Almost since the first piano
was built, manufacturers have been trying to make
it smaller. This has been no easy task, because
good tone in a piano requires certain minimums in
length of string and size of soundboard.
First, the size of the original grand piano was
cut by the use of stronger frames and an innovative
system of cross-stringing, Then, in the late 1800's,
the upright or vertical piano was developed, sending
the space-consuming bulk of the instrument up along
the wall, rather than out across the floor.
This was so successful that today some larger professional-quality
uprights can have equal or better tone quality than
many small grands.
The grand piano ranges in
size from five to nine feet (concert grand). It
tends to be more responsive and powerful than a
vertical piano; a top-quality grand is the best
investment if the pianist is aiming for concert
performance, or if space and money are unlimited.