Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Can you hear the difference between an upright and a grand piano? Today I have another listening test for you! Last time we tested a Steinway versus a Chinese piano. People really enjoyed that little listening test. So today we will listen to an upright piano versus a grand piano! Can you really tell the difference? What are the preconceived notions about these pianos?
I dug through the archives of Living Pianos recordings and found an upright piano and a grand piano playing the same Chiarina movement of Schumann’s Carnaval. I took the second repeat in one of the recordings but not the other, but other than that they are the same. Both pianos were recorded in the same place with the same microphones, which is really great for this test. I’m going to reveal what those instruments are after you get a chance to listen.
Write down your answer!
As I said before on the Steinway versus Chinese piano video, I want you to write down your answer so that you don’t fool yourself. Because of course, we all want to be right and think we can tell the difference. So, write it down and commit to which one you think is the upright and which one you think is the grand. Here we go. Happy listening!
Eleven years ago I made a video about uprights versus grands and you can check that out at LivingPianos.com and YouTube. I discussed the differences. There are some substantial differences, primarily in the actions. But what about these two pianos? What are they? I chose a large grand. As a matter of fact, the grand piano is a seven-foot 1998 Baldwin SF-10. It’s a semi-concert grand. The upright is also a Baldwin, to make it fair. It’s a 1987 Baldwin Hamilton, which is just a 45-inch piano. 45 inches compared to seven feet, you would think there’d be an astounding difference in sound! Yet they both sound quite beautiful, don’t they? So which one was which?
The first one was the seven-foot Baldwin SF-10! The second one was the studio Baldwin Hamilton upright.
How many of you got that right? I’m really interested! My perspective is playing these instruments and making the allowances to get the best sound out of each piano, which is the job of a pianist. Because after all, almost all instrumentalists take their instruments with them. As pianists we have to play whatever instrument is available, and instantly adjust. I’ve had the good fortune of being around many pianos. I’ve learned how to make those adjustments. So the question is, how did you feel about the sound of these two pianos? Did you choose correctly? I would love to hear from all of you! Let me know your thoughts in the comments! Thanks so much for joining me, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.
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1987 Baldwin Hamilton 45-inch Studio Upright
1998 Baldwin SF-10 7-foot Semi-ConcertGrand
Upright pianos versus Grand pianos – Uprights Vs. Grands