Grand pianos are too much piano for a home.

It has to be said out loud. Unless you live in the sort of mansion that Zsa-Zsa Gabor would likely have considered acceptable compensation in a divorce, a grand piano is simply too big for a private home. Get an upright.

Grands are made to fill a hall, not a living room. They are loud, overpowered, excessive beasts, and owning one in a private home is like buying a Ferrari to drive the kids back and forth to school. Sure, “they” had grand pianos in private homes and parlors back in the 1800s … when pianos were nowhere near as loud as they are today and had leather-covered hammers and an incredibly shallow key dip. (And by “they,” do you mean an average working family, or the Duke and Duchess in the last Merchant Ivory movie you saw?)

But nowdays?

Nope. Get an upright. The post-Industrial-Revolution monster we all know and drool over in a private home is like a Great Dane in a studio apartment. People wax bombastic about how necessary they are, how anything else will destroy one’s mystic touch, how any pianist of any real repute drives plays one, as if one must at all times calibrate one’s ability to play by how well one can manage an excessive, inappropriate instrument. People don’t insist on buying minivans that corner like Lamborghinis because some day, they just might stand within fifty yards of one, and they need to be prepared.

But they do buy these excessive, inappropriate, outsize monstrosities that have no place in a private home, and then proceed to stuff them with acoustic foam, hang tapestries around them and redecorate their entire living room to make room for the beast, tack carpets and cushions under them to quiet them down, and keep the lid down all the time.

Unless you are looking to put one on a stage somewhere or are on your way to a conservatory, buy a good-quality big upright or, if you want gradn touch then get an Avant Grand, and leave the Porsches and the acoustic grands to Mario Andretti, Martha Argerich, and Elton John.

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