I was just wondering if it's easier to play on a Grand Piano comparing to an upright ? Like can someone play well on a grand if he's used to an upright...

I also wanted to know if the keys weight on a grand is heavier than the ones on an upright or not ?


  • The keys on a grand will often seem heavier -- it takes more effort to play one. But otherwise I agree with nonpop.
    – user28
    Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 16:34

2 Answers 2


In my experience, it is usually easier to play a grand piano. A grand piano responds better in many ways, for example:

  • The dynamic scale is bigger. I find it much easier to get a good relaxed fortissimo from a grand.
  • The notes just ring longer. This makes cantabile playing easier and it's also easier to play slowly.
  • Combining the previous two, it's easier to separate layers of sound, like background, middle ground, foreground.
    • (Actually it's often initially easier to separate layers on an upright because the sound is not so rich and thus doesn't get muddy so easily. On a grand you have to do bigger contrasts to get a good sound. The point is, though, that you can make the contrasts big and then the layers really sound differentiated.)
    • For me, when I've played only on an upright for a long time, this is what takes most time to adjust. The bigger the instrument, the bigger you have to make the contrasts.
    • This all of course depends a lot on the acoustics of the room, too.
  • Using the soft pedal on a grand actually makes the sound different (the hammers are hitting fewer strings). So, yet more possible variation in sound.
  • The action is also different. On a grand the hammers hit the strings from below so gravity plays a bigger role. Perhaps for this reason for me a grand piano often feels heavy while an upright feels stiff. (Another reason might be psychological -- a grand piano has massive sound, thus the action feels massive). I like a heavy action, but hate a stiff one. As for how heavy/stiff, that varies very much between individual pianos. There are both light and heavy uprights and grands.
  • It's easier to play fast repetitions on a grand piano. Also in general a grand just seems to respond quicker. With the exception of the lowest notes, you can usually get shorter staccatos out of a grand.

This is all assuming that we're comparing instruments which are in similar condition. If course it will be easier to play on a good upright than a bad grand etc.

  • Thanks for your nicely detailed post ! I agree with what you said about the psychological reason, sometimes the sound of the piano can have an impact on how we feel the keys !
    – Yas
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 22:02

Grand piano's and upright piano's key mechanisms are the same and therefore there will be no difference in the feel of the keys. Though one is horizontal and the other vertical, they are designed to have the same touch.

The only difference between a grand and an upright is how the strings are laid out. The upright takes the strings, that in a grand are place horizontal to the floor, and arranges then vertically so as to save space.

The difference between these two types is not in the ease of playing but rather in the sound that is created. The soundboard is the wooden piece that lays next to the strings and helps create the resonance that gives a piano its rich sound. Being place horizontally above the floor verses vertically facing either a wall or an audience can change how the piano sounds. These differences are minimized as much as possible by piano makers, but there will always be some difference between the two.

  • 3
    Can you explain what you mean about the key mechanisms being the same? I would have said that the different hammer actions cause a significant difference in feel.
    – NReilingh
    Commented Mar 24, 2013 at 4:29
  • 1
    they are designed to have the same touch seems arguable, since they certainly don't have the same touch.
    – user28
    Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 16:33
  • Upon second thought, I stand corrected. Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 17:20

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