Are There Different Pianos Made for Different Types of Music?

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Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Are there different pianos made for different types of music? Are there rock pianos, classical pianos, jazz pianos, new age pianos, or ragtime pianos? Some people say a Yamaha piano is best for rock to be able to get that bright sound that cuts through. Can you play rock music on a Steinway? It can be done!

Let me give you a parallel: Computers.

Are there computers made for business, computers made for photography, computers made for music, computers made for video? To some degree, yes. However, any high powered computer can accomplish any of those tasks. A gaming computer might have a beefier graphics card, but any computer can do any job. Some might be a little bit better suited to certain tasks, and some types of applications require more processing power of one sort or another. To a certain degree, the same is true with pianos.

A great deal depends upon the voicing and regulation of the instrument.

You could take a piano like a Steinway, which you think of as having a rich warm sound that maybe gets a little bit of growl when you really lay into it. But if you harden the hammers you’re going to have a really aggressive sounding piano. That might be appropriate for some classical pieces, but it also could be great for ragtime or rock. So there aren’t necessarily pianos that are built for different styles of music. However, the voicing of a piano has a lot to do with how appropriate a piano may be for certain styles or certain players. For example, Vladimir Horowitz played on a super bright piano. Of course, he was a classical pianist. You might wonder why he wanted a bright piano. With his unique technique of sitting low and playing very delicately, he could control that very bright piano and get all different colors from warm to bright, just from the amazing control he had. On the other hand, my father, Morton Estrin, always liked to have his piano voiced on the warm side. He liked that he could play powerfully and never overdrive the piano into a harsh sound. Yet he could still get that beautiful, warm tone when he was playing delicate pianissimo. So any piano can be voiced one way or another.

There could be some pianos that are more appropriate for certain styles.

For example, sometimes European pianos with their bell-like, clear tone can be just wonderful for Mozart. They have a nice, clear, crisp sound. Where an American piano like a Mason & Hamlin, or even a Steinway, may be a bit thick for that sort of music. If you’ve ever heard the original forte pianos from Mozart’s era, it’s a dramatically different sound from a modern piano, particularly the fat sound of a Steinway. So there is some validity to choosing pianos for certain styles of music. But the voicing, and more importantly the playing, will determine which pianos will be appropriate for your music. I’m Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.

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6 thoughts on “Are There Different Pianos Made for Different Types of Music?”

  1. Think about a bar in the Wild West. They played a certain kind of music on the piano inside. And the piano was always slightly out of tune (or more), and that gave a unique sound to that style of music. You know, honky-tonk music. It just wouldn’t sound right if the piano were in perfect tune. So I couldn’t just play that sound on a piano suited for classical (which must be in tune), and it would have to be de-tuned to sound right! Just something to think about.

    1. There is a certain charm to hearing some styles of music on out of tune pianos since back in the Wild West, piano tuners were scarce. However, if you’ve ever heard Scott Joplin played on a fine piano, it is quite beautiful!

      1. I haven’t heard Scott Joplin himself, not even by recorded piano roll, but I’ve heard his music played on a fine piano, and I totally agree with you. And hope someday to play at least one rag. Oh, and by the way, you play some mean rock and roll! Amazing! I couldn’t do it if my life depended on it.

      2. I played in many bands years ago covering just about every style you could imagine! I also produced any style people asked of me in Music House Recording Studio which I owned and operated for many years.

    1. I hadn’t heard of Griffen piano until your comment. I looked in the definitive Pierce Piano Atlas which lists all piano brands from all time around the world and it’s not in there. I also searched on Google and there is nothing on this piano brand. It is a mystery!

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