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The Science Behind: Pianos

Did you know that the word “piano” is derived from the word “pianoforte,” which translates to soft and loud in Italian?

When you press a key on the piano, it hits a hammer and that hammer strikes a string, making a sound. If you hit a key hard it will make a loud sound because the hammer will strike harder. If you press a key slowly, it will make a soft sound because the hammer won’t hit as hard.

Now you know how a piano produces a sound. But how does a piano produce different sounds? How come some notes are higher than others while some are lower?

A piano has 88 keys, 52 white keys and 32 black keys. Each of the keys is connected to a different hammer which hits a different string. Each string has a different length.The length of the strings changes the pitch of the piano. This is what decides how high/low the notes are. At the right side of the piano, the strings are short and thin while the left side of the piano consists of strings that are long and thick. Both the length of the strings and their thickness are what make the pitch different.

Fun fact: In 2019, 31,073 pianos were sold in the United States.

History of the Piano

  • Pianos were invented in the 1700s by a man named Bartolomeo Cristofori.

  • According to Piano Emporium, “The first pianos were too expensive for even the very wealthy to own. For nearly a century only aristocrats and royalty owned pianos.”

  • According to Piano Emporium, “Up until the 1950s, piano keys were made from elephant tusks. Today, in order to protect and preserve elephants, most piano keys are made from plastic.”

Next let’s talk about the different types of pianos and where they are generally used.

3 Main Types of Pianos

-Upright pianos: These are the most common types of pianos in the market. They are mostly used in schools, homes, or churches.

- Grand pianos: These are used in live performances and are more luxurious than upright pianos. Professional musicians and people who have a passion for playing musical instruments are likely to buy this.

-Digital pianos: These pianos feel the same as traditional pianos, but they are more affordable, which is why many people use them. Some digital pianos also have connectivity with smart devices, which allows them to record their music or play around with the settings.

That’s all for this article.

Until next time…



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