The modern piano has 2 types. Learning about the other types of pianos can give you insights on how this instrument has evolved from the early years to the present.
Toy pianos come in different shapes with scale models of upright or grand pianos as well as toy pianos which simply possess keys. Toy pianos have widths that are usually not more than 50 cm made out of wood or plastic. Though these types of pianos were originally made as a child’s toy, they were also used in serious classical and contemporary musical performances. The “Suite for Toy Piano” (1948) by John Cage was the most prominent example.
Another modern type of piano under this category is the player piano which is a self-playing piano. It uses an electro-mechanical mechanism to perform the piano action using pre-programmed music perforated paper or rolls.
The player piano grew in popularity as the demand for mass-produced piano for the home grew in the late 19th and early 20th century. In fact, sales of such these models soared in 1924, but then declined due to the rise of phonograph recordings in the mid-1920s.
Silent pianos are acoustic pianos that are ideal for private silent practice. These models feature an option to silence the strings by means of an interposing hammer bar.
The prepared piano
This type of piano has objects placed inside it to alter its sound, or has had its mechanism changed in some other way to mute the strings or alter the sound quality. The prepared piano is usually used in some contemporary art music.
These are electro-mechanical music instruments that produce sounds mechanically and the sounds are turned into electrical signals by pickups. The electromagnetic pickups amplify the sound of the strings. The early electric pianos were invented in the later part of 1920. The popularity of electric pianos started to grow in the late 1950s.
Soon musicians adopted a number of types of domestic electric pianos which significantly inspired manufacturers to develop models for stage use.
Digital electronic pianos
Digital electronic pianos are pianos that do not have strings and hammers. Instead electronics are involved to produce a sound. The rise of these types of pianos led to the decline of the original electro-mechanical instruments for modern uses due to their size, weight and versatility.
This inspired Rhodes Music Corporation, in 2009, to produce a new line of electro-mechanical pianos, known as the Rhodes Mark 7 followed by an offering from Vintage Vibe.