When it comes to musical instruments, the piano heads the top of the list as a well-loved crowd favorite. Basically a percussion instrument with notes; anybody can learn to play the piano and play it well. From light tinkling to sonorous bass overtures, the sounds from a piano evoke human emotion as only music can.
Most traditional pianos have 88 keys and measure five feet wide but differ dramatically in height and length. For example, the smallest upright piano, called the spinet, is only two feet deep. While the biggest, a concert grand, can measure up to nine feet long!
As a general rule, traditional pianos are divided into two basic classifications: upright and grand. Upright pianos come in four different types; spinet, console, studio, and full or professional. Grand pianos come in five distinct categories: petite, baby, parlor, semi-grand or ballroom, and concert.
There are many types of pianos, both upright and grand, available on the market today. Each piano type has its own distinct features and choosing one for yourself will depend on a few considerations. Aside from the cost, the other factors to think of are room size, player height, and the sound you desire.
Table of Contents
- Types and Sizes of Upright Pianos
- Types and Sizes of Grand Pianos
- Tips for Taking Care of a Piano
- Related Questions
- Summing It Up
Types and Sizes of Upright Pianos
Spinet Upright Piano
The spinet upright piano is by far the smallest upright piano you can find. Relegated mainly as a decorative piece, the spinet has a weaker sound compared to its bigger and taller counterparts. Therefore, this instrument would be suitable for a young child just beginning to experience the joys of making music.
The spinet valiantly stands at a diminutive 36-39 inches tall and is 24 inches deep. A spinet piano bench is also smaller by about 5 inches compared to a standard 30-inch long piano bench. Both the spinet and traditional piano benches stand at 19 inches tall.
Console Upright Piano
Next to the tiny spinet is the console upright piano, the most common type of all upright pianos. Its action is found directly under the keys making this piano very receptive to a player’s touch. A feature that makes the console a popular choice is the variety of wood colors and available finishes.
The console upright piano measures 40-44 inches in height, is 58-60 inches wide, and 24 inches deep. At 44 inches, the taller console pianos also feature longer strings which make for better and richer sound quality.
Studio Upright Piano
Studio upright pianos are a favorite in schools, churches, and centers for social gatherings. These pianos are practical and fulfill the purpose of having a reliable musical instrument without any accompanying bells and whistles. This instrument would be the perfect piano for a beginner piano player.
The studio upright piano stands at 45-49 inches tall, is 58-60 inches wide, and 24 inches deep. The main difference between the console and the studio upright pianos is the placement of the action. With its full-sized upright action, the sound quality of the studio is infinitely better than that of the console upright.
Full or Professional Upright Piano
The full or professional upright piano is the largest upright piano of them all. You may find these elegant instruments in small live music venues, concert spaces, recital halls, or even your grandparents’ house. In fact, this upright has rightfully earned the moniker “grandma’s piano,” due to its prevalence in older, stately homes.
The full, or professional, upright piano measures 50-60 inches tall, 58 inches wide, and 24 inches deep. With its considerable height and large soundboard, the full upright boasts the best sound quality of all the upright pianos.
Types and Sizes of Grand Pianos
Petite Grand Piano
The “baby” of the grand piano family is not the baby grand but rather the petite grand. Occasionally grouped together with the baby grand, the petite is in a category all by itself. This piano works excellently with players with a light touch, such as beginners or young children.
Being fairly diminutive compared to its counterparts, the petite still stands 40 inches tall and weighs a considerable 400-500 lbs. At 53-58 inches long, this little beast of an instrument has 88 keys and the standard width of 58-60 inches. The practicality of the petite is it can fit in smaller rooms than traditional, larger grand pianos cannot.
Baby Grand Piano
You can find the baby grand piano gracing many boutique hotel lobbies and in the storied homes of the well-heeled. It is also the dream instrument of many piano players who work hard to have one in their living room.
A typical baby grand piano is 65-75 inches in length and about 36 inches tall. With the requisite 88 keys, the baby grand measures 58-60 inches wide. At 500-600 pounds, the baby grand weighs more than even the largest upright piano.
Parlor or Living Room Grand Piano
The parlor grand piano is the smallest of the concert grand pianos. Appropriately named the “parlor” or “living room grand,” this piano is a favorite in expansive estate homes. You may also find it in many small-scale event venues and recital halls for live performances.
The parlor grand is about 69-79 inches in length and generally stands at 40-44 inches tall. The standard width of 58-60 inches also applies to the parlor grand. At 750 pounds, this respectable instrument weighs at least 150 pounds more than the baby grand.
The parlor grand piano produces a wonderfully rich sound that is comparable to the concert grand. Because of this trait and its relatively compact size, it is a prized instrument in music venues with smaller stages.
Ballroom or Semi-Concert Grand Piano
As its name suggests, the ballroom grand piano is a favorite instrument in many grand ballrooms everywhere. Aside from the rich notes it produces, this instrument also provides an unmistakable decorative aspect to any large hall. Even with no one playing it, this beauty is a sight to behold.
Just short of being a concert grand, the ballroom grand is 78-89 inches long and 58-60 inches wide. It weighs an impressive 900 pounds.
Concert Grand Piano
With its sleekness, immense size, and stellar sound quality, nothing holds a candle to the absolutely marvelous concert grand piano. This instrument is the pinnacle of all the grand pianos. Any concert pianist worth his salt prefers the concert grand over any other instrument there is.
The concert grand piano can range from 90 to over 108 inches long. The largest concert grand you can find on the market today is 114 inches long, which is over nine feet.
This magnificent instrument weighs anywhere from 950-1,200 pounds. Most concert grands have the requisite 88 keys, but there are some that feature up to 108 keys.
Tips for Taking Care of a Piano
Whether you own a spinet, a large upright, or a grand piano, they all need proper care and maintenance. Regular maintenance ensures that your piano stays in excellent shape, and you can derive enjoyment from it for many years.
Tune Your Piano Regularly
A piano’s pitch falls and rises constantly due to the soundboard contracting from humidity and temperature changes. Have your piano tuned at least once a year for good measure. If you move a piano from one room or building to another, you must tune it.
Position Your Piano Well
A piano is not just any piece of furniture that you can place anywhere according to its owner’s whims. Constant temperature and humidity changes can significantly affect this substantial yet sensitive instrument. Therefore, position your piano where it is not directly in front of a window, door, or air vents.
Placing your piano in the path of direct sunlight or air currents will significantly affect the sound it produces. The metal workings in the soundboard may corrode, while the wood finish may warp and crack under unstable air conditions.
Do Not Touch the Inside of the Piano
Wiping and dusting your piano’s exterior is advisable, but reaching inside to clean is not. You should leave all the strings and inner components in the care of a certified piano technician.
Play the Piano Frequently
Play your piano frequently. This will ensure that you will notice small problems before they escalate into anything big. At the same time, your playing will significantly improve the more you do it.
Are old pianos valuable?
Unlike antique furniture, antique pianos do not hold much monetary value in the market today. A well-maintained old piano may fetch $300-500, if you’re lucky. Many pianos’ intrinsic value lies in the sentiment handed down from one generation to another.
Where can we find the biggest piano in the world?
The biggest concert piano ever built is found in Ventspils, Latvia. It stands at almost 20 feet tall, housing 16-foot strings sans any wood casing around it. Pianists have to climb a flight of stairs in order to play it.
How much is a grand piano?
Brand new grand pianos range from $7,000 for a basic model to over $200,000 for a concert grand. You may also be able to find second-hand grand pianos for much less. These would cost $2,500-4,000 for a petite and up to $40,000 for a good, used concert grand.
Summing It Up
If you find yourself in the market for a piano, remember to take into consideration the size of the room you want to put it in. Research established piano brands, visit piano stores and check out the varying sizes and sounds. Sit on the piano bench and let your fingers do the talking while your ears listen.
Once you have made your decision and bring that piano home, expect years of enjoyment, perhaps frustration, at times. But in the end, your piano will become that faithful, melodic, home companion in the many years to come.