Pianos are well established as classical musical instruments. In fact, you could go as far as saying that the piano is the most important musical instrument in recent history, often being the instrument used to compose some of the greatest musical pieces were ever written.
It is widely agreed that three centuries ago an Italian harpsichord builder names Bartolomeo Cristofori created a new and innovative mechanism that gave his harpsichord the ability to be played with dynamic variations – hence the modern piano was born.
Since then, the piano has gone through many variations in terms of shape and size, although continuing to rely on the same functionality of that which was created by Bartolomeo so many years ago.
Some of the biggest names in piano making were born in the 18th and 19th centuries. This includes Broadwood & Sons being founded in 1728, as well as Steinway & Sons, Bluthner and Bechstein all becoming established in the year 1853.
In more recent times pianos are commonly found in two categories: Horizontal or Grand Pianos and Vertical Pianos.
Grand pianos are often referred to as horizontal pianos due to the placement of their strings and their length. When you imagine a horizontal piano, you probably conjure images of large concert halls filled with the quality sounds of a concert grand piano.
It is believed that horizontal pianos create a better sound due to their finer tones and more responsive key action. There are six main types of horizontal pianos, categorised by their size. These include:
Petite Grand (the smallest ranging from 4ft 5″ to 4ft 11″)
Steinway, Bluthner and Bechstein amongst other brands make their smallest piano from 4ft 5 inches.
The only piano smaller than this is the Sygnet from Edelweiss, which is 4ft 2 and the world’s smallest piano available, also known as the Apartment Grand.
Edelweiss Coral Sygnet
Baby Grand (4ft 11″ to 5ft 6″)
Baby grands are easier to find and although smaller can be very decretive and have the same impact as a concert grand. A great example if the Chappell baby grand in our showroom.
Chappell Baby Grand
Medium Grand (5ft 7″)
At just a foot larger than a Baby Grand at its biggest the Medium Grand is still relatively smaller in size.
Parlor Grand (5ft 9″ to 6ft 1″)
This size is also known as the Boudoir Grand, a nice example can be seen with the Schiedmayer Grand Piano in our showroom
Semi-Concert Ballroom (6ft 5″ to 7ft 5″)
A semi-concert ballroom piano is designed for music halls and performances in theatres. It can also be a piano for home use at a more compact size than the concert grand.
Concert Grand (the largest of the grand pianos at around 9ft)
The largest piano by far this reaches 9 feet. It is built for large concert halls where the acoustics are suited to its incredible sound. Smaller spaces can distort the notes.
Each size is typically used for different scenarios, for example, the Baby Grand is a popular piano for home use due to its affordability, practicality, and sound quality.
Vertical Pianos also known as Upright Pianos or Standing Pianos
Unlike horizontal pianos, vertical pianos will span upwards rather than the bulk of their mass being across their length. These pianos are popular due to their practicality, making it easier to fit them into smaller spaces.
There are four main types of vertical pianos. These include:
Upright also known as Standing Pianos
The tallest of the upright pianos with a typical height of 50 to 60 inches and an approximate width of 62 inches
Slightly smaller at around 45 to 48 inches in height, but still offering a reasonable level of sound quality.
These pianos are usually 40 to 43 inches tall and use a direct action that sets them apart from the smaller piano the Spinet.
This style of piano is popular with those with limited space, the Spinet is typically 36 to 38 inches in height and 58 inches in width making it up to 8 inches smaller than the Console and 15 inches smaller than a standard upright!
Typically, when picking which piano is right for you it is about getting the right mix of price, sound quality and size. Most modern homes are unable to fit some of the larger horizontal pianos such as the Semi-concert and Concert Grand. These pianos are also expensive and usually only used in special venues.
Smaller pianos such as the Petite Grand and Baby Grand are a better option in most modern cases. For example, the Edelweiss Sygnet is the world’s smallest baby grand piano which has been specially designed for the modern home.
There are many sizes and shapes to consider when buying your piano. Which one is right for you will depend on a mix of budget, location and desired quality of sound? Our dedicated team offer home visits to check room acoustics, setting and sizing of a new piano for your home. We also offer piano floor templates to help you determine where best to place your piano in the home.
Speak to our team about a home visit at firstname.lastname@example.org