An acoustic piano that falls down the stairs when it is being moved is a nightmare for every mover. No matter what brand the piano is from - Kawai, Steinway, Yamaha, Casio, Roland or a Nord piano: the instruments are almost always huge and incredibly heavy! However, unlike acoustic pianos, the electric keyboards are relatively lighter and more portable. They are simply an alternative version of the acoustic pianos that work using electricity.
There are two types of acoustic pianos: the upright piano and the grand piano. These are instruments whose strings are struck with a hammer and usually have a wooden frame. There is also a keyboard (which could either be weighted or non-weighted), pedals and usually a music stand.
Would you like to buy a new piano or digital keyboard to make quick progress and soon play the pieces by the great pianists like Chopin, Schubert, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky?
Before you swing into action to buy a new piano, we would like to give you some hints about the size of acoustic pianos or digital keyboards.
What Is A Piano Anyway?
First of all, we should agree on what we are talking about here!
The piano is a high-quality instrument and belongs to the family of stringed instruments. In contrast to the grand piano, the upright piano is strung vertically; the notes are generated by the action of the hammers on the strings, which are triggered by pressing the black and white keys of the keyboard. On the other hand, the digital keyboard performs the same functions as the acoustic pianos using electric components.
The name Piano comes from Latin and is derived from Piano-Forte because, unlike its predecessors, the piano can be played both softly and loudly. You can hit the keys gently (piano) with a pianoforte or let the strings vibrate more strongly (forte). If you let go of the key, the note is detuned because it is muted.
A graded hammer mechanism simulates the scaled weighting of the hammers of acoustic pianos on the digital piano. Scaled weighting means that the keys are weighted slightly more heavily in the bass range than in the tone ranges above. With digital pianos, a graded hammer mechanism is already standard in the medium price segments.
As an electronic alternative to the acoustic piano, the digital piano should have very similar playing characteristics. A graded hammer mechanism or scaled hammer mechanism with differently weighted tone areas is an important element. The electric piano sounds not too different from its acoustic counterparts. With digital keyboards from some of the best brands in Nigeria, you could get almost the same feel and music as acoustic pianos, irrespective of the size.
Pianos are also equipped with pedals that have various effects on the notes. You can lengthen the pedal and add reverb to the sound, or you can dampen the sound. By default, pianos have 88 keys, including 36 black keys - # and b-notes - and 52 white keys. Since the frame is vertical, the strings are also arranged vertically and overlap.
You can place upright pianos against the wall and thus use less space than a grand piano. Unlike acoustic pianos, digital keyboards occupy less space. Pianos also have the peculiarity of sounding better in smaller rooms. Why is it so?
Because the bigger the room, the more the notes echo, like in a church, for example.
The Three Categories Of Piano
A distinction is made between three categories of pianos, which are different depending on the pianist’s desired use, needs, and level. Here is a brief overview of these three categories.
Piano For Beginners
Portable Digital keyboards occupy this category. They are perfect for children and beginners, and they are the ideal pianos to start learning to play the piano. These types of pianos are also well suited for children because of their smaller dimensions. They are much portable and lower in price than a standard piano. There are also smaller pianos you could get as a toy for your baby. It is even better when you start the action as a kid. You can get a piano guide for your child at Superprof. The first lesson is always free!
Also, digital pianos do not have a console. Console pianos have pillars on which the keyboard rests. They only serve an aesthetic purpose, not a practical one. They are more expensive to produce, so beginners would do well not to buy a console. They do not change anything in the sound.
Children and young beginners could, for example, play the Yamaha series B or the portable FP series by Roland. These are typical classroom digital keyboards. But why should you choose a cheaper model for your child?
As a child, you can never know exactly what they might have fun in a few months or years from now. Therefore, it is not advisable to invest more than 900,000 NGN (we recommend lower prices than this) in a classical piano or digital keyboard if you do not know how long the child will continue to play.
These types of pianos are perfect as a first instrument from which a real passion can crystallise. If that is the case, one can still consider buying a new higher quality piano. Remember also to get certain important accessories that make playing at home easier. Such accessories include the pedal, piano stool, metronome, etc.
The Expression Piano
The upright piano and some high-end digital keyboards are found here. They are aimed at experienced pianists, and some of their features, e.g. sound, are comparable to a grand piano. The brands Yamaha, Nord, Casio and Kawai, offer great models in this category. Anyone who opts for this type of piano will enjoy the features and experience a completely different feeling as a pianist, a real elegance in sound. That way, you can make progress and master every key quickly.
The Prestige Piano
As the name suggests, this is a high-end piano suitable for pianists who have already turned their hobby into a profession. The grand piano and baby grand piano occupy this category.
The following features characterise these pianos:
- High precision and clarity of sound
- Good quality and feel of the material
- The reproduction of detailed nuances and all kinds of interpretations
The maintenance of such a valuable object is very complex, and the price can well be over 15 million NGN!
But it is always possible to buy a used piano and thus drastically reduce the cost of a piano. It also often happens that you live in a noise-sensitive neighbourhood, which can restrict you when playing. In this case, it would be advisable to get an electric piano that you can play with headphones and thus not bother anyone.
On a few upright pianos such as those from the brand Nord, the centre pedal lowers a piece of cloth between the strings and the hammers to make the sound very soft and muffled. Here the pedal is referred to as a “practice pedal”, apparently to allow someone to practise the piano without causing a nuisance to other people.
How Much Does A Piano Actually Weigh?
This is a question that comes up again and again when thinking of buying a piano. Because if you want to move a piano from A to B, you often have to sweat a lot. Pianos not only look like large pieces of furniture, but they also weigh so much. Of course, you have to create enough space in your home.
An acoustic upright piano weighs around 120 kg, some 150 kg and some even over 300 kg! But grand pianos still weigh 2 -5 times more, mostly around 700 kg! When moving, you have to equip yourself with castors and always pack the piano carefully not to get scratched.
If you are looking for a lightweight digital keyboard, you will find a large selection of any size of your choice at online retailers or in specialist shops. It almost doesn't matter whether you are looking for a practice keyboard for children or adults; there's always one to suit your need. The seller could guide you to pick the best piano for yourself.
A significant difference in weight cannot be seen, especially with digital pianos for children and adults. The fact is, a device with accessories is, of course, heavier than one without. You can take a digital piano with you almost anywhere to be able to practice undisturbed with headphones. Most portable digital keyboards weigh between 5 - 15 kg. Casio generally produces lightweight pianos and digital keyboards that sounds good.
How Big Are Pianos?
Anyone who has a piano standing around at home usually has a large home with enough space. Because pianos, in general, not just grand pianos, are considered the most voluminous stringed instruments of all.
But is that true?
Some people claim that pianos aren't much bigger than a big screen or plasma television. With a portable digital keyboard, they may be right, though. Here are the dimensions of the discussed piano types:
- Classroom piano: 108-113 cm
- Expression piano: 113 - 122 cm
- Prestige piano: 122-131 cm
The length of a piano is usually standardised at 147 cm - 154 cm, and you should plan a corresponding amount of space in your home. The advantage of an upright piano over a grand piano is that it can be placed against the wall and therefore takes up as little space as necessary. A grand piano, on the other hand, often takes up an entire room!
Besides the fact that playing the piano is fun and teaches you skills and musical understanding, pianos also look great as a decoration in every home. Some people see pianos as more of a beautiful piece of furniture anyway.
What Is The Difference Between A Grand Piano And Other Pianos?
One often speaks of grand pianos, digital keyboards, upright pianos, etc. How are you supposed to find your way around these? The differences between a grand piano and upright piano are relatively easy to understand and depend on various playing factors and the instrument’s sound.
- The shape of the instrument: an upright piano is much more compact than a grand piano. In the latter, the strings are arranged horizontally.
- The piano volume: a grand piano takes up a room of at least 25 m2 to itself. Having that much space available is quite a luxury in most cities these days.
- The sound: grand pianos produce more powerful tones.
- The mechanics: gravity causes the hammers to fall onto the strings on a grand piano, springs have to help with an upright piano.
- Hitting the keys feels much more natural on a grand piano than on other pianos.
- A grand piano has up to 98 keys and thus more octaves than other pianos. These are additional deep, so-called bass tones.
- Therefore, a grand piano offers more potential to interpret tiny nuances better than an upright piano or digital keyboard.
In general, grand pianos are considered to be of higher quality and much more expensive. In any case, it is better to buy an excellent upright piano than a bad grand piano, some of which can sound as hideous as a violin that is out of tune. Yamaha, Nord, Casio and Roland are some of the best piano brands in Nigeria due to the good quality and price of their electric keyboards.
You don't need a MIDI keyboard except you produce music in the studio or on the stage with your laptop. In contrast to a regular digital keyboard, a MIDI keyboard itself does not produce any sounds. A MIDI keyboard is used to control other electronic music devices or virtual instruments - for example, a computer on which instrument software is installed. Thus, the MIDI keyboard serves as an input aid or additional processing device, whereby "MIDI" is the technology of data transmission. One of the areas of application is home recording.
No matter what type of piano you choose, we wish you lots of success and fun learning and practising piano sheet music. Also, playing the piano with instructions from a guide is recommended. You can always find a good piano tutor at Superprof!
Read up why the Piano Is Seen As One Of The Best Musical Instruments