People have often asked me if a higher quality vertical piano is a better instrument for them than a less expensive grand. The answer is….it depends.
Vertical pianos can take up less space in some rooms and generally cost less than most grand pianos making them a better choice for some.
But for me grand pianos are much more satisfying to play. If there were only verticals (and digitals) I might take up another instrument. I have certainly had many productive practice hours on vertical pianos, but for performance they are too lacking.
The “una corda” pedal:
I’ve been asked many times if there is something wrong with the piano I’m playing because the keyboard is moving. People also often want to know why there is a space to the right of the top white key (as if it is a defect!).
Of course I’m using the left pedal to change the tone of the instrument. Pressing the pedal causes the entire action to shift to the right. This results in the hammers hitting less strings and also moving off of the normal strike point of the hammer felt.
This changes the tone of the piano. It becomes softer and sweeter. It will also make an out of tune piano sound much better. I have played entire gigs with the una corda pedal pressed all the way to the floor when I’ve been confronted with a nasty sounding instrument.
The action of a grand piano works very differently than a vertical. Because of the basic physical differences, a grand piano action can repeat much faster than a vertical.
Grand pianos offer a greater range of expression, more control, and of course they look amazingly beautiful.