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Types of Pianos


Some basic types of pianos are presented below, bearing in mind that a visit to the local piano store would be just as instructive and hopefully more fun.





Piano Makers


Steinway – This company has for decades represented to many the best quality piano in the world.  Steinways are found at many concert halls and piano studios.  They possess a rich tone and often a light but firm key weight.


Bosendorfer – This also very respected brand of piano is especially known for having a few extra keys on the bass end.  While most pianos have 88 keys, Bosendorfers add around nine extra bass keys.


Yamaha – This is a generally high-quality brand that is also used at many concert halls, despite being not generally quite as ‘good’ as the Steinway.  Yamaha’s often have a bright sound.


Kawai – A lower-end piano, but favored by some musicians.


Boston – A relatively new brand of piano, built by Kawai but designed by Steinway.  These pianos have a great, rich tone, and are very good for both jazz and classical playing.


Piano Sizes


Spinet – a small piano with a vertical/upright soundboard, usually 35” to 39” high.


Console – a small vertical piano slightly taller than a spinet, at about 40” to 43” high.


Professional or Upright – the most useful vertical piano, about 50” high, which is tall enough to have a resonant sound board and be used for professional-level practicing and sometimes performance.


Grand Piano – a piano with a horizontal soundboard.  Grand pianos give the pianist a greater degree of control than uprights, such as faster repeated notes and trills, better tone, more responsiveness, etc.  A Baby Grand is any piano 5’7” or under, while Concert Grands are typically around 9’ long.


A Note: Who Invented the Piano?


Bartolomeo Cristofori invented the piano in Italy in 1709, calling it the “pianoforte” for its ability to play both loud and soft.  Despite his great invention, few people took notice of the instrument at the time.  Nevertheless, some German instrument makers followed his idea and began selling to wealthy buyers.  Over time, the many types of pianos developed, from grands to player pianos to shipboard pianos to consoles.



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