Interesting facts about pianos

  • pinoa strings and hammersInvented some 200 years ago, in Italy. Based on the harpsichord, they differed in that a hammer struck the string where’s the harpsichord plucked the string.
  • Incidentally the harpsichord was based on the harp.
  • That change in how the note was produced resulted in a completely different instrument, which could be played loud or soft, hence its name piano forte. Which means soft loud, in Italian.
  • Contrast that with the harpsichord which can only play at one level as the string is either plucked out it isn’t. There’s no in-between.
  • Pianos have strings and each string has to be tuned. An intricate arrangement of pegs hold a strings under tension. These steel strings are held under huge force and the purpose is the keep the strings in tune.
  • Despite that force, pianos do need regular tuning. A new piano needs to be tuned 3 or 4 times a year. As they get older twice a year will normally suffice.
  • piano synthesizerAlthough made with extreme precision, the main material is wood. So the tuning of the instrument is affected by atmospheric conditions. Damp and humidity are the main culprits here, causing the piano to go out of tune.
  • The two main types of piano are the grand piano and the upright piano. The trade off is between size versus quality of sound. And although the baby grand piano is a compromise on the full size grand, it’s still rather large and not everyone has room for these.
  • Grand pianos are also faster, which means the keys reset when half way up.on an upright the key has to fully return before it can be pressed again.
  • Modern electronic pianos arrived in the 80s. These proved very popular and the sound has improved and before richer over the years. But one of the truly amazing qualities of these electronic instruments, is that their sound can be altered and they can reproduce the sound of any of the famous models of grand pianos out there.

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