Whether you are a student looking to purchase your first piano or a master looking for a new one to replace your current model, then you may have many questions. Understanding the different types of pianos and their parts will help you choose the model that will meet your needs. Additionally, knowing which keyboard fits your space will further help you arrive at a decision.What are the different parts of a piano?
There are many different parts to a piano, including:
- Action: Controlling the lightness or heaviness of the keys, this mechanical assembly must move to allow the hammers to hit the strings.
- Hammer: These parts are small wooden pieces covered in felt that hit the wires when the pianist strikes a key. They increase in size from treble to bass.
- Strings: These steel wire pieces increase in size from treble to bass. Their length, diameter, tension, density, and number determine the pitch that is produced.
- Soundboard: This is a large thin piece of wood that amplifies the keyboard's music.
- Dampers: These are felt-like pieces that quiet vibrations after a key is played.
- Pedals: They control how the dampers and soundboard work with the left normally being for making louder music while the right makes it softer. The middle pedal helps sustain a note.
There are 4 main types of vertical pianos which are classified by their height. They are
- Spinet: These instruments stand less than 40 inches tall and have short keys. Additionally, keys have a rod connecting them to the action unlike other styles where keys connect directly.
- Console: These stand between 40-44 inches tall, and they have direct interaction between the keys and the action. Additionally, they usually have a large soundboard.
- Studio: Standing between 44-48 inches tall, this choice mimics the feel of a grand.
- Upright: Generally older models, these pianos are taller than 48 inches.
Except for a few uprights, grand units are larger than vertical ones. Vertical pianos have smaller soundboards providing less sympathetic vibrations, so they play more softly. Their design makes sound travel up and down where it can escape the unit. Keys can be played faster on a grand instrument. Adjustable lid props on grands can help mute the vibrations when playing with an ensemble or with a vocalist.How do digital keyboards and digital pianos differ?
Digital keyboards are designed to let players create a multitude of different instruments while the other option is designed to mimic the actual playing experience. Digital pianos usually have realistic pitches and are lightweight.