Piano – Modern Types
Todays Modern piano is found in two basic forms: the grand piano and the upright.
With grand pianos, the frame and strings are in a horizontal position, with the strings extending away from the keyboard. There are several different sizes of grand piano. A rough generalization distinguishes the “concert grand” which is between about 2.2 m and 3 m long from the “parlor grand” or “boudoir grand” which is about 1.7 m to 2.2 m and the smaller model known as the “baby grand”.
The longer pianos with longer strings tend to have larger, richer sound and lower inharmonicity of the strings. This is the degree to which the frequencies of overtones (known as partials, partial tones, or harmonics) depart from whole multiples of the fundamental frequency. Models with shorter, thicker, and stiffer strings like baby grands, have more inharmonicity. The longer strings on a concert grand can vibrate more freely than the shorter, thicker strings on a baby grand. This means that a concert grand’s strings will have truer overtones and allows the strings to be tuned closer to equal temperament in relation to the standard pitch with less “stretching” when tuning. Full-size grands are usually used for public concerts, whereas the smaller model grands, are often chosen for domestic use where space and cost are factors.
The action on a grand piano has a repetition lever for each key. If the key is pressed repeatedly and fairly quickly the repetition lever catches the hammer close to the strings. This helps to assist with the speed and control of repeated notes and trills.
Uprights which are also known as vertical pianos, are more compact because the frame and strings are in an up down position or vertical. The hammers move horizontally, and are returned to their resting position by springs. Over time these are prone to wear and tear.
Upright piano models with unusually tall frames and longer strings are sometimes called “upright grand” pianos.
Some authors classify modern pianos according to their height and also to modifications of the action which can become necessary to accommodate the height.
* Studio pianos are around 42 to 45 inches in height. This is the shortest cabinet that can accommodate a full-sized action above the keyboard.
* Console pianos have a more compact action and shorter hammers. They’re a few inches shorter than the studio models.
* The top of what is called a Spinet model barely rises above the height of the piano keyboard. The action is located below and operated by vertical wires attached to the backs of the keys.
* Anything taller than a studio piano is called an upright.