Shortened from the word pianoforte, pianos originate around the 1700s and have been used in a wide variety of musical pieces and songs. There are several types of piano, the two main ones being the grand piano and the upright piano, both of which also have many styles and variations.

Grand Piano

The longer strings in a grand piano produce a richer sound and lower inharmonicity, which is more easily perceived as harsh tones in pianos with shorter strings. Full sized grand pianos are generally used in orchestras and concerts for the best quality sound and smaller grand pianos are perfect for teaching and even in households.

The grand piano is likely the most recognisable style and comes in three different forms: the concert grand, the parlour/boudoir grand and the baby grand. Each of which is distinguished by their size, with concert grand being the largest at around 2.2 and 3 metres, the parlour/boudoir between 1.7 to 2.2 metres, all the way down to the baby grand, which is approximately 1.5 metres.

Upright or Vertical

Studio pianos are usually around 107 to 114cm tall and anything taller than this is considered an upright piano.

Unlike grand pianos, upright pianos have vertical strings and are much more compact in design. Cheaper than their grand piano counterparts, the upright piano has found its way into churches, homes and are used as practise instruments in schools and universities.


Electric and digital pianos do not use strings like the traditional pianos, but instead, use synthesisers to simulate piano sounds and rose to popularity after their repeated use in pop and rock music. Additionally, digital pianos can imitate several instruments that can be selected while playing to create various sounds, allowing players to get creative.

They must be connected to an amplifier speaker to produce sound, although some models have built in amps and speakers to avoid this. Alternatively, electric pianos allow users to connect headphones to the instrument so as not to disturb others while playing.