How to Choose a Piano for Your Home
Choosing your piano should be a pleasant experience. It's an event that the whole family can get involved in and enjoy making a selection. But before you do anything, you should first decide whether you want a vertical or a grand piano. Second whether it would be an acoustic or a digital piano. Finally, decide how much you want to spend. Now, we can start a journey to finding a suitable piano for you.
There are various heights, finishes, and cabinets in vertical pianos to meet your needs. The height of a vertical piano is measured from the floor to the top of the piano. The size (height & width) of the piano is probably the single most important factor influencing its tone quality and the volume. The taller the piano means the strings are longer and the soundboard is bigger producing louder sound. A spinet piano is the shortest of all the verticals and the low costing piano that is between 36" to 39" tall. The next size is the console piano which is 40" to 43". A step up from the console is the studio piano which stands 44" to 48" tall and, for its sturdiness, most often found in schools, studios and living rooms. Then there are professional uprights or so called full size upright pianos in which the heights range from 48" to 52" tall. Some of these taller verticals may have larger strings and larger soundboard than some smaller Grands.
Grand pianos also range in various sizes (width) and finishes. The length of a grand piano is measured from the very front of the keyboard end to the very back of the piano all with lid closed. Grand pianos have become more popular over the years and is enjoyed by the families and owners for generations. The smallest grand is called the baby grand and can start under five feet to 5'2". The baby grand is very popular for its small size and usually fits into many of the family's living rooms. The next size up is the medium grand which runs from 5'3" to 7'2" and has much larger soundboard with longer strings. The medium grands are the favorites of piano teachers for the tone it produces and the volume. Music schools, universities and serious amateurs also favor the medium grand. The largest grands are the concert grands which runs from seven foot to nine foot. These pianos are mostly used in concert halls, auditoriums, public performances, and churches.
Both the grand and the vertical pianos come in various finishes and decors. Whether you choose the finish and decor to match your furnishings at home or simply get a contrasting one, it will look just as beautiful.
Vertical vs Grand
What are the main differences between the vertical and the grand?
Other than shape, size and cost difference, the most important aspect is the action of the piano.
In grands, the strings are held horizontally and hammer hits the string from below and drops right back. This means the movement of the hammer is in the same direction as the gravity. This allows faster repetition and better tone and expression control. In vertical pianos, the strings are held vertically and the hammers hit the strings from the side. So, the hammer movement is across the gravity. Therefore, in general, vertical pianos produce slower repetitive notes.
If you decide to purchase a grand, we recommend that you purchase the high quality grand if possible. Buying a lower quality grand can disappoint your higher expectations. If high quality grand is not feasible, purchase a tall vertical that has longer strings and a bigger soundboard.
Digital pianos are bought for various reasons; it does not require tuning, it can easily be moved from place to place, it has bells and whistles that you can have fun with, some have recording and playback devices, and most of all you can get one as low as $1000.00. However, digital pianos cannot replace the traditional acoustic pianos in tone and touch. Although, digital piano sounds have been recorded with the real instruments, it cannot compare with the good quality acoustic pianos. For musicians who enjoy getting different instrumental sounds (strings, woodwinds, etc...) a digital piano might be the one for you. A musician who also play in bands and in other musical groups might get a full use out of digital pianos.
Here are some basic piano words that are frequently encountered. These terminologies will help you to understand more about the piano.
Action: Any kind of mechanism used in instruments as a means of transmitting the motion of the fingers to the sound producing parts.
Dampers: A small pieces of wood mechanism that is covered with felt to terminate the vibration of the strings.
Hammers: A mechanism that strikes the strings to vibrate and make sound.
Pedal: An action that is operated by the feet.
Pinblock: Many layers of wood that holds the tuning pins which holds the strings.
Resonance: The transmission of vibrations from a vibrating body to another body (two tuning forks of the same frequency with the same pitch)
Resonator: A hollow Chamber that permits to serve to reinforce sounds by resonance.
Soundboard: The wooden surface over which the strings are stretched, which serves as a resonator.
Tone: A sound of definite pitch and duration, as distinct from noise. A beautiful tone on the piano means a beautiful sound.
Tuning: Adjustment of strings in the stringed instruments.
Tuning Pins: Made of steel and anchored into pinblock, tuning pins hold strings.
Touch: Force and weight of the finger when it is in contact with the key.
The Piano- A Brief History
As an instrument the piano has evolved over the years to become a universally accepted solo and ensemble instrument.
The piano has a long and historical past, dating back to the 18th century and beyond. This article explores the technological advances that made it possible.
The first true piano was invented in the early 1700's by Bartolomo Cristofori of Florence, Italy. Up to this point the harpsichord had been a mainstay of musical composers across Europe. In the early years of the 18th century, however many composers and musicians wanted to see the harpsichord evolve into an instrument that had more easily controlled dynamic range and speed. Cristofori solved this problem by becoming the first to successfully create a working hammer action to replace the plucking action common in the harpsichord.
The new hammer action allowed the performer to play at various dynamic levels, a feat all but impossible with the plucked nature of the harpsichord. In fact, Cristofori's first successful instrument was named the gravicembalo col pian'e forte, or harpsichord with soft and loud. This instrument was later further improved by Sebastien Erard with his invention of a new kind of hammer action which allowed for notes to be played even more rapidly than with Cristofori's original design.
The next major step in the evolution of the piano did not come until 1825 with the addition of a solid metal frame on which the strings were stretched. This new frame allowed other changes to be made to the instrument which in the end brought the piano to the form in which we see it today.
Today's pianos can be found in a variety of shapes and sizes from the more compact upright piano in which the strings are strung in an up and down direction to save floor space to the massive full grand pianos which can measure seven feet long or more. A more recent iteration is the electric piano, often called a Clavinova, which uses electronic circuitry and a speaker to recreate the sound of an acoustic piano or many other instruments. All pianos today also have three pedals, two for sustaining the pitch of notes in various ways and one for muting or muffling the tone of the instrument.
© 2006 Chad Criswell
Great Pianists of the 20th Century
Lyubov Bruk & Mark Taimanov, Robert Casadesus, Shura Cherkassky, Van Cliburn, Alfred Cortot, Clifford Curzon, Gyorgy Cziffra, Christoph Eschenbach, Edwin Fischer, Leon Fleisher, Samson Francois, Nelson Freire, Ignaz Friedman, Andrei Gavrilov, Walter Gieseking, Emil Gilels, Grigory Ginsburg, Leopold Godowsky, Glenn Gould, Friedrich Gulda, Ingrid Haebler, Clara Haskil, Myra Hess, Josef Hofmann,
Great Classical music Composers
Phone: (778) 835-0446