The piano has been a huge contribution to both classical and modern music. It was first created in the early 1700s. It originated from a harpsichord and has changed in size and shape several times since then. Now we have grand pianos, digital pianos, and synthesizers. Here are fifteen interesting facts about this very popular instrument.
- The piano was invented in Italy in 1709 by Bartolomeo di Francesco Cristofori.
- The piano was originally called the pianoforte because of its ability to play notes both quietly (piano) and loudly (forte). The harpsichords that came before were only able to play softly.
- The piano has over 12,000 parts, 10,000 of which are moving. It is an enormous number of small pieces that need to work perfectly to get the sound that you want out of the instrument.
- There are 230 strings needed for a piano to make its full range of sound.
- The strings are made out of steel and produce their sound when struck by tiny hammers inside the piano. Each string usually holds about 170 pounds of tension. This is one of the reasons why piano tuning is a job for a specialist!
- The piano can be considered both a string instrument and a percussion instrument. Most believe it is percussion because the hammers are striking the strings inside.
- The range of the piano goes from the lowest note you can play on a double-bassoon to the highest note you can play on a piccolo. That is an entire orchestral range in one instrument!
- Many people refer to the piano keys as “ivories,” but actually they haven’t been made out of ivory since the 1940’s. They are now made out of plastic to protect endangered resources.
- The exact middle of a piano keyboard is NOT middle C. It is actually the space between E and F above middle C.
- What are those pedals at the bottom of the piano for? The pedal on the left is a damper pedal. It moves the hammers closer to the string, which makes the sound softer. The middle pedal is a sostenuto pedal. It sustains only the notes you press, and then allows you to play others without sustain. The right pedal is the sustain pedal and is used the most often.
- The first piano invented was so expensive that average rich families could not afford. You could only really find these expensive instruments in homes of aristocrats and royalty for nearly a century before it became more accessible to the rest of the public.
- The largest piano ever made was by Adrian Mann, a piano tuner from New Zealand. It weighs 1.4 tons and is 5.7 meters long. It took this 25-year-old 4 years to build it!
- There are 18 million non-professional piano players in the US alone!
- The best piano brand is considered to be Steinway. The Steinway family has been making pianos since 1853!
- One of Cristofori’s original pianos is still in existence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City!
If the piano sounds like the instrument for you, check out our website at www.omahaschoolofmusicanddance.com and register for lessons or classes today! We have fabulous piano instructors that are excited about teaching you to play!