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What is a Console Piano?

By J. Beam
Updated May 23, 2024
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A console piano is a specific category of upright, or vertical pianos. The vertical piano differs from the grand piano in that the soundboard runs vertically rather than horizontally, with the strings stretching downward. The console piano is one of five categories of vertical pianos with the other four being the spinet, the consolette, the studio, and the professional.

The main difference in the five categories is the overall height of a piano. A true console piano ranges in height from 40 inches (101.6 cm) to 44 inches (111.8 cm) and is in the middle of height ranges for vertical pianos with the spinet piano being the shortest and the professional being the tallest. Almost all vertical pianos average 24 inches (61 cm) from the floor to the bottom of the keyboard and range in depth from only 21 inches (53.3 cm) to 26 inches (66 cm).

The console piano gained popularity in the early to mid 1900s as a piano that incorporated furniture style design with mid-range size and quality tone. It was originally a 40-inch (101.6-cm) piano, but taller versions began to emerge with the standard being 42 inches (106.7 cm) in height. The console and other upright pianos are typically less expensive than the grand piano and take up considerably less floor space. This and their furniture-like design make them an extremely popular choice for many homes today. Their appearance ranges from wooden finishes with intricate inlays to modern, lacquered finishes and sleek lines.

Though the grand piano is the optimal performing piano in terms of sound quality, the console piano satisfies the musical penchants of most hobbyists and home enthusiasts. The vertical strings and compact size can alter the tone and resonation of the music, but a piano of quality construction can produce a sound very near to the larger grand. This type is by far the most popular of all pianos sold, undoubtedly because of its practicality combined with performance.

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Discussion Comments

By anon995083 — On Mar 31, 2016

The spinet is a smaller version of the piano.

By ellaesans — On Jul 24, 2010

@doppler - The consolette piano is often confused with the console piano simply because they look very similar. In fact, if you do a search for both online, you will find some of the same pictures in response. The consolette piano, however, will sit at only 38" to 39" whereas the console piano sits only a few inches higher.

By doppler — On Jul 24, 2010

@dumbgeek - The spinet piano is that cute little box-shaped piano you often see in Western movies with the saloon pianist. The consolette piano is a little more rectangular and is often found in older churches. The studio piano has the same basic shape of the consolette, but is a little taller and a little more substantial, if you know what I mean - "meatier" you could say. Finally, the professional piano are the beautiful pianos that most people refer to as "baby grands." Typically it takes almost a full year to make these pianos.

By dumbgeek — On Mar 29, 2009

The article, "What is a console piano" has this sentence:

"The console piano is one of five categories of vertical pianos with the other four being the spinet, the consolette, the studio, and the professional."

What are the definitions of the five categories?

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