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This article is about the musical instrument. Piano_sentence_0

For other uses, see Piano (disambiguation). Piano_sentence_1

"Pianoforte" redirects here. Piano_sentence_2

For earliest versions of the instrument only, see Fortepiano. Piano_sentence_3

For the 1984 film, see Pianoforte (film). Piano_sentence_4


Keyboard instrumentPiano_header_cell_0_0_0
Hornbostel–Sachs classificationPiano_header_cell_0_1_0 314.122-4-8

(Simple chordophone with keyboard sounded by hammers)Piano_cell_0_1_1

Inventor(s)Piano_header_cell_0_2_0 Bartolomeo CristoforiPiano_cell_0_2_1
DevelopedPiano_header_cell_0_3_0 Early 18th centuryPiano_cell_0_3_1
Playing rangePiano_header_cell_0_4_0

The piano is an acoustic, stringed musical instrument invented in Italy by Bartolomeo Cristofori around the year 1700 (the exact year is uncertain), in which the strings are struck by wooden hammers that are coated with a softer material (modern hammers are covered with dense wool felt; some early pianos used leather). Piano_sentence_5

It is played using a keyboard, which is a row of keys (small levers) that the performer presses down or strikes with the fingers and thumbs of both hands to cause the hammers to strike the strings. Piano_sentence_6

The word piano is a shortened form of pianoforte, the Italian term for the early 1700s versions of the instrument, which in turn derives from gravicembalo col piano e forte(key cymbal with quieter and louder) and fortepiano. Piano_sentence_7

The Italian musical terms piano and forte indicate "soft" and "loud" respectively, in this context referring to the variations in volume (i.e., loudness) produced in response to a pianist's touch or pressure 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 and the stronger the attack. Piano_sentence_8

The name was created as a contrast to harpsichord, a musical instrument that does not allow variation in volume; compared to the harpsichord, the first fortepianos in the 1700s had a quieter sound and smaller dynamic range. Piano_sentence_9

A piano usually has a protective wooden case surrounding the soundboard and metal strings, which are strung under great tension on a heavy metal frame. Piano_sentence_10

Pressing one or more keys on the piano's keyboard causes a wooden or plastic hammer (typically padded with firm felt) to strike the strings. Piano_sentence_11

The hammer rebounds from the strings, and the strings continue to vibrate at their resonant frequency. Piano_sentence_12

These vibrations are transmitted through a bridge to a soundboard that amplifies by more efficiently coupling the acoustic energy to the air. Piano_sentence_13

When the key is released, a damper stops the strings' vibration, ending the sound. Piano_sentence_14

Notes can be sustained, even when the keys are released by the fingers and thumbs, by the use of pedals at the base of the instrument. Piano_sentence_15

The sustain pedal enables pianists to play musical passages that would otherwise be impossible, such as sounding a 10-note chord in the lower register and then, while this chord is being continued with the sustain pedal, shifting both hands to the treble range to play a melody and arpeggios over the top of this sustained chord. Piano_sentence_16

Unlike the pipe organ and harpsichord, two major keyboard instruments widely used before the piano, the piano allows gradations of volume and tone according to how forcefully or softly a performer presses or strikes the keys. Piano_sentence_17

Most modern pianos have a row of 88 black and white keys, 52 white keys for the notes of the C major scale (C, D, E, F, G, A and B) and 36 shorter black keys, which are raised above the white keys, and set further back on the keyboard. Piano_sentence_18

This means that the piano can play 88 different pitches (or "notes"), going from the deepest bass range to the highest treble. Piano_sentence_19

The black keys are for the "accidentals" (F♯/G♭, G♯/A♭, A♯/B♭, C♯/D♭, and D♯/E♭), which are needed to play in all twelve keys. Piano_sentence_20

More rarely, some pianos have additional keys (which require additional strings). Piano_sentence_21

Most notes have three strings, except for the bass, which graduates from one to two. Piano_sentence_22

The strings are sounded when keys are pressed or struck, and silenced by dampers when the hands are lifted from the keyboard. Piano_sentence_23

Although an acoustic piano has strings, it is usually classified as a percussion instrument rather than as a stringed 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 considered chordophones. Piano_sentence_24

There are two main types of piano: the grand piano and the upright piano. Piano_sentence_25

The grand piano has a better sound and gives the player a more precise control of the keys, and is therefore the preferred choice for every situation in which the available floor-space and the budget will allow, as well as often being considered a requirement in venues where skilled pianists will frequently give public performances. Piano_sentence_26

The upright piano, which necessarily involves some compromise in both tone and key action compared to a grand piano of equivalent quality, is nevertheless much more widely used, because it occupies less space (allowing it to fit comfortably in a room where a grand piano would be too large) and is significantly less expensive. Piano_sentence_27

During the 1800s, influenced by the musical trends of the Romantic music era, innovations such as the cast iron frame (which allowed much greater string tensions) and aliquot stringing gave grand pianos a more powerful sound, with a longer sustain and richer tone. Piano_sentence_28

In the nineteenth century, a family's piano played the same role that a radio or phonograph played in the twentieth century; when a nineteenth-century family wanted to hear a newly published musical piece or symphony, they could hear it by having a family member play a simplified version on the piano. Piano_sentence_29

During the nineteenth century, music publishers produced many types of musical works (symphonies, opera overtures, waltzes, etc.) in arrangements for piano, so that music lovers could play and hear the popular pieces of the day in their home. Piano_sentence_30

The piano is widely employed in classical, jazz, traditional and popular music for solo and ensemble performances, accompaniment, and for composing, songwriting and rehearsals. Piano_sentence_31

Although the piano is very heavy and thus not portable and is expensive (in comparison with other widely used accompaniment instruments, such as the acoustic guitar), its musical versatility (i.e., its wide pitch range, ability to play chords, louder or softer notes and two or more independent musical lines at the same time), the large number of musicians - both amateurs and professionals - trained in playing it, and its wide availability in performance venues, schools and rehearsal spaces have made it one of the Western world's most familiar musical instruments. Piano_sentence_32

History Piano_section_0

The piano was founded on earlier technological innovations in keyboard instruments. Piano_sentence_33

Pipe organs have been used since antiquity, and as such, the development of pipe organs enabled instrument builders to learn about creating keyboard mechanisms for sounding pitches. Piano_sentence_34

The first string instruments with struck strings were the hammered dulcimers, which were used since the Middle Ages in Europe. Piano_sentence_35

During the Middle Ages, there were several attempts at creating stringed keyboard instruments with struck strings. Piano_sentence_36

By the 17th century, the mechanisms of keyboard instruments such as the clavichord and the harpsichord were well developed. Piano_sentence_37

In a clavichord, the strings are struck by tangents, while in a harpsichord, they are mechanically plucked by quills when the performer depresses the key. Piano_sentence_38

Centuries of work on the mechanism of the harpsichord in particular had shown instrument builders the most effective ways to construct the case, soundboard, bridge, and mechanical action for a keyboard intended to sound strings. Piano_sentence_39

Invention Piano_section_1

See also: Bartolomeo Cristofori Piano_sentence_40

The invention of the piano is credited to Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655–1731) of Padua, Italy, who was employed by Ferdinando de' Medici, Grand Prince of Tuscany, as the Keeper of the Instruments. Piano_sentence_41

Cristofori was an expert harpsichord maker, and was well acquainted with the body of knowledge on stringed keyboard instruments; this knowledge of keyboard mechanisms and actions helped him to develop the first pianos. Piano_sentence_42

It is not known exactly when Cristofori first built a piano. Piano_sentence_43

An inventory made by his employers, the Medici family, indicates the existence of a piano by the year 1700. Piano_sentence_44

The three Cristofori pianos that survive today date from the 1720s. Piano_sentence_45

Cristofori named the instrument un cimbalo di cipresso di piano e forte ("a keyboard of cypress with soft and loud"), abbreviated over time as pianoforte, fortepiano, and later, simply, piano. Piano_sentence_46

Cristofori's great success was designing a stringed keyboard instrument in which the notes are struck by a hammer. Piano_sentence_47

The hammer must strike the string, but not remain in contact with it, because this would damp the sound and stop the string from vibrating and making sound. Piano_sentence_48

This means that after striking the string, the hammer must fall from (or rebound from) the strings. Piano_sentence_49

Moreover, the hammer must return to its rest position without bouncing violently, and it must return to a position in which it is ready to play almost immediately after its key is depressed so the player can repeat the same note rapidly. Piano_sentence_50

Cristofori's piano action was a model for the many approaches to piano actions that followed in the next century. Piano_sentence_51

Cristofori's early instruments were made with thin strings, and were much quieter than the modern piano, but they were much louder and with more sustain in comparison to the clavichord—the only previous keyboard instrument capable of dynamic nuance responding to the player's touch, or the velocity with which the keys are pressed. Piano_sentence_52

While the clavichord allows expressive control of volume and sustain, it is relatively quiet. Piano_sentence_53

The harpsichord produces a sufficiently loud sound, especially when a coupler joins each key to both manuals of a two-manual harpsichord, but it offers no dynamic or expressive control over each note. Piano_sentence_54

The piano offers the best of both instruments, combining the ability to play loudly and perform sharp accents. Piano_sentence_55

Early fortepiano Piano_section_2

Main article: Fortepiano Piano_sentence_56

Cristofori's new instrument remained relatively unknown until an Italian writer, Scipione Maffei, wrote an enthusiastic article about it in 1711, including a diagram of the mechanism, that was translated into German and widely distributed. Piano_sentence_57

Most of the next generation of piano builders started their work based on reading this article. Piano_sentence_58

One of these builders was Gottfried Silbermann, better known as an organ builder. Piano_sentence_59

Silbermann's pianos were virtually direct copies of Cristofori's, with one important addition: Silbermann invented the forerunner of the modern sustain pedal, which lifts all the dampers from the strings simultaneously. Piano_sentence_60

This innovation allows the pianist to sustain the notes that they have depressed even after their fingers are no longer pressing down the keys. Piano_sentence_61

As such, by holding a chord with the sustain pedal, pianists can relocate their hands to a different register of the keyboard in preparation for a subsequent section. Piano_sentence_62

Silbermann showed Johann Sebastian Bach one of his early instruments in the 1730s, but Bach did not like the instrument at that time, saying that the higher notes were too soft to allow a full dynamic range. Piano_sentence_63

Although this earned him some animosity from Silbermann, the criticism was apparently heeded. Piano_sentence_64

Bach did approve of a later instrument he saw in 1747, and even served as an agent in selling Silbermann's pianos. Piano_sentence_65

"Instrument: piano et forte genandt"—a reference to the instrument's ability to play soft and loud—was an expression that Bach used to help sell the instrument when he was acting as Silbermann's agent in 1749. Piano_sentence_66

Piano-making flourished during the late 18th century in the Viennese school, which included Johann Andreas Stein (who worked in Augsburg, Germany) and the Viennese makers Nannette Streicher (daughter of Stein) and Anton Walter. Piano_sentence_67

Viennese-style pianos were built with wood frames, two strings per note, and leather-covered hammers. Piano_sentence_68

Some of these Viennese pianos had the opposite coloring of modern-day pianos; the natural keys were black and the accidental keys white. Piano_sentence_69

It was for such instruments that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed his concertos and sonatas, and replicas of them are built in the 21st century for use in authentic-instrument performance of his music. Piano_sentence_70

The pianos of Mozart's day had a softer tone than 21st century pianos or English pianos, with less sustaining power. Piano_sentence_71

The term fortepiano now distinguishes these early instruments (and modern re-creations) from later pianos. Piano_sentence_72

Modern piano Piano_section_3

Further information: Innovations in the piano Piano_sentence_73

In the period from about 1790 to 1860, the Mozart-era piano underwent tremendous changes that led to the modern structure of the instrument. Piano_sentence_74

This revolution was in response to a preference by composers and pianists for a more powerful, sustained piano sound, and made possible by the ongoing Industrial Revolution with resources such as high-quality piano wire for strings, and precision casting for the production of massive iron frames that could withstand the tremendous tension of the strings. Piano_sentence_75

Over time, the tonal range of the piano was also increased from the five octaves of Mozart's day to the seven octave (or more) range found on today's pianos. Piano_sentence_76

Early technological progress in the late 1700s owed much to the firm of Broadwood. Piano_sentence_77

John Broadwood joined with another Scot, Robert Stodart, and a Dutchman, Americus Backers, to design a piano in the harpsichord case—the origin of the "grand". Piano_sentence_78

This was achieved by about 1777. Piano_sentence_79

They quickly gained a reputation for the splendour and powerful tone of their instruments, with Broadwood constructing pianos that were progressively larger, louder, and more robustly constructed. Piano_sentence_80

They sent pianos to both Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven, and were the first firm to build pianos with a range of more than five octaves: five octaves and a fifth during the 1790s, six octaves by 1810 (Beethoven used the extra notes in his later works), and seven octaves by 1820. Piano_sentence_81

The Viennese makers similarly followed these trends; however the two schools used different piano actions: Broadwoods used a more robust action, whereas Viennese instruments were more sensitive. Piano_sentence_82

By the 1820s, the center of piano innovation had shifted to Paris, where the Pleyel firm manufactured pianos used by Frédéric Chopin and the Érard firm manufactured those used by Franz Liszt. Piano_sentence_83

In 1821, Sébastien Érard invented the double escapement action, which incorporated a repetition lever (also called the balancier) that permitted repeating a note even if the key had not yet risen to its maximum vertical position. Piano_sentence_84

This facilitated rapid playing of repeated notes, a musical device exploited by Liszt. Piano_sentence_85

When the invention became public, as revised by Henri Herz, the double escapement action gradually became standard in grand pianos, and is still incorporated into all grand pianos currently produced in the 2000s. Piano_sentence_86

Other improvements of the mechanism included the use of firm felt hammer coverings instead of layered leather or cotton. Piano_sentence_87

Felt, which was first introduced by Jean-Henri Pape in 1826, was a more consistent material, permitting wider dynamic ranges as hammer weights and string tension increased. Piano_sentence_88

The sostenuto pedal (see below), invented in 1844 by Jean-Louis Boisselot and copied by the Steinway firm in 1874, allowed a wider range of effects. Piano_sentence_89

One innovation that helped create the powerful sound of the modern piano was the use of a massive, strong, cast iron frame. Piano_sentence_90

Also called the "plate", the iron frame sits atop the soundboard, and serves as the primary bulwark against the force of string tension that can exceed 20 tons (180 kilonewtons) in a modern grand piano. Piano_sentence_91

The single piece cast iron frame was patented in 1825 in Boston by Alpheus Babcock, combining the metal hitch pin plate (1821, claimed by Broadwood on behalf of Samuel Hervé) and resisting bars (Thom and Allen, 1820, but also claimed by Broadwood and Érard). Piano_sentence_92

Babcock later worked for the Chickering & Mackays firm who patented the first full iron frame for grand pianos in 1843. Piano_sentence_93

Composite forged metal frames were preferred by many European makers until the American system was fully adopted by the early 20th century. Piano_sentence_94

The increased structural integrity of the iron frame allowed the use of thicker, tenser, and more numerous strings. Piano_sentence_95

In 1834, the Webster & Horsfal firm of Birmingham brought out a form of piano wire made from cast steel; it was "so superior to the iron wire that the English firm soon had a monopoly." Piano_sentence_96

But a better steel wire was soon created in 1840 by the Viennese firm of Martin Miller, and a period of innovation and intense competition ensued, with rival brands of piano wire being tested against one another at international competitions, leading ultimately to the modern form of piano wire. Piano_sentence_97

Several important advances included changes to the way the piano was strung. Piano_sentence_98

The use of a "choir" of three strings, rather than two for all but the lowest notes, enhanced the richness and complexity of the treble. Piano_sentence_99

The use of a Capo d’Astro bar instead of agraffes in the uppermost treble allowed the hammers to strike the strings in their optimal position, greatly increasing that area's power. Piano_sentence_100

The implementation of over-stringing (also called cross-stringing), in which the strings are placed in two separate planes, each with its own bridge height, allowed greater length to the bass strings and optimized the transition from unwound tenor strings to the iron or copper-wound bass strings. Piano_sentence_101

Over-stringing was invented by Pape during the 1820s, and first patented for use in grand pianos in the United States by Henry Steinway Jr. in 1859. Piano_sentence_102

Some piano makers added variations to enhance the tone of each note, such as Pascal Taskin (1788), Collard & Collard (1821), and Julius Blüthner, who developed Aliquot stringing in 1893. Piano_sentence_103

These systems were used to strengthen the tone of the highest register of notes on the piano, which up until this time were viewed as being too weak-sounding. Piano_sentence_104

Each used more distinctly ringing, undamped vibrations of sympathetically vibrating strings to add to the tone, except the Blüthner Aliquot stringing, which uses an additional fourth string in the upper two treble sections. Piano_sentence_105

While the hitchpins of these separately suspended Aliquot strings are raised slightly above the level of the usual tri-choir strings, they are not struck by the hammers but rather are damped by attachments of the usual dampers. Piano_sentence_106

Eager to copy these effects, Theodore Steinway invented duplex scaling, which used short lengths of non-speaking wire bridged by the "aliquot" throughout much of the upper range of the piano, always in locations that caused them to vibrate sympathetically in conformity with their respective overtones—typically in doubled octaves and twelfths. Piano_sentence_107

Variations in shape and design Piano_section_4

Some early pianos had shapes and designs that are no longer in use. Piano_sentence_108

The square piano (not truly square, but rectangular) was cross strung at an extremely acute angle above the hammers, with the keyboard set along the long side. Piano_sentence_109

This design is attributed to Christian Ernst Friderici, a pupil of Gottfried Silbermann, in Germany, and Johannes Zumpe in England, and it was improved by changes first introduced by Guillaume-Lebrecht Petzold in France and Alpheus Babcock in the United States. Piano_sentence_110

Square pianos were built in great numbers through the 1840s in Europe and the 1890s in the United States, and saw the most visible change of any type of piano: the iron-framed, over-strung squares manufactured by Steinway & Sons were more than two-and-a-half times the size of Zumpe's wood-framed instruments from a century before. Piano_sentence_111

Their overwhelming popularity was due to inexpensive construction and price, although their tone and performance were limited by narrow soundboards, simple actions and string spacing that made proper hammer alignment difficult. Piano_sentence_112

The tall, vertically strung upright grand was arranged like a grand set on end, with the soundboard and bridges above the keys, and tuning pins below them. Piano_sentence_113

"Giraffe pianos", "pyramid pianos" and "lyre pianos" were arranged in a somewhat similar fashion, using evocatively shaped cases. Piano_sentence_114

The very tall cabinet piano was introduced about 1805 and was built through the 1840s. Piano_sentence_115

It had strings arranged vertically on a continuous frame with bridges extended nearly to the floor, behind the keyboard and very large sticker action. Piano_sentence_116

The short cottage upright or pianino with vertical stringing, made popular by Robert Wornum around 1815, was built into the 20th century. Piano_sentence_117

They are informally called birdcage pianos because of their prominent damper mechanism. Piano_sentence_118

The oblique upright, popularized in France by Roller & Blanchet during the late 1820s, was diagonally strung throughout its compass. Piano_sentence_119

The tiny spinet upright was manufactured from the mid-1930s until recent times. Piano_sentence_120

The low position of the hammers required the use of a "drop action" to preserve a reasonable keyboard height. Piano_sentence_121

Modern upright and grand pianos attained their present, 2000-era forms by the end of the 19th century. Piano_sentence_122

While improvements have been made in manufacturing processes, and many individual details of the instrument continue to receive attention, and a small number of acoustic pianos in the 2010s are produced with MIDI recording and digital sound module-triggering capabilities, the 19th century was the era of the most dramatic innovations and modifications of the instrument. Piano_sentence_123

Types Piano_section_5

Modern pianos have two basic configurations, the grand piano and the upright piano, with various styles of each. Piano_sentence_124

There are also specialized and novelty pianos, electric pianos based on electromechanical designs, electronic pianos that synthesize piano-like tones using oscillators, and digital pianos using digital samples of acoustic piano sounds. Piano_sentence_125

Grand Piano_section_6

"Grand piano" redirects here. Piano_sentence_126

For other uses, see Grand Piano (disambiguation). Piano_sentence_127

In grand pianos the frame and strings are horizontal, with the strings extending away from the keyboard. Piano_sentence_128

The action lies beneath the strings, and uses gravity as its means of return to a state of rest. Piano_sentence_129

Grand pianos range in length from approximately 1.5 meters (4 ft 11 in) to 3 meters (9 ft 10 in). Piano_sentence_130

Some of the lengths have been given more-or-less customary names, which vary from time to time and place to place, but might include: Piano_sentence_131


  • Baby grand – around 1.5 meters (4 ft 11 in)Piano_item_0_0
  • Parlor grand or boudoir grand – 1.7 to 2.2 meters (5 ft 7 in–7 ft 3 in)Piano_item_0_1
  • Concert grand – between 2.2 and 3 meters (7 ft 3 in–9 ft 10 in))Piano_item_0_2

All else being equal, longer pianos with longer strings have larger, richer sound and lower inharmonicity of the strings. Piano_sentence_132

Inharmonicity is the degree to which the frequencies of overtones (known as partials or harmonics) sound sharp relative to whole multiples of the fundamental frequency. Piano_sentence_133

This results from the piano's considerable string stiffness; as a struck string decays its harmonics vibrate, not from their termination, but from a point very slightly toward the center (or more flexible part) of the string. Piano_sentence_134

The higher the partial, the further sharp it runs. Piano_sentence_135

Pianos with shorter and thicker string (i.e., small pianos with short string scales) have more inharmonicity. Piano_sentence_136

The greater the inharmonicity, the more the ear perceives it as harshness of tone. Piano_sentence_137

The inharmonicity of piano strings requires that octaves be stretched, or tuned to a lower octave's corresponding sharp overtone rather than to a theoretically correct octave. Piano_sentence_138

If octaves are not stretched, single octaves sound in tune, but double—and notably triple—octaves are unacceptably narrow. Piano_sentence_139

Stretching a small piano's octaves to match its inherent inharmonicity level creates an imbalance among all the instrument's intervallic relationships. Piano_sentence_140

In a concert grand, however, the octave "stretch" retains harmonic balance, even when aligning treble notes to a harmonic produced from three octaves below. Piano_sentence_141

This lets close and widespread octaves sound pure, and produces virtually beatless perfect fifths. Piano_sentence_142

This gives the concert grand a brilliant, singing and sustaining tone quality—one of the principal reasons that full-size grands are used in the concert hall. Piano_sentence_143

Smaller grands satisfy the space and cost needs of domestic use; as well, they are used in some small teaching studios and smaller performance venues. Piano_sentence_144

Upright Piano_section_7

Upright pianos, also called vertical pianos, are more compact due to the vertical structure of the frame and strings. Piano_sentence_145

The mechanical action structure of the upright piano was invented in London, England in 1826 by Robert Wornum, and upright models became the most popular model. Piano_sentence_146

Upright pianos took less space than a grand piano, and as such they were a better size for use in private homes for domestic music-making and practice. Piano_sentence_147

The hammers move horizontally, and return to their resting position via springs, which are susceptible to degradation. Piano_sentence_148

Upright pianos with unusually tall frames and long strings were sometimes marketed as upright grand pianos, but that label is misleading. Piano_sentence_149

Some authors classify modern pianos according to their height and to modifications of the action that are necessary to accommodate the height. Piano_sentence_150

Upright pianos are generally less expensive than grand pianos. Piano_sentence_151

Upright pianos are widely used in churches, community centers, schools, music conservatories and university music programs as rehearsal and practice instruments, and they are popular models for in-home purchase. Piano_sentence_152


  • The top of a spinet model barely rises above the keyboard. Unlike all other pianos, the spinet action is located below the keys, operated by vertical wires that are attached to the backs of the keys.Piano_item_1_3
  • Console pianos, which have a compact action (shorter hammers than a large upright has), but because the console's action is above the keys rather than below them as in a spinet, a console almost always plays better than a spinet does. Console pianos are a few inches shorter than studio models.Piano_item_1_4
  • Studio pianos are around 107 to 114 cm (42–45 in) tall. This is the shortest cabinet that can accommodate a full-sized action located above the keyboard.Piano_item_1_5
  • Anything taller than a studio piano is called an upright. (Technically, any piano with a vertically-oriented soundboard could be called an upright, but that word is often reserved for the full-size models.)Piano_item_1_6

Specialized Piano_section_8

The toy piano, introduced in the 19th century, is a small piano-like instrument, that generally uses round metal rods to produce sound, rather than strings. Piano_sentence_153

The US Library of Congress recognizes the toy piano as a unique instrument with the subject designation, Toy Piano Scores: M175 T69. Piano_sentence_154

In 1863, Henri Fourneaux invented the player piano, which plays itself from a piano roll. Piano_sentence_155

A machine perforates a performance recording into rolls of paper, and the player piano replays the performance using pneumatic devices. Piano_sentence_156

Modern equivalents of the player piano include the Bösendorfer CEUS, Yamaha Disklavier and QRS Pianomation, using solenoids and MIDI rather than pneumatics and rolls. Piano_sentence_157

A silent piano is an acoustic piano having an option to silence the strings by means of an interposing hammer bar. Piano_sentence_158

They are designed for private silent practice, to avoid disturbing others. Piano_sentence_159

Edward Ryley invented the transposing piano in 1801. Piano_sentence_160

This rare instrument has a lever under the keyboard as to move the keyboard relative to the strings so a pianist can play in a familiar key while the music sounds in a different key. Piano_sentence_161

The minipiano is an instrument patented by the Brasted brothers of the Eavestaff Ltd. piano company in 1934. Piano_sentence_162

This instrument has a braceless back, and a soundboard positioned below the keys—meaning that long metal rods pulled on the levers to make the hammers strike the strings. Piano_sentence_163

The first model, known as the Pianette, was unique in that the tuning pins extended through the instrument, so it could be tuned at the front. Piano_sentence_164

The prepared piano, present in some contemporary art music from the 20th and 21st century is a piano with objects placed inside it to alter its sound, or has had its mechanism changed in some other way. Piano_sentence_165

The scores for music for prepared piano specify the modifications, for example, instructing the pianist to insert pieces of rubber, paper, metal screws, or washers in between the strings. Piano_sentence_166

These objects mute the strings or alter their timbre. Piano_sentence_167

The pedal piano is a rare type of piano that has a pedal keyboard at the base, designed to be played by the feet. Piano_sentence_168

The pedals may play the existing bass strings on the piano, or rarely, the pedals may have their own set of bass strings and hammer mechanisms. Piano_sentence_169

While the typical intended use for pedal pianos is to enable a keyboardist to practice pipe organ music at home, a few players of pedal piano use it as a performance instrument. Piano_sentence_170

Wadia Sabra had a microtone piano manufactured by Pleyel in 1920. Piano_sentence_171

Abdallah Chahine later constructed his quartertone "Oriental piano" with the help of Austrian Hofmann. Piano_sentence_172

Electric, electronic, and digital Piano_section_9

With technological advances, amplified electric pianos (1929), electronic pianos (1970s), and digital pianos (1980s) have been developed. Piano_sentence_173

The electric piano became a popular instrument in the 1960s and 1970s genres of jazz fusion, funk music and rock music. Piano_sentence_174

The first electric pianos from the late 1920s used metal strings with a magnetic pickup, an amplifier and a loudspeaker. Piano_sentence_175

The electric pianos that became most popular in pop and rock music in the 1960s and 1970s, such as the Fender Rhodes use metal tines in place of strings and use electromagnetic pickups similar to those on an electric guitar. Piano_sentence_176

The resulting electrical, analogue signal can then be amplified with a keyboard amplifier or electronically manipulated with effects units. Piano_sentence_177

Electric pianos are rarely used in classical music, where the main usage of them is as inexpensive rehearsal or practice instruments in music schools. Piano_sentence_178

However, electric pianos, particularly the Fender Rhodes, became important instruments in 1970s funk and jazz fusion and in some rock music genres. Piano_sentence_179

Electronic pianos are non-acoustic; they do not have strings, tines or hammers, but are a type of synthesizer that simulates or imitates piano sounds using oscillators and filters that synthesize the sound of an acoustic piano. Piano_sentence_180

They must be connected to a keyboard amplifier and speaker to produce sound (however, some electronic keyboards have a built-in amp and speaker). Piano_sentence_181

Alternatively, a person can play an electronic piano with headphones in quieter settings. Piano_sentence_182

Digital pianos are also non-acoustic and do not have strings or hammers. Piano_sentence_183

They use digital sampling technology to reproduce the acoustic sound of each piano note accurately. Piano_sentence_184

They also must be connected to a power amplifier and speaker to produce sound (however, most digital pianos have a built-in amp and speaker). Piano_sentence_185

Alternatively, a person can practice with headphones to avoid disturbing others. Piano_sentence_186

Digital pianos can include sustain pedals, weighted or semi-weighted keys, multiple voice options (e.g., sampled or synthesized imitations of electric piano, Hammond organ, violin, etc.), and MIDI interfaces. Piano_sentence_187

MIDI inputs and outputs connect a digital piano to other electronic instruments or musical devices. Piano_sentence_188

For example, a digital piano's MIDI out signal could be connected by a patch cord to a synth module, which would allow the performer to use the keyboard of the digital piano to play modern synthesizer sounds. Piano_sentence_189

Early digital pianos tended to lack a full set of pedals but the synthesis software of later models such as the Yamaha Clavinova series synthesised the sympathetic vibration of the other strings (such as when the sustain pedal is depressed) and full pedal sets can now be replicated. Piano_sentence_190

The processing power of digital pianos has enabled highly realistic pianos using multi-gigabyte piano sample sets with as many as ninety recordings, each lasting many seconds, for each key under different conditions (e.g., there are samples of each note being struck softly, loudly, with a sharp attack, etc.). Piano_sentence_191

Additional samples emulate sympathetic resonance of the strings when the sustain pedal is depressed, key release, the drop of the dampers, and simulations of techniques such as re-pedalling. Piano_sentence_192

Digital, MIDI-equipped, pianos can output a stream of MIDI data, or record and play via a CD ROM or USB flash drive using MIDI format files, similar in concept to a pianola. Piano_sentence_193

The MIDI file records the physics of a note rather than its resulting sound and recreates the sounds from its physical properties (e.g., which note was struck and with what velocity). Piano_sentence_194

Computer based software, such as Modartt's 2006 Pianoteq, can be used to manipulate the MIDI stream in real time or subsequently to edit it. Piano_sentence_195

This type of software may use no samples but synthesize a sound based on aspects of the physics that went into the creation of a played note. Piano_sentence_196

Hybrid instruments Piano_section_10

In the 2000s, some pianos include an acoustic grand piano or upright piano combined with MIDI electronic features. Piano_sentence_197

Such a piano can be played acoustically, or the keyboard can be used as a MIDI controller, which can trigger a synthesizer module or music sampler. Piano_sentence_198

Some electronic feature-equipped pianos such as the Yamaha Disklavier electronic player piano, introduced in 1987, are outfitted with electronic sensors for recording and electromechanical solenoids for player piano-style playback. Piano_sentence_199

Sensors record the movements of the keys, hammers, and pedals during a performance, and the system saves the performance data as a Standard MIDI File (SMF). Piano_sentence_200

On playback, the solenoids move the keys and pedals and thus reproduce the original performance. Piano_sentence_201

Modern Disklaviers typically include an array of electronic features, such as a built-in tone generator for playing back MIDI accompaniment tracks, speakers, MIDI connectivity that supports communication with computing devices and external MIDI instruments, additional ports for audio and SMPTE I/O, and Internet connectivity. Piano_sentence_202

Disklaviers have been manufactured in the form of upright, baby grand, and grand piano styles (including a nine-foot concert grand). Piano_sentence_203

Reproducing systems have ranged from relatively simple, playback-only models to professional models that can record performance data at resolutions that exceed the limits of normal MIDI data. Piano_sentence_204

The unit mounted under the keyboard of the piano can play MIDI or audio software on its CD. Piano_sentence_205

Construction and components Piano_section_11

Pianos can have over 12,000 individual parts, supporting six functional features: keyboard, hammers, dampers, bridge, soundboard, and strings. Piano_sentence_206

Many parts of a piano are made of materials selected for strength and longevity. Piano_sentence_207

This is especially true of the outer rim. Piano_sentence_208

It is most commonly made of hardwood, typically hard maple or beech, and its massiveness serves as an essentially immobile object from which the flexible soundboard can best vibrate. Piano_sentence_209

According to Harold A. Conklin, the purpose of a sturdy rim is so that, "... the vibrational energy will stay as much as possible in the soundboard instead of dissipating uselessly in the case parts, which are inefficient radiators of sound." Piano_sentence_210

Hardwood rims are commonly made by laminating thin, hence flexible, strips of hardwood, bending them to the desired shape immediately after the application of glue. Piano_sentence_211

The bent plywood system was developed by C.F. Piano_sentence_212 Theodore Steinway in 1880 to reduce manufacturing time and costs. Piano_sentence_213

Previously, the rim was constructed from several pieces of solid wood, joined and veneered, and European makers used this method well into the 20th century. Piano_sentence_214

A modern exception, Bösendorfer, the Austrian manufacturer of high-quality pianos, constructs their inner rims from solid spruce, the same wood that the soundboard is made from, which is notched to allow it to bend; rather than isolating the rim from vibration, their "resonance case principle" allows the framework to resonate more freely with the soundboard, creating additional coloration and complexity of the overall sound. Piano_sentence_215

The thick wooden posts on the underside (grands) or back (uprights) of the piano stabilize the rim structure, and are made of softwood for stability. Piano_sentence_216

The requirement of structural strength, fulfilled by stout hardwood and thick metal, makes a piano heavy. Piano_sentence_217

Even a small upright can weigh 136 kg (300 lb), and the Steinway concert grand (Model D) weighs 480 kg (1,060 lb). Piano_sentence_218

The largest piano available on the general market, the Fazioli F308, weighs 570 kg (1,260 lb). Piano_sentence_219

The pinblock, which holds the tuning pins in place, is another area where toughness is important. Piano_sentence_220

It is made of hardwood (typically hard maple or beech), and is laminated for strength, stability and longevity. Piano_sentence_221

Piano strings (also called piano wire), which must endure years of extreme tension and hard blows, are made of high carbon steel. Piano_sentence_222

They are manufactured to vary as little as possible in diameter, since all deviations from uniformity introduce tonal distortion. Piano_sentence_223

The bass strings of a piano are made of a steel core wrapped with copper wire, to increase their mass whilst retaining flexibility. Piano_sentence_224

If all strings throughout the piano's compass were individual (monochord), the massive bass strings would overpower the upper ranges. Piano_sentence_225

Makers compensate for this with the use of double (bichord) strings in the tenor and triple (trichord) strings throughout the treble. Piano_sentence_226

The plate (harp), or metal frame, of a piano is usually made of cast iron. Piano_sentence_227

A massive plate is advantageous. Piano_sentence_228

Since the strings vibrate from the plate at both ends, an insufficiently massive plate would absorb too much of the vibrational energy that should go through the bridge to the soundboard. Piano_sentence_229

While some manufacturers use cast steel in their plates, most prefer cast iron. Piano_sentence_230

Cast iron is easy to cast and machine, has flexibility sufficient for piano use, is much more resistant to deformation than steel, and is especially tolerant of compression. Piano_sentence_231

Plate casting is an art, since dimensions are crucial and the iron shrinks about one percent during cooling. Piano_sentence_232

Including an extremely large piece of metal in a piano is potentially an aesthetic handicap. Piano_sentence_233

Piano makers overcome this by polishing, painting, and decorating the plate. Piano_sentence_234

Plates often include the manufacturer's ornamental medallion. Piano_sentence_235

In an effort to make pianos lighter, Alcoa worked with Winter and Company piano manufacturers to make pianos using an aluminum plate during the 1940s. Piano_sentence_236

Aluminum piano plates were not widely accepted, and were discontinued. Piano_sentence_237

The numerous parts of a piano action are generally made from hardwood, such as maple, beech, and hornbeam, however, since World War II, makers have also incorporated plastics. Piano_sentence_238

Early plastics used in some pianos in the late 1940s and 1950s, proved disastrous when they lost strength after a few decades of use. Piano_sentence_239

Beginning in 1961, the New York branch of the Steinway firm incorporated Teflon, a synthetic material developed by DuPont, for some parts of its Permafree grand action in place of cloth bushings, but abandoned the experiment in 1982 due to excessive friction and a "clicking" that developed over time; Teflon is "humidity stable" whereas the wood adjacent to the Teflon swells and shrinks with humidity changes, causing problems. Piano_sentence_240

More recently, the Kawai firm built pianos with action parts made of more modern materials such as carbon fiber reinforced plastic, and the piano parts manufacturer Wessell, Nickel and Gross has launched a new line of carefully engineered composite parts. Piano_sentence_241

Thus far these parts have performed reasonably, but it will take decades to know if they equal the longevity of wood. Piano_sentence_242

In all but the lowest quality pianos the soundboard is made of solid spruce (that is, spruce boards glued together along the side grain). Piano_sentence_243

Spruce's high ratio of strength to weight minimizes acoustic impedance while offering strength sufficient to withstand the downward force of the strings. Piano_sentence_244

The best piano makers use quarter-sawn, defect-free spruce of close annular grain, carefully seasoning it over a long period before fabricating the soundboards. Piano_sentence_245

This is the identical material that is used in quality acoustic guitar soundboards. Piano_sentence_246

Cheap pianos often have plywood soundboards. Piano_sentence_247

The design of the piano hammers requires having the hammer felt be soft enough so that it will not create loud, very high harmonics that a hard hammer will cause. Piano_sentence_248

The hammer must be lightweight enough to move swiftly when a key is pressed; yet at the same time, it must be strong enough so that it can hit strings hard when the player strikes the keys forcefully for fortissimo playing or sforzando accents. Piano_sentence_249

Keyboard Piano_section_12

Further information: Musical keyboard Piano_sentence_250

In the early years of piano construction, keys were commonly made from sugar pine. Piano_sentence_251

In the 2010s, they are usually made of spruce or basswood. Piano_sentence_252

Spruce is typically used in high-quality pianos. Piano_sentence_253

Black keys were traditionally made of ebony, and the white keys were covered with strips of ivory. Piano_sentence_254

However, since ivory-yielding species are now endangered and protected by treaty, or are illegal in some countries, makers use plastics almost exclusively. Piano_sentence_255

Also, ivory tends to chip more easily than plastic. Piano_sentence_256

Legal ivory can still be obtained in limited quantities. Piano_sentence_257

The Yamaha firm invented a plastic called Ivorite that they claim mimics the look and feel of ivory. Piano_sentence_258

It has since been imitated by other makers. Piano_sentence_259

Almost every modern piano has 52 white keys and 36 black keys for a total of 88 keys (seven octaves plus a minor third, from A0 to C8). Piano_sentence_260

Many older pianos only have 85 keys (seven octaves from A0 to A7). Piano_sentence_261

Some piano manufacturers have extended the range further in one or both directions. Piano_sentence_262

For example, the Imperial Bösendorfer has nine extra keys at the bass end, giving a total of 97 keys and an eight octave range. Piano_sentence_263

These extra keys are sometimes hidden under a small hinged lid that can cover the keys to prevent visual disorientation for pianists unfamiliar with the extra keys, or the colours of the extra white keys are reversed (black instead of white). Piano_sentence_264

More recently, manufacturer Stuart & Sons created a piano with 108 keys, going from C0 to B8, covering nine full octaves. Piano_sentence_265

The extra keys are the same as the other keys in appearance. Piano_sentence_266

The extra keys are added primarily for increased resonance from the associated strings; that is, they vibrate sympathetically with other strings whenever the damper pedal is depressed and thus give a fuller tone. Piano_sentence_267

Only a very small number of works composed for piano actually use these notes. Piano_sentence_268

The toy piano manufacturer Schoenhut started manufacturing both grands and uprights with only 44 or 49 keys, and shorter distance between the keyboard and the pedals. Piano_sentence_269

These pianos are true pianos with action and strings. Piano_sentence_270

The pianos were introduced to their product line in response to numerous requests in favor of it. Piano_sentence_271

There is a rare variant of piano that has double keyboards called the Emánuel Moór Pianoforte. Piano_sentence_272

It was invented by Hungarian composer and pianist, Emánuel Moór (19 February 1863 – 20 October 1931). Piano_sentence_273

It consisted of two keyboards lying one above each other. Piano_sentence_274

The lower keyboard has the usual 88 keys and the upper keyboard has 76 keys. Piano_sentence_275

When pressing the upper keyboard the internal mechanism pulls down the corresponding key on the lower keyboard, but an octave higher. Piano_sentence_276

This lets a pianist reach two octaves with one hand, impossible on a conventional piano. Piano_sentence_277

Due to its double keyboard musical work that were originally created for double-manual harpsichord such as Goldberg Variations by Bach become much easier to play, since playing on a conventional single keyboard piano involve complex and hand-tangling cross-hand movements. Piano_sentence_278

The design also featured a special fourth pedal that coupled the lower and upper keyboard, so when playing on the lower keyboard the note one octave higher also played. Piano_sentence_279

Only about 60 Emánuel Moór Pianoforte were made, mostly manufactured by Bösendorfer. Piano_sentence_280

Other piano manufactures such as Bechstein, Chickering, and Steinway & Sons had also manufactured a few. Piano_sentence_281

Pianos have been built with alternative keyboard systems, e.g., the Jankó keyboard. Piano_sentence_282

Pedals Piano_section_13

Main article: Piano pedals Piano_sentence_283

Pianos have had pedals, or some close equivalent, since the earliest days. Piano_sentence_284

(In the 18th century, some pianos used levers pressed upward by the player's knee instead of pedals.) Piano_sentence_285

Most grand pianos in the US have three pedals: the soft pedal (una corda), sostenuto, and sustain pedal (from left to right, respectively), while in Europe, the standard is two pedals: the soft pedal and the sustain pedal. Piano_sentence_286

Most modern upright pianos also have three pedals: soft pedal, practice pedal and sustain pedal, though older or cheaper models may lack the practice pedal. Piano_sentence_287

In Europe the standard for upright pianos is two pedals: the soft and the sustain pedals. Piano_sentence_288

The sustain pedal (or, damper pedal) is often simply called "the pedal", since it is the most frequently used. Piano_sentence_289

It is placed as the rightmost pedal in the group. Piano_sentence_290

It lifts the dampers from all keys, sustaining all played notes. Piano_sentence_291

In addition, it alters the overall tone by allowing all strings, including those not directly played, to reverberate. Piano_sentence_292

When all of the other strings on the piano can vibrate, this allows sympathetic vibration of strings that are harmonically related to the sounded pitches. Piano_sentence_293

For example, if the pianist plays the 440 Hz "A" note, the higher octave "A" notes will also sound sympathetically. Piano_sentence_294

The soft pedal or una corda pedal is placed leftmost in the row of pedals. Piano_sentence_295

In grand pianos it shifts the entire action/keyboard assembly to the right (a very few instruments have shifted left) so that the hammers hit two of the three strings for each note. Piano_sentence_296

In the earliest pianos whose unisons were bichords rather than trichords, the action shifted so that hammers hit a single string, hence the name una corda, or 'one string'. Piano_sentence_297

The effect is to soften the note as well as change the tone. Piano_sentence_298

In uprights this action is not possible; instead the pedal moves the hammers closer to the strings, allowing the hammers to strike with less kinetic energy. Piano_sentence_299

This produces a slightly softer sound, but no change in timbre. Piano_sentence_300

On grand pianos, the middle pedal is a sostenuto pedal. Piano_sentence_301

This pedal keeps raised any damper already raised at the moment the pedal is depressed. Piano_sentence_302

This makes it possible to sustain selected notes (by depressing the sostenuto pedal before those notes are released) while the player's hands are free to play additional notes (which don't sustain). Piano_sentence_303

This can be useful for musical passages with low bass pedal points, in which a bass note is sustained while a series of chords changes over top of it, and other otherwise tricky parts. Piano_sentence_304

On many upright pianos, the middle pedal is called the "practice" or celeste pedal. Piano_sentence_305

This drops a piece of felt between the hammers and strings, greatly muting the sounds. Piano_sentence_306

This pedal can be shifted while depressed, into a "locking" position. Piano_sentence_307

There are also non-standard variants. Piano_sentence_308

On some pianos (grands and verticals), the middle pedal can be a bass sustain pedal: that is, when it is depressed, the dampers lift off the strings only in the bass section. Piano_sentence_309

Players use this pedal to sustain a single bass note or chord over many measures, while playing the melody in the treble section. Piano_sentence_310

The rare transposing piano (an example of which was owned by Irving Berlin) has a middle pedal that functions as a clutch that disengages the keyboard from the mechanism, so the player can move the keyboard to the left or right with a lever. Piano_sentence_311

This shifts the entire piano action so the pianist can play music written in one key so that it sounds in a different key. Piano_sentence_312

Some piano companies have included extra pedals other than the standard two or three. Piano_sentence_313

On the Stuart and Sons pianos as well as the largest Fazioli piano, there is a fourth pedal to the left of the principal three. Piano_sentence_314

This fourth pedal works in the same way as the soft pedal of an upright piano, moving the hammers closer to the strings. Piano_sentence_315

The Crown and Schubert Piano Company also produced a four-pedal piano. Piano_sentence_316

Wing and Son of New York offered a five-pedal piano from approximately 1893 through the 1920s. Piano_sentence_317

There is no mention of the company past the 1930s. Piano_sentence_318

Labeled left to right, the pedals are Mandolin, Orchestra, Expression, Soft, and Forte (Sustain). Piano_sentence_319

The Orchestral pedal produced a sound similar to a tremolo feel by bouncing a set of small beads dangling against the strings, enabling the piano to mimic a mandolin, guitar, banjo, zither and harp, thus the name Orchestral. Piano_sentence_320

The Mandolin pedal used a similar approach, lowering a set of felt strips with metal rings in between the hammers and the strings (aka rinky-tink effect). Piano_sentence_321

This extended the life of the hammers when the Orch pedal was used, a good idea for practicing, and created an echo-like sound that mimicked playing in an orchestral hall. Piano_sentence_322

The pedalier piano, or pedal piano, is a rare type of piano that includes a pedalboard so players can user their feet to play bass register notes, as on an organ. Piano_sentence_323

There are two types of pedal piano. Piano_sentence_324

On one, the pedal board is an integral part of the instrument, using the same strings and mechanism as the manual keyboard. Piano_sentence_325

The other, rarer type, consists of two independent pianos (each with separate mechanics and strings) placed one above the other—one for the hands and one for the feet. Piano_sentence_326

This was developed primarily as a practice instrument for organists, though there is a small repertoire written specifically for the instrument. Piano_sentence_327

Mechanics Piano_section_14

When the key is struck, a chain reaction occurs to produce the sound. Piano_sentence_328

First, the key raises the "wippen" mechanism, which forces the jack against the hammer roller (or knuckle). Piano_sentence_329

The hammer roller then lifts the lever carrying the hammer. Piano_sentence_330

The key also raises the damper; and immediately after the hammer strikes the wire it falls back, allowing the wire to resonate and thus produce sound. Piano_sentence_331

When the key is released the damper falls back onto the strings, stopping the wire from vibrating, and thus stopping the sound. Piano_sentence_332

The vibrating piano strings themselves are not very loud, but their vibrations are transmitted to a large soundboard that moves air and thus converts the energy to sound. Piano_sentence_333

The irregular shape and off-center placement of the bridge ensure that the soundboard vibrates strongly at all frequencies. Piano_sentence_334

The damper keeps the note sounding until the key is released (or the sustain pedal). Piano_sentence_335

There are three factors that influence the pitch of a vibrating wire. Piano_sentence_336


  • Length: All other factors the same, the shorter the wire, the higher the pitch.Piano_item_2_7
  • Mass per unit length: All other factors the same, the thinner the wire, the higher the pitch.Piano_item_2_8
  • Tension: All other factors the same, the tighter the wire, the higher the pitch.Piano_item_2_9

A vibrating wire subdivides itself into many parts vibrating at the same time. Piano_sentence_337

Each part produces a pitch of its own, called a partial. Piano_sentence_338

A vibrating string has one fundamental and a series of partials. Piano_sentence_339

The purest combination of two pitches is when one is double the frequency of the other. Piano_sentence_340

For a repeating wave, the velocity v equals the wavelength λ times the frequency f, Piano_sentence_341


  • v = λfPiano_item_3_10

On the piano string, waves reflect from both ends. Piano_sentence_342

The superposition of reflecting waves results in a standing wave pattern, but only for wavelengths λ = 2L, L, 2L/3, L/2, ... = 2L/n, where L is the length of the string. Piano_sentence_343

Therefore, the only frequencies produced on a single string are f = nv/2L. Piano_sentence_344

Timbre is largely determined by the content of these harmonics. Piano_sentence_345

Different instruments have different harmonic content for the same pitch. Piano_sentence_346

A real string vibrates at harmonics that are not perfect multiples of the fundamental. Piano_sentence_347

This results in a little inharmonicity, which gives richness to the tone but causes significant tuning challenges throughout the compass of the instrument. Piano_sentence_348

Striking the piano key with greater velocity increases the amplitude of the waves and therefore the volume. Piano_sentence_349

From pianissimo (pp) to fortissimo (ff) the hammer velocity changes by almost a factor of a hundred. Piano_sentence_350

The hammer contact time with the string shortens from 4 milliseconds at pp to less than 2 ms at ff. Piano_sentence_351

If two wires adjusted to the same pitch are struck at the same time, the sound produced by one reinforces the other, and a louder combined sound of shorter duration is produced. Piano_sentence_352

If one wire vibrates out of synchronization with the other, they subtract from each other and produce a softer tone of longer duration. Piano_sentence_353

Maintenance Piano_section_15

Main article: Piano maintenance Piano_sentence_354

Pianos are heavy and powerful, yet delicate instruments. Piano_sentence_355

Over the years, professional piano movers have developed special techniques for transporting both grands and uprights, which prevent damage to the case and to the piano's mechanical elements. Piano_sentence_356

Pianos need regular tuning to keep them on correct pitch. Piano_sentence_357

The hammers of pianos are voiced to compensate for gradual hardening of the felt, and other parts also need periodic regulation. Piano_sentence_358

Pianos need regular maintenance to ensure the felt hammers and key mechanisms are functioning properly. Piano_sentence_359

Aged and worn pianos can be rebuilt or reconditioned by piano rebuilders. Piano_sentence_360

Strings eventually must be replaced. Piano_sentence_361

Often, by replacing a great number of their parts, and adjusting them, old instruments can perform as well as new pianos. Piano_sentence_362

Piano tuning involves adjusting the tensions of the piano's strings with a specialized wrench, thereby aligning the intervals among their tones so that the instrument is in tune. Piano_sentence_363

While guitar and violin players tune their own instruments, pianists usually hire a piano tuner, a specialized technician, to tune their pianos. Piano_sentence_364

The piano tuner uses special tools. Piano_sentence_365

The meaning of the term in tune in the context of piano tuning is not simply a particular fixed set of pitches. Piano_sentence_366

Fine piano tuning carefully assesses the interaction among all notes of the chromatic scale, different for every piano, and thus requires slightly different pitches from any theoretical standard. Piano_sentence_367

Pianos are usually tuned to a modified version of the system called equal temperament (see Piano key frequencies for the theoretical piano tuning). Piano_sentence_368

In all systems of tuning, each pitch is derived from its relationship to a chosen fixed pitch, usually the internationally recognized standard concert pitch of A4 (the A above middle C). Piano_sentence_369

The term A440 refers to a widely accepted frequency of this pitch – 440 Hz. Piano_sentence_370

The relationship between two pitches, called an interval, is the ratio of their absolute frequencies. Piano_sentence_371

Two different intervals are perceived as the same when the pairs of pitches involved share the same frequency ratio. Piano_sentence_372

The easiest intervals to identify, and the easiest intervals to tune, are those that are just, meaning they have a simple whole-number ratio. Piano_sentence_373

The term temperament refers to a tuning system that tempers the just intervals (usually the perfect fifth, which has the ratio 3:2) to satisfy another mathematical property; in equal temperament, a fifth is tempered by narrowing it slightly, achieved by flattening its upper pitch slightly, or raising its lower pitch slightly. Piano_sentence_374

A temperament system is also known as a set of "bearings". Piano_sentence_375

Tempering an interval causes it to beat, which is a fluctuation in perceived sound intensity due to interference between close (but unequal) pitches. Piano_sentence_376

The rate of beating is equal to the frequency differences of any harmonics that are present for both pitches and that coincide or nearly coincide. Piano_sentence_377

Piano tuners have to use their ear to "stretch" the tuning of a piano to make it sound in tune. Piano_sentence_378

This involves tuning the highest-pitched strings slightly higher and the lowest-pitched strings slightly lower than what a mathematical frequency table (in which octaves are derived by doubling the frequency) would suggest. Piano_sentence_379

Playing and technique Piano_section_16

As with any other musical instrument, the piano may be played from written music, by ear, or through improvisation. Piano_sentence_380

While some folk and blues pianists were self-taught, in Classical and jazz, there are well-established piano teaching systems and institutions, including pre-college graded examinations, university, college and music conservatory diplomas and degrees, ranging from the B.Mus. Piano_sentence_381

and M.Mus. Piano_sentence_382

to the Doctor of Musical Arts in piano. Piano_sentence_383

Piano technique evolved during the transition from harpsichord and clavichord to fortepiano playing, and continued through the development of the modern piano. Piano_sentence_384

Changes in musical styles and audience preferences over the 19th and 20th century, as well as the emergence of virtuoso performers, contributed to this evolution and to the growth of distinct approaches or schools of piano playing. Piano_sentence_385

Although technique is often viewed as only the physical execution of a musical idea, many pedagogues and performers stress the interrelatedness of the physical and mental or emotional aspects of piano playing. Piano_sentence_386

Well-known approaches to piano technique include those by Dorothy Taubman, Edna Golandsky, Fred Karpoff, Charles-Louis Hanon and Otto Ortmann. Piano_sentence_387

Performance styles Piano_section_17

Many classical music composers, including Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, composed for the fortepiano, a rather different instrument than the modern piano. Piano_sentence_388

Even composers of the Romantic movement, like Franz Liszt, Frédéric Chopin, Clara and Robert Schumann, Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn, and Johannes Brahms, wrote for pianos substantially different from 2010-era modern pianos. Piano_sentence_389

Contemporary musicians may adjust their interpretation of historical compositions from the 1600s to the 1800s to account for sound quality differences between old and new instruments or to changing performance practice. Piano_sentence_390

Starting in Beethoven's later career, the fortepiano evolved into an instrument more like the modern piano of the 2000s. Piano_sentence_391

Modern pianos were in wide use by the late 19th century. Piano_sentence_392

They featured an octave range larger than the earlier fortepiano instrument, adding around 30 more keys to the instrument, which extended the deep bass range and the high treble range. Piano_sentence_393

Factory mass production of upright pianos made them more affordable for a larger number of middle-class people. Piano_sentence_394

They appeared in music halls and pubs during the 19th century, providing entertainment through a piano soloist, or in combination with a small dance band. Piano_sentence_395

Just as harpsichordists had accompanied singers or dancers performing on stage, or playing for dances, pianists took up this role in the late 1700s and in the following centuries. Piano_sentence_396

During the 19th century, American musicians playing for working-class audiences in small pubs and bars, particularly African-American composers, developed new musical genres based on the modern piano. Piano_sentence_397

Ragtime music, popularized by composers such as Scott Joplin, reached a broader audience by 1900. Piano_sentence_398

The popularity of ragtime music was quickly succeeded by Jazz piano. Piano_sentence_399

New techniques and rhythms were invented for the piano, including ostinato for boogie-woogie, and Shearing voicing. Piano_sentence_400

George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue broke new musical ground by combining American jazz piano with symphonic sounds. Piano_sentence_401

Comping, a technique for accompanying jazz vocalists on piano, was exemplified by Duke Ellington's technique. Piano_sentence_402

Honky-tonk music, featuring yet another style of piano rhythm, became popular during the same era. Piano_sentence_403

Bebop techniques grew out of jazz, with leading composer-pianists such as Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell. Piano_sentence_404

In the late 20th century, Bill Evans composed pieces combining classical techniques with his jazz experimentation. Piano_sentence_405

In the 1970s, Herbie Hancock was one of the first jazz composer-pianists to find mainstream popularity working with newer urban music techniques such as jazz-funk and jazz-rock. Piano_sentence_406

Pianos have also been used prominently in rock and roll and rock music by performers such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), Elton John, Ben Folds, Billy Joel, Nicky Hopkins, and Tori Amos, to name a few. Piano_sentence_407

Modernist styles of music have also appealed to composers writing for the modern grand piano, including John Cage and Philip Glass. Piano_sentence_408

Role Piano_section_18

See also: Social history of the piano Piano_sentence_409

The piano is a crucial instrument in Western classical music, jazz, blues, rock, folk music, and many other Western musical genres. Piano_sentence_410

Pianos are used in soloing or melodic roles and as accompaniment instruments. Piano_sentence_411

As well, pianos can be played alone, with a voice or other instrument, in small groups (bands and chamber music ensembles) and large ensembles (big band or orchestra). Piano_sentence_412

A large number of composers and songwriters are proficient pianists because the piano keyboard offers an effective means of experimenting with complex melodic and harmonic interplay of chords and trying out multiple, independent melody lines that are played at the same time. Piano_sentence_413

Pianos are used by composers doing film and television scoring, as the large range permits composers to try out melodies and bass lines, even if the music will be orchestrated for other instruments. Piano_sentence_414

Bandleaders and choir conductors often learn the piano, as it is an excellent instrument for learning new pieces and songs to lead in performance. Piano_sentence_415

Many conductors are trained in piano, because it allows them to play parts of the symphonies they are conducting (using a piano reduction or doing a reduction from the full score), so that they can develop their interpretation. Piano_sentence_416

The piano is an essential tool in music education in elementary and secondary schools, and universities and colleges. Piano_sentence_417

Most music classrooms and many practice rooms have a piano. Piano_sentence_418

Pianos are used to help teach music theory, music history and music appreciation classes, and even non-pianist music professors or instructors may have a piano in their office. Piano_sentence_419

See also Piano_section_19


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano.