We went over to visit my niece the other day and stay at her beautiful country home in Fort Worth Texas. There, she and her husband raise a few dogs and chickens and have just the most wonderful home. Her Husband Shane is a local piano tuner and we got to talking about some of the old instruments they have in their garage and that lead us down a very interesting rabbit hole about the differences between grand pianos and baby grand pianos. So I wanted to through together a post about this because I found it very interesting.
The first thing that you should know is that both pianos have eighty-eight keys standard so they don’t skip out on any octaves and they can both be played into a full spectrum of sound. The second thing to keep in mind is that both grand and baby grand pianos have the same standard width. So really the only difference between the two is the length. The part of the piano that goes behind the keys. Or from the keys to the back of the piano. Now, this is where the differences start to change the pianos dramatically. Because there is not just two sizes for grand pianos. There are nine-foot grand’s, concert grands, and even very small “grand” pianos that are only four or so feet in length and could easily fit inside of person’s small apartment!
So this got me thinking about an experiment that we could perform on Shane’s different size pianos that he had in his garage. And to see if I could tell the difference in a blind test without knowing which one was which.
Shane said i would be able to tell right away what difference was because the size of the strings plays such an important role in the sound quality and size of the sound that is made by the instrument. One major difference, he said, was that the length of the strings would make a much “fuller” sound because of the overtones you can get from the longer strings. But interestingly, you can actually get a much softer and more delicate sound from the larger size pianos than the smaller sized pianos because of not only the length of the strings but the length of the hammers and all of the moving mechanisms inside the piano. With the proper technique, a large grand piano can sound much more gentle than a short baby grand.
This extra color in the sound is caused by the longer strings having more surface area to pick up the vibration of the note you hit and these vibrations can also slightly shake the strings that are in tune with the not you just played. Creating that full and warm sound that you hear when a large grand piano is played. The larger the housing and length of the strings the more opportunity for that note’s sound to vibrate those other strings and give a great overtone sound.
So we decided to have some fun and play the two pianos for me and my husband and see if we could tell the difference. And after he had explained to us the difference, we could tell immediately! It was incredible how different the two pianos sounded when played with that knowledge in mind. Really great demonstrations and we had a lovely time visiting them and talking shop with Shane about grand pianos and his Piano Tuning Business. Check him out if you are ever in the area, he really knows his stuff!
I'm Judy, and since my Husband and I retired we have been Traveling the country Sowing the seeds of a life experience and meeting great people along the way! this is my Blog about sharing experiences, sharing love and the tending the garden of your life!