Grand Piano vs Baby Grand (Differences & Which Is Right For You)

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  • We dive deep into the biggest and the smallest members of the grand piano family
  • Learn about the differences between the grand vs baby grand pianos
  • Find the ideal piano type for you in our full guide.
  • Also, check out our roundup of the best grand pianos available today.

Grand pianos are the most elegant and glamorous pianos in the whole piano universe.

With their endless sonic possibilities, loud and top-quality sound, and elegant looks, grand pianos are the aristocrats of the piano world.

There are many different types of grand pianos, which are classified according to their sizes.

It can be confusing for many people who are not familiar with a grand piano to differentiate the different grand piano types. They not only differ in size but also differ in sonic performances.

The first thing that comes to mind when talking about the grand piano is an elegant, horizontal, and curvaceous instrument of substantial size.

However, there are many subdivisions in the grand family that you need to learn about if you are considering buying one or just to have the culture.

In this article, we will go deep into the grand family to learn the differences between the baby grand piano and the grand piano.

Also check out our article How Many Keys Does A Piano Have (All Types)?

What is the Difference Between A Grand Piano And A Baby Grand Piano?

The grand piano family has many subdivisions, classified according to the size and sound performance of the piano.

The biggest piano of the family is the concert grand piano, while the smallest is the petite baby grand. After the petite grand comes the baby grand as the second smallest of the family.

There are two main differences between a baby grand piano and other grand pianos.

Baby grand and petite baby grand pianos are the smallest and are 4 feet 10 inches to 5 feet 6 inches long from the keyboard to the tail.

Other grand pianos are longer and can range between 5 feet 7 inches to 8 feet 11 inches and more.

The size is not the only difference between baby grand and other grand pianos. The sonic performance is also different as the string size and the space affects the sound dramatically.

Grand pianos sound louder, more resonant, warmer, and deeper than baby grand pianos.

The key action and the feel of the keyboard are also slightly different as the hammers of grand pianos are bigger compared to the baby grand’s hammers.

So, the player has more control over the tonal quality, dynamic range, and color.

The final difference is the price; as the piano gets bigger, the price does too.

Types Of Grand Pianos

Petite Grand Piano

Petite grand or petite baby grand pianos are the most miniature pianos in the grand piano family. Their sizes vary from 4’5” to 4’11”.

They are the most affordable grand pianos, and their sound is less resonant, warm, and quieter compared to other grand piano models. 

Baby Grand Piano

Baby grand pianos are the second smallest and most affordable models in the grand piano line. They are around 5 to 5’8 feet long and are highly versatile.

As they have a great combination of size and sound, they are great choices for average-sized living rooms to be played by professionals as well as recreational music lovers.

Professional Grand Piano

The professional grand pianos or full-size grand pianos are 5′ 9 to 6′ 2 feet long. Professional grand pianos are the middle-size grand pianos to which people mostly refer when they say grand pianos.

They have great resonance, and dynamics align with a natural and warm sound.

Music Room Grand Piano

Music room grand pianos are the medium to large size grand pianos which are around 6’3” to 6’10” feet long. They are popular for home concerts as they have great sound, resonance, and dynamics.

They are mainly found in schools and universities. Plus, they have a rich professional sound and are a magnificent living room centerpiece.

Semi-Concert Grand Piano

Semi-concert grand pianos are the second-largest grand pianos and are around 6’11” to 7’8” feet long. They are ideal professional pianos for public performances in concert halls, recording studios, and ballrooms.

They are quite loud and have fantastic sonic qualities with warm, clear, natural, and dynamic sound.

Concert Grand Piano

Concert grand pianos are the largest grand piano, and they start from 8’11” feet and go above 9 feet long. Their sound is as good and warm as a piano gets as they have the largest tail.

Their sound is magical with great dynamics, amazing resonance, warm qualities, with natural tones. They are the most expensive grand pianos in the grand family.

Differences in Size

Grand pianos are classified according to their size, which heavily affects the sonic qualities and performances of pianos.

The smallest piano is the baby grand piano which is 4’5” feet to 5’8” long. The biggest ones are the concert grand pianos which start from 8’11” feet and go above 9 feet long.

Almost all pianos have 88 keys since the 88-key keyboard became a standard in the 1880s. So, the width measurements do not vary much with different grand piano types.

The measurement that determines the size is the length from the keyboard to the tip of the tail. 

When the size of the piano is bigger, the strings get longer, and the space where the sound resonates gets bigger, resulting in better resonance, warmer, and more natural sound.

Differences in Sound

The size is not the only difference between the grand and baby grand pianos. Longer strings and larger soundholes for the strings to vibrate, provide a warmer and deeper sound along with more resonance.

So, the sonic performance of bigger grand pianos is better compared to baby grand pianos.

Bigger soundholes amplify and enrich the sound significantly as the longer strings vibrate stronger and better.

Bigger grand pianos deliver better overtones for a richer sound. That is another reason for the high price of bigger grand pianos.

So, baby grand pianos have flatter tonal quality and smaller sound due to shorter strings and smaller soundholes.

You can check the video to hear the difference in the sound and see the differences in sizes of grand and baby grand pianos to have a better opinion.

Differences in Key Action

Larger grand pianos feature longer hammers and keys.

As the hammers that strike the keys are longer, the kinetic energy is bigger with the longer mechanism, giving the player more control over the dynamics, sound quality, and color.

That is why concert grand pianos are the most professional pianos for professional players to show their total control and skill over the instrument.

Due to the grand piano key length, hammer length, and string length of bigger grand pianos, pianists prefer the feel of larger grand pianos over baby grand pianos.

Baby grand pianos are ideal choices for living rooms and houses, while larger grand pianos are more suited for larger places like ballrooms, music rooms, halls, and concert rooms. 

But the key action also depends on the maker of the instrument.

Overall, a grand piano’s key action feels better compared to baby grand pianos, but the feel can be different with different pianos from different brands.

Differences in Price

The price of grand pianos depends on the grand piano type and the brand. Usually, the larger the grand piano is, the higher the price tag, but there can be different prices from different makers.

Petite grand pianos are the most miniature and most affordable grand pianos, and the price ranges between  $7,000 to $20,000.

Baby grand pianos cost between $8,000 to $50,000 and are the most popular choices for living rooms.

The professional grand pianos or parlor grand pianos have prices between $10,000 to $50,000, while the Ballroom grand or music room grand pianos cost around $60,000 to $250,000.

The semi-concert grand and concert grand pianos are the most expensive pianos, with their prices starting from $130,000 and going up to $300,000 and more.

FAQs

What is considered a baby grand?

Baby Grand pianos are the smallest pianos in the range of grand pianos. There are petite baby grand, which are around 4’5” to 4’11” feet long, and baby grand pianos, which are around 5’ to 5’8 feet long.

As they are relatively more compact grand pianos, they are ideal for living rooms and houses.

Baby grand pianos combine the sonic performance, compact size, and affordability greatly, which is the reason behind their popularity.

Does a grand piano have more keys?

Since the 1880s, almost all modern grand pianos have 88 keys, as the 88-key keyboard design became the standard for pianos.

All traditional acoustic pianos today feature 88-key layouts. So, all types of grand pianos, upright pianos, and some digital pianos have the same keyboard with 88 keys.

But modern grand piano key length depends on the type of grand piano as bigger grand pianos have longer keys, hammers, and strings.

Also, larger grand pianos have better key action due to the longer hammers, strings, and keys. Better key action means more control over the sound quality, dynamics,f, and response of the instrument.

What size room do you need for a baby grand piano?

As a baby grand piano is around 4 to 6 feet long and 4 to 8 feet wide, you will need a floor space of 5 feet by 7 feet on average.

Baby grand pianos are ideal for living rooms in houses, as their sound can fill the room greatly, and their size is perfect for relatively small closed spaces.

Which type of grand piano is the best for me?

When buying a grand piano, there are three things to consider; the purpose of the piano, the professionalism of the musician, and the size of the room.

Depending on your needs and where you will play the instrument, you can go for a different size grand piano.

For entry-level players who will use the piano in the house, a baby grand piano is the best option.

Baby grand pianos are also ideal for more experienced players who like to upgrade their acoustic piano to a more professional one than an upright piano.

If you are going to use the piano in a larger setting like in a concert hall or a ballroom, then a larger grand piano like a professional or parlor grand piano can be a great choice.

For professional pianists who are after a top-notch concert piano in large places like halls, concert grand pianos are the best choices.

Wrapping Up

Grand pianos are magical instruments with amazing looks and fantastic sound. There are many different types of grand pianos classified by their sizes.

When the size gets larger, the sonic performance of the piano gets better, the keys of the instrument feel better, and also the price gets more expensive.

The main difference between the baby grand piano and the other grand piano types is that the baby grand is significantly smaller and more affordable.

But, larger grand pianos have better sound with warmer, more natural characteristics as well as more resonant and more dynamic sound.