The piano (an abbreviation of pianoforte) is a musical instrument played using a keyboard. It is widely employed in classical, jazz, traditional and popular music for solo and ensemble performances, accompaniment, and for composing and rehearsal. Although traditional pianos are not portable and often expensive, a piano’s musical versatility and ubiquity have made it one of the world's most familiar and popular musical instruments.
Acoustic pianos usually have a protective wooden case surrounding the soundboard and metal strings, and a row of 88 black and white keys (52 white, 36 black). The strings are sounded when the keys are pressed, and silenced when the keys are released. The notes produced can be sustained, even when the keys are released, by the use of the foot operated pedals. Playing the piano at a competent level can therefore be considered a whole body workout!
Pressing a key on the piano's keyboard causes a padded hammer to strike the corresponding strings. The hammer rebounds, and the strings continue to vibrate at their resonant frequency. These vibrations are transmitted through a bridge to a soundboard that amplifies this vibration into audible sound. When the key is released, a damper stops the strings' vibration, ending this sound. Although an acoustic piano has strings, it is usually classified as a percussion instrument because the strings are struck rather than plucked (as with a harpsichord or spinet); in the Hornbostel-Sachs system of instrument classification, pianos are actually considered chordophones. With technological advances, electric, electronic, and digital pianos or “keyboards” have also been developed. Some of these electronic keyboards even have a weighted and digitally proportional movement to accurately replicate the subtlety of tone associated with skillful piano playing – this is all part of what is taught during piano lessons.
The word piano is a shortened form of pianoforte, the Italian term for the instrument, which in turn derives from “gravicembalo col piano e forte” and fortepiano. The Italian musical terms piano and forte indicate "soft" and "loud" respectively, which in this context refer to the variations in volume produced in response to a pianist's touch on the keys: the greater the velocity of a key press, the greater the force of the hammer hitting the strings, and the louder the sound of the note produced.
So, as can be seen, the “humble” piano is actually a fabulously incredible musical instrument, with a long and illustrious Music history, and these ten facts about the piano may have you thinking about it in a whole new and exciting way – Especially when considering Piano Lessons in South Surrey BC!!!
1) There are between 7500 & 9000 working parts in the body of each piano.
That’s an enormous number of individual pieces that need to be working perfectly in harmony to get the sound that you need!
2) The piano is a member of the percussion family because it only makes music when a hammer hits a string.
Bet you didn’t know that you could be considered a percussionist!
3) The name ‘piano’ is actually a nickname for the full Italian name of the instrument, which is ‘pianoforte’.
The original longer name was given to the instrument based on its ability to play notes very quietly (piano) or very loudly (forte). Give the Piano a try, but think of the neighbours!
4) The piano is actually a relatively modern instrument!
The first piano was made in 1698 by Bartolomeo Cristofori in Italy. That might sound old, but other instruments such as the piccolo have been around for thousands of years – so the piano is only 316 years old making it surprisingly modern!
5) There are 230 strings in a piano!
Tensioned up to vibrate at the correct tone, all these strings exert an incredible amount of pressure on the piano’s frame – over 30 tons of pressure might be exerted on a concert grand!
6) The piano is known as the “King of the Instruments” because its range goes from the lowest note that you can play on a double-bassoon to the highest note that you can play on a piccolo.
A single piano covers a full orchestral range! (Which is probably why more music has been composed on the piano than any other instrument, and why learning the Piano is still so popular.)
7) There are 18 million non-professional piano players in the United States alone, and over 30 million pianos in the World!
Learning the piano can be a huge benefit when it comes to studying music at a higher level – no matter which instrument is your principal area of study, most programs will ask you to have a year of piano lessons under your belt as well.
8) A concert grand piano is 8′ 11″ and weighs over 1400 pounds.
This is why everyone looks so tiny when they are playing one! This size also helps the instrument to produce its incredible sound quality… though the size of a concert grand means it’s unlikely that you will have one at home…
9) Even though piano keys are referred to as the “ivories”, they have not been made out of ivory since the 1940s to protect endangered animals.
Many early piano keys were simply bone, though modern keyboards are generally made out of plastic instead.
10) The best piano brand in the world is considered to be the Steinway Piano
The Steinway family has been making pianos since 1853 and a Steinway Grand Piano can cost well over $100, 000. Think of it as the Stradivarius of pianos…
Hopefully these fun facts have changed the way that you think about taking piano lessons – the piano isn’t just a tool you use for practice, it is an intricate instrument that is capable of more than you may think! And a piano doesn’t have to be expensive, with many free ones available if you know someone who can help move it (for example try finding one here)– After all, better to use them for a tuneful interlude than to see such a majestic instrument go to the dump…
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