Stories of Instruments – Piano
Did you know that the word piano is the short form of the Italian word pianoforte? This tells you that the piano’s origins have something to do with Italy. Well, the instrument was first made by Bartolomeo Cristofori who was a keeper of instruments at the shop of Ferdinando de’ Medici the Grand Prince of Tuscany in Padua, Italy. Bartolomeo was a harpsichord maker and used this knowledge to develop the first piano in the 1700s (the exact year is not known). He made three pianos which exist till today. The harpsichord used then was unable to create loud music and Bartolomeo aimed to solve this with the invention of the piano. Later (1790-1860), the piano underwent changes to make what we now know as the modern piano.
Pianos have many components mostly made using sturdy materials. The first component is the keyboard. This has the keys that the player presses. In an acoustic piano, there are 88 white and black keys. These are where the player presses when playing the piano. These keys are made of plastic in most keyboards. Behind the keyboard is the housing which is covered by a lid both often made of hard wood. Opening this increases the volume of the music being produced. Inside the housing are hammers and strings. These are connected to each of the keys with the hammer connected directly to the key and then to the strings on the other end. Also inside the housing are dampers which stop the vibration of the string when a key is released. To be operated on by the feet are three pedals namely soft, sostenuto and sustain pedals. These are useful in making notes last longer and softening sounds produced.
To play the piano, all one has to do is learn how to press the keys. When a key is pressed, it causes the jack to strike against the hammer which then hits the string and is released immediately causing it to vibrate and produce sound. When the key is released, the damper falls on the strings and cause the vibration to stop hence the sound made by that key is stopped. As you move from one key to the other there is no overlap of the sound no matter how fast you are playing. The piano is a really interesting and cool instrument that children will enjoy learning.
Keep reading: “Music Lessons: What Every New Parent Needs to Know”>>