Thun! Thun! Thun! One of the most common known sounds in the United States! Do you know what the piano is, or what it is for? If you don’t, you can find out really quick.
The Grand Piano is about 6 feet tall with hammers inside of it
The name “piano” is actually a shortened nickname from the Italian. The grand piano was originally invented in 1698 by harpsichord maker Bartolomeo Cristofori. He called his invention “gravicèmbalo col piano e forte,” which means “harpsichord with loud and soft” in Italian. That long phrase was shortened to “pianoforte” and then eventually just become “piano.”
Some other nicknames for piano playing or the piano are “tickling the ivories,” “the eighty-eight,” and the “black and whites.” These are all references to the structure of the piano. The ivories refer to the fact that the keys were made of ivory until the 1950s. The eighty-eight refers to the number of keys. And the black and whites refer to the two different key colors.
The keys of pianos are now made of plastic, but 70% of the instrument is constructed of wood. The cabinets are actually hundreds of pieces of wood securely attached to each other. The hammers and other parts are made of wood, paper, iron, copper, steel and felt. There are about 12,000 parts of a piano, 10,000 of which move to produce sound!
Pianos produce sound when a key or keys are struck, which lifts 1-3 hammers at a time to strike a string.
There are only two basic types of piano: upright and grand. Uprights are built with their strings vertical to save on cabinet space. Grand pianos are built with the strings horizontal. The longer the string, the better the sound. Within the two categories of upright and grand, there are several varieties. The giant “concert grand” measures 9 feet. The “professional grand” measures 6 feet. The “baby grand” is nearly 6 feet. Within the family of uprights, the standard upright is 51 inches tall or more. The “console” is 42 inches tall. And the “spinet” may just be 3 feet.
Grands can actually be played faster than uprights. The hammers on the grand return to their original position than the vertical uprights, thus can produce notes faster.
The world’s largest piano is a giant grand at 11 feet, 8 inches long. It weighs over one ton and has a total string tension of 30 tons. Created by the Challen Company, it is thought to be located at a private French estate.
The piano is called “the King of the Musical Instruments.” Why? One reason is its sheer size. Another is that it has the largest range of tones, with the ability to produce the deep lows of the Double Bassoon and the highest high note of the Piccolo. Pianos can also simultaneously produce melody and…