4. Types of Piano
There are two basic types of acoustic piano, with many sub-categories: the grand and the upright. The grand piano varies in size from the 1.5m baby grand, to the parlour grand (approximately 2m), to the concert grand, which can be up to 3m long. The frame, strings and soundboard are placed horizontally, and the hammers strike upwards from below the strings, returning to their rest position by force of gravity.
The size of grand piano you opt for depends on several factors, the most obvious being space and cost. Larger pianos have longer strings, which tend to sound better. However, they also tend to be louder, which makes them ideal for orchestral performance, but makes them less suitable for daily practice at home.
Although considerations of space and volume force many to opt for an upright, grand pianos do have several advantages. Not least of these is the repetition mechanism, not found in upright pianos: when a key is played quickly and repeatedly, the repetition lever holds the hammer close to the string, rather than allowing it to return completely to its rest position.
The upright piano is designed to fit up against a wall so as to reduce the amount of space needed. The frame and strings are placed vertically, extending from the base of the piano to its top. Where in a grand, the hammers strike the strings vertically from below, returning to their original position by gravity, an upright's hammers strike horizontally and are returned to their rest position by springs, which can be prone to wear a problem not encountered with the grand piano.
The obvious advantages of the upright piano are its compact size, relatively low cost and lower volume, all of which make it generally more suitable for home use.