Comparing Grand and Baby Grand Pianos

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The Differences Between Grand and Baby Grand Pianos

The most obvious difference between a traditional grand piano and a baby grand piano is their size. Actually, there are many standard grand piano sizes, the exact measurements of which can vary by manufacturer or location. The following are averages of the most widely accepted across the globe:

Sizes of Baby Grand and Grand Pianos

Concert Grand: 9′ to 10′ (2,75 to 3,05 m)
Semiconcert: 7′ to 7’8″ (2,15 to 2,35 m)
Parlor: 6’3″ to 6’10” (2 to 2,08 m)
Professional Grand: 6′ (1,83 m)
Medium Grand: 5’6″ to 5’8″ (1,68 to 1,73 m)
Baby Grand: 4’11” to 5’6″ (1,5 to 1,68 m)
Petit Grand: 4’5″ to 4’10” (1,35 to 1,47 m)

Tonal Differences Between Grand Piano Sizes

The voices of the best baby grand pianos are nearly indistinguishable from those of larger grand pianos. However, this becomes less of the case as the size of the piano decreases. Many listeners notice the subtle difference between smaller pianos and larger pianos.

The grand piano’s signature timbre is partially reliant on the length of its strings and soundboard (along with the quality and workmanship of these parts). Longer strings allow frequencies to resonate from a larger surface area, resulting in a more balanced, full-bodied tone.

Think of how a guitar string produces a bright, “clangy” tone when struck near the bridge, but sounds mellow and bluesy when struck in its center. This tonal spectrum widens as the string length increases; and as these extremes become further apart, more vocal elements are revealed between them. Because of this enrichment, the voice of a 9-foot concert grand piano is considered tonally superior to that of a baby grand piano.

At the same time, tonal superiority refers to acoustics, not personal preference. If you’re looking for a tone similar to that of a full grand, invest in a model of at least 5 feet 7 inches. Smaller horizontal pianos tend to have exaggerated timbres that can vary with dynamics, or even across octaves.

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