After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
- Aldous Huxley
The acoustic piano recently celebrated its 300th birthday!
The powerful piano is capable of sweet soulful sounds, or thunderous crashing chords. It finds a place in homes and halls, educating, inspiring and soothing. These pianos—a seemingly ordinary combination of felts, strings and soundboard—are more majestic that the sum of its parts. Available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, each is capable of centering us with music, and expressing the inexpressible.
So, choosing the right piano is an important decision. If chosen carefully, it will last generations, and will increase in value, because the fundamental design has changed gradually over the years. The “right piano” for you may last 80 to 100 years, so carefully examine the brands, reputation, construction and the various sizes/shapes. If possible, choose a “golden name” that will last, and will give you pleasure when you play it, and even when you walk past it.
Several categories are available:
An artist grand
Usually between 6’ and 9’ long, powerful enough to fill an auditorium with sound. Memorable brands include STEINWAY, MASON & HAMLIN, BECHSTEIN, BALDWIN, BRODMANN and BOSENDORFER
An entry-level to mid-size grand
Usually between 4’7” and 6’ long, with the visually-striking appearance of a grand lid propped open. Various brand names include BRODMANN, YAMAHA, KAWAI, PEARL RIVER and HARDMAN
A professional (vertical) studio piano
Usually 48” to 52” tall, with the musical power of a small grand, positioned vertically to conserve space. Available as new, used or refurbished. Most notable are Yamaha and Kawai; other important studio pianos include PEARL RIVER, BRODMANN, HARDMAN, HOBART & CABLE
An American furniture-style console or spinet
Usually 36” to 44” tall, built to harmonize with the décor of a home. Long-standing names include BALDWIN, KIMBALL, PEARL RIVER, YAMAHA, KAWAI, WURLITZER, and others
A Player Piano, usually a grand: these have “88 fingers that play automatically” so you have live piano music at any time of the day or night. These player-pianos play by receiving note info from a CD-player, an iPod or iPad, or a sumptuous visual display from a built-in Macintosh computer. There’s even a 24/7 “Internet Radio” wireless option
So, look over the brand names, and determine which is suitable for your musical tastes and budget.