What is a Console Piano? What You Should Know Before Buying

When it comes to pianos, many people think of the traditional grand or upright models. Basically, these are the two main categories of pianos. Within the upright piano category, there are four styles. The console piano is one of them. In this article, we will explore what a console piano is and what makes it unique.

The History of Console Pianos

The console piano is a smaller type of upright piano that stands around 40 to 45 inches tall. The strings and soundboard are positioned vertically. Console pianos were first introduced in the mid-19th century as an alternative to the larger and more expensive grand pianos.

The early console pianos were built with wood frames and had a simple design. As time progressed, the construction and design of the piano improved, including the use of iron frames for greater stability and more complex actions for better touch and tone.

In the early 20th century, console pianos became a popular choice for homes and music schools due to their smaller size and affordable price. Many manufacturers began producing console pianos in a variety of styles, from traditional to modern, to suit the tastes of different customers.

Console Piano Current State

With the advent of electronic keyboards and digital pianos in the late 20th century, the popularity of console pianos declined. However, they still remain a popular choice for those who prefer the traditional look and feel of an acoustic piano. Today, many piano manufacturers continue to produce console pianos, offering a range of styles to complement various musical tastes and decor preferences.


You may also have heard the term console-style digital pianos. Usually, they are not very portable and are mainly for home use. On the other hand, console-style digital pianos are normally more compact and lightweight than acoustic console pianos.

How Does A Console Piano Work?

A console piano works by using a complex system of strings, hammers, keys, and pedals to produce sound.

When a key on the piano is pressed, it lifts a wooden hammer that strikes a set of strings that are tuned to different pitches. The length and thickness of each string determine its pitch. The longer and thicker strings produce lower notes, and shorter and thinner strings make higher notes.

console piano key action

The sound of the vibrating strings is amplified by a wooden soundboard that is positioned vertically behind the strings. The soundboard is designed to resonate with the vibrations of the strings, which produces a rich and full-bodied sound.

Console pianos also have a complex action mechanism that connects the keys to the hammers. The action consists of a series of levers, springs, and pivots that enable the pianist to play with a range of dynamics and expressions. When a key is pressed, a series of levers and pivots activate the hammer that strikes the corresponding string.

Overall, the console piano works similarly to other upright pianos. It is a complex and elegant instrument that produces a wide range of sounds and tonal colors, making it a favorite among musicians and music lovers alike.

How Console Pianos Are Different from Upright Pianos

upright piano type console

The console piano type is one of the four vertical piano types. The console pianos have their uniqueness. Here are some of the main differences from other upright piano types:

Size and Height

One of the defining features of a console piano is its cabinet design. Unlike an upright piano, which typically has a bulky cabinet, a console piano has a more streamlined and compact design. This makes it an ideal choice for those who want a piano that can fit into a smaller space or blend in with their home decor.

The below chart shows the specific sizes for different types of vertical pianos.

upright piano sizes

The width of console pianos varies depending on the manufacturer and model, but the average width of a console piano is around 58-62 inches (147-157 cm). However, some console pianos may be slightly wider or narrower than this range. It’s important to measure the space where you plan to place the piano to ensure that the piano will fit comfortably and safely.

Sound Quality

Console pianos generally have a more refined and better sound quality than spinets. This is because console pianos have longer strings and larger soundboards, which allows for better resonance and a more dynamic sound.

On the other hand, professional upright pianos usually have the best sound resonance in the vertical piano category due to the larger sound chamber and longer strings.


Console pianos customarily are more stylish and elegant than other vertical pianos. They often have more decorative elements, such as carved legs, and may be made from higher-quality materials.


Generally, vertical pianos cost less than grand pianos. Console pianos are normally more budget-friendly than larger vertical pianos unless the console piano is a special edition. Console pianos are a more practical and affordable option for beginners or those with limited space.


Despite its smaller size, a console piano often has a responsive and sensitive action like larger vertical pianos. The good key action allows for greater control and expression when playing.

Console pianos are also a popular choice for those who are just starting to learn the piano. Because of their compact size and affordability, they are often the first choice for families who want to introduce their children to an acoustic piano. They are also a popular choice for music schools and practice rooms, as they offer a good compromise between size and sound quality.

In conclusion, a console piano is a unique type of vertical piano that offers a compact and stylish alternative to larger upright or grand pianos. If you are looking for a piano that can fit into a smaller space without sacrificing sound quality, a console piano may be the perfect choice for you.

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