Archive for the 'Scale Design' Category

The scale design of a piano refers to the calculations the piano manufacturer used to determine the pitch, diameter, length, and the tension of each wire. Good quality pianos usually have a better scale design that involves a lot of engineers and scientists taking many measurements and crunching the numbers.

The piano is then built in the laboratory and is tested by listening to it. If the piano does not sound good, the design team does more calculations, makes another test piano and listens to it. This continues either until the piano manufacturer is completely pleased with the results or until the research budget runs out!

Vertical pianos are measured by their overall height, from the floor to the very top of the piano lid. Measurements for vertical pianos are given in inches only (no feet). Some countries especially from Europe and Asia, may be measured by centimeters (cm).

Vertical Sizes

Measure from the floor to the top of the lid

91cm – 36″
94cm – 37″
96cm – 38″
99cm – 39″
102cm – 40″
104cm – 41″
107cm – 42″
109cm – 43″
112cm – 44″
114cm – 45″
117cm – 46″
119cm – 47″
122cm – 48″
124cm – 49″
127cm – 50″
130cm – 51″
132cm – 52″
135cm – 53″
137cm – 54″
139cm – 55″
142cm – 56″

Grand pianos are measured by their overall length. Closed the lid completely. Hook or have someone hole the end of the tape measure at the center of the tail. Measure where indicated by the brown line. Grand measurements are given in feet and inches.

Grand Sizes

145cm – 4’9″
147cm – 4’10″
150cm – 4’11″
152cm – 5′
155cm – 5’1″
158cm – 5’2″
160cm – 5’3″
162cm – 5’4″
165cm – 5’5″
168cm – 5’6″
170cm – 5’7″
173cm – 5’8″
175cm – 5’9″
178cm – 5’10″
180cm – 5’11″
183cm – 6′
185cm – 6’1″
188cm – 6’2″
191cm – 6’3″
193cm – 6’4″
196cm – 6’5″
198cm – 6’6″
201cm – 6’7″
203cm – 6’8″
206cm – 6’9″
208cm – 6’10″
211cm – 6’11″
213cm – 7′
216cm – 7’1″
219cm – 7’2″
221cm – 7’3″
223cm – 7’4″
226cm – 7’5″
229cm – 7’6″
231cm – 7’7″
234cm – 7’8″
236cm – 7’9″
239cm – 7’10″
244cm – 7’11″
245cm – 8′
246cm – 8’1″
249cm – 8’2″
251cm – 8’3″
254cm – 8’4″
257cm – 8’5″
259cm – 8’6″
262cm – 8’7″
264cm – 8’8″
267cm – 8’9″
269cm – 8’10″
272cm – 8’11″
274cm – 9′
277cm – 9’1″
279cm – 9’2″
282cm – 9’3″
289cm – 9’6″
307cm – 10’1″

Note : The metric size is also the Model Number in many cases.

Upright Piano Cast Iron Frame

Steinway & Sons Grand Piano Cast Iron

When the piano lid raised and reveals a large, shining gold-colored surface. What is this mass of metal? This is the cast-iron frame, also called the plate or harp, is responsible for sustaining the massive tension of the strings. Before advances in metallurgy, the frame was made of wood, which would bend and warp under high string tension. In order to prevent this warping, the strings had to be kept at a lower tension, resulting in a softer sound. The development of the cast-iron frame in the mid 1800′s allowed the strings to be held at a much higher tension, resulting in the big sound of the modern grand piano (follow the link for more information on the history of the frame). Today’s frame is capable of withstanding string tensions of up to 70,000 pounds to produce a powerful piano sound. The plate may be bulky and heavy, but without the plate there would be no concert!

The perimeter of the cast-iron frame is bolted into the back frame of the piano. Several bolts in the middle of the frame pass through holes cut in the soundboard, and secure the frame to the inner supporting posts. It is important that the frame mask as little of the soundboard as possible. Holes in the top of the frame, called the web, open up more of the surface area of the soundboard, allowing more sound waves to escape.

The pinblock is fitted beneath the frame across the front (keyboard) width of the piano. On the bass and treble end of the frame, agraffes are screwed into the frame. Agraffes are brass guide screws that space and level the strings as they leave the tuning pins. Each agraffe may have one, two, or three holes depending on how many unison strings it must guide. The agraffes define the speaking length of the strings on the tuning pin side (the bridges define the speaking length on the other end of the strings). On the treble end of the frame, the agraffes are usually replaced by the capo d’astro, also called the capo tasto or V-Bar. The capo d’astro is a metal bar cast as part of the frame. The bottom of the bar has a rounded, V-shape which the strings pass under. The bar presses down on the strings, defining their speaking length. On the far end of the frame, the strings terminate at the hitch pins, small metal pins that are driven directly into the cast-iron frame.

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