What is a Grand Piano?

Grand_piano_TampaYou’d have to be living under a rock to not know what a piano is. However, it’s understandable if you’re not clear as to what a grand piano is. What sets it apart from a standard model? What makes it different? That’s what we’re going to talk about in detail here today so there will be no more confusion.

For starters, this type of piano has a horizontal frame and horizontal strings. The strings stretch out away from the keyboard, relying on gravity to set the strings back at rest after being struck. Now, there isn’t just one type of grand piano. There are several. The distinctions are largely based on sizing. Let’s take a look at each:

Concert Grand. This type of piano measures between 7-10 feet long.

Parlor Grand. This type measures between 6-7 feet long.

Baby Grand. This type is the smallest of all the grands and measures at 5 feet long.

So, why would someone opt for a huge concert grand when they can get the smaller baby grand and experience the same quality sound? Actually, you don’t get the same quality of sound. The longer a piano is, the longer its strings are. And the longer its strings are, the richer its sound is. Shorter pianos tend to have a greater amount of inharmonicity, which detracts from the richness of the tone and leaves the listener considering it to be harsh or sharp.

This is particularly apparent when playing several octaves at once. The notes are narrow. On a smaller grand piano, the octaves have to be stretched to accommodate for the inharmonicity but this creates other problems and creates imbalance among the octaves. This is why opting for the full sized concert grand is so wonderful because stretching octaves still results in a completely harmonic sound. It will always sound brilliant and rich, never dull or too sharp.

This is not to say that the baby grand doesn’t have its place. It certainly does. The sound is still richer than any keyboard out there and its small enough to fit in most homes, making it perfect for practice and everyday use. When it comes to performance, however, the concert grand is preferable because it’s full sized and provides the truest of true harmonics. The listeners will get the full experience that was intended when the music was first written. That’s reason enough to spring for a grand piano, don’t you think.