Facts about the
was invented in 1698
by an Italian, Bartolomeo Cristofori.
- There are
over 12,000 parts in a piano, 10,000 which are moving.
- There is
tons of pressure being exerted by the stretched steel piano
In a concert grand, it is close to 30 tons of pressure. The
string having about 160 pounds of tension. There are 230 strings inside
a typical piano.
action of a grand is superior
in many ways to a vertical piano, one being that any key can be
(reset) faster than any vertical upright (regardless of the name given
by manufacturers i.e.: upright grand, studio grand, inverted grand,
- If all of
the strings were
of the same thickness and under the same tension, with high C being
the usual two inches, low C would have to be about thirty feet
For this reason, lower strings are weighted by wrapping copper or iron
wire around the core wire. The lowest octave having two wrappings.
- If a
piano hammer were attached
directly to the back end of a key, when the key was depressed, the
would hit the string and stay there, damping out all vibration and
For this reason, all piano actions have some kind of escapement
for each key, allowing the hammer to be released from the key just
hitting the string. When the key is released, the action returns to
its original position and resets itself for another cycle.
Basic parts of a piano action,
A - Key ; B - Escapement (sticker
C - Hammer; D - Damper; E - String
have two to three
- The right
pedal is always
the sustaining pedal (damper pedal), it raises all of the
at once, allowing all notes which are played to continue sounding after
the keys are released.
- The left
pedal is always
some type of soft pedal. In vertical pianos, and some grand's,
moves the hammers at rest closer to the strings, decreasing their
and thus striking force. In most grand's, the soft pedal shifts the
action sideways, causing the treble hammers to hit only two of their
strings. The lower strings are shifted to another part of the hammer
type of soft pedal is called the una corda pedal.
- The third
is usually called the sostenuto pedal. It sustains only those
which are depressed prior to and while holding the pedal down, and does
not sustain any notes depressed after holding it down. This is like
a third hand to sustain certain notes, while playing others.
- In some
instances, the middle
pedal is the bass sustaining pedal, which lifts only the bass
Some uprights use the middle pedal as a practice pedal, which
a thick piece of felt between the hammers and strings, muffling the
Once in awhile, you will see the middle pedal being used to lower metal
studded tap strips between the hammer and the string, creating a tinny
honky-tonk type sound. This is often called a Zither, Harp