against a wall.
Upright pianos also tend to take up significantly less space than a concert or grand piano since they are smaller and have a rectangular footprint.
Why does an upright piano sounds better in an apartment or smaller spaces? Because the bigger the place, the bigger the notes reverberate. A large room or a hall is far too big for these smaller pianos.
Before you buy an upright piano, you should think about the different types of upright pianos there are.
There are four main types of upright pianos. Upright pianos are divided into classes mainly on their size. However, there are also a few differences when it comes to their layout and shape, too. Here’s a brief summary of the different types of upright pianos.
This is the smallest of the upright pianos. A spinet piano is better suited to children because it’s smaller and cheaper, which is great if you don’t know whether they’re going to continue playing. They tend to measure less than 40 inches in height and the top of these pianos is only a few inches above the keyboard itself.
These pianos are highly recommended for anyone looking for a piano to put in a small room. However, it does come with a few downsides. Generally speaking, while the spinet’s sound isn’t great, it does tend to be much cheaper than some of the other types of upright piano.
A spinet upright piano should be perfect for your little ones. (Source: Krisztina Soos)
The console piano is bigger than the Spinet and tends to be between 40 and 44 inches tall. Teachers and pianists find the sound quality of these types of piano to be good enough for beginners. If the sound quality of the spinet bothers you but you’re on a tight budget, the console piano might be the best choice.
A studio piano measures between 44 and 47 inches from the ground. Again, this piano is thought to have a better sound quality than the two previous types and deciding upon whether to buy one depends massively on your budget.
If you’ve ever seen a piano before, this is probably the type you’ve seen. This is the tallest of the upright “vertical” pianos and the most common. This type of piano tends to produce the best sound of all the upright pianos. It also comes at the highest prices.
The weight is one of the biggest annoyances when it comes to buying a piano and getting it installed in your room.
Pianos can weigh as much as a ship’s anchor! (Source: Briztaker)
An upright piano is basically a piece of furniture. It takes up a large part of any room and is very heavy.
You need to think carefully about where you’d put a piano before you buy one.
An upright piano tends to weight around 260lbs. Some weigh around 300lbs and there are even ones that weigh as much as 600lbs!
However, an upright piano does weight between 2 to 5 times less than a grand piano, which can weigh over 1300lbs!
Before you install one in your house, you’ll need to consider fitting wheels and how you’ll move it.
As we said before, the size of upright pianos varies according to their type. A general rule of thumb:
Spinet: 36” to 40”
Console: 40” to 43”
Studio: 44” to 48”.
Don’t forget to account for the space you’ll need around the piano to actually play the thing!
You’ll need to think about where your piano will go. (Source: Stylo Reformas)
If you don’t have a wall to put the piano up against, there’s no real benefit to having an upright over a grand. Don’t forget you can also get a digital piano if you have very little space.
Digital pianos are a great idea if you’re short on space, live in a small apartment or studio, or don’t want to bother your neighbors. They can also be put away in a cupboard when you’re not using them and played with headphones if you want to practice late at night.
Maybe you’ve already heard of upright pianos, grand pianos, baby grands, petite grand, parlor grand, etc.
How can you tell them apart if you’re an absolute beginner and are just starting to learn the instrument?
The main differences between grand pianos and upright pianos are fairly simple to understand. They tend to affect the instruments playability and its sound. Here are a few things you need to know when it comes to differences between upright pianos and grand pianos:
The shape of the instrument: an upright piano is far more compact than a grand since its strings are held vertically.
The sound: Grand pianos have a more powerful sound.
The mechanisms: Thanks to gravity, the hammers in a grand piano fall naturally onto the strings whereas an upright piano requires springs to stretch out the strings.
The keys feel more natural and fluid on a grand piano.
A grand piano has up to 98 keys and includes lower octaves than an upright.
A grand piano is more expressive than an upright.
The smallest grand piano is the baby grand piano and the largest is the concert grand piano.
Grand pianos are generally considered better than upright pianos thought they’re usually more expensive, too! If your heart’s set on a grand piano, you should probably be looking at a used piano. Don’t forget you’ll need to pay for regular piano tuning, too!
There’s no golden rule, though! Remember that a high-quality upright piano can be better than a low-quality grand piano and that an expensive violin would still sound terrible if played by an amateur! The best piano in the world mightn’t be the best piano for you!
Ask your piano teacher or a sales assistant at the piano store about the best acoustic pianos.
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