Piano and Keyboard Information

Info and Advice on purchasing a Piano or Keyboard

Piano Facts

The Piano has been part of musical history for centuries. When it comes to facts about the Piano the very first thing that comes to most people's minds is the large and incredibly impressive concert hall grand pianos. Christie's Auction House once sold a Victorian Steinway grand piano for a whopping $1.2 Million dollars. The piano is now part of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute of Williamstown, Massachusetts. Of course, it is hard to talk about any type of impressive grand piano without mentioning the name "Steinway," but did you know that Steinway wasn't always the name of the original founder? That's right, that great piano brand name that most of us recognize today was originally founded by Englehard Steinweg. Steinweg wanted a name that sounded more American, so he changed his name to Steinway in 1853. They are still producing top quality pianos to this very day. From Steinway to Yamaha the piano is truly an impressive instrument, but why are we in such awe of this oddly shaped box?

The Piano is known throughout musical circles as "The King of Instruments," due to its impressive range and its miraculous ability to create both melody and accompaniment simultaneously. This instrument also happens to be the largest instrument out there (with the exception of the pipe organ), and it produces one of the most fascinating sounds. So, how does this instrument produce so many glorious notes? Most pianos have around 230 strings, and each string has around 165 pounds of tension - now that's one of the most impressive piano facts around! If you should decide to purchase this worthwhile instrument, make sure that you take good care of your piano. On average, a new piano should be tuned four times per year, and two times every year after that. Should you buy your very own piano, you will not be alone - there are more than 10 million pianos throughout American homes and other establishments. Nearly every president has kept a piano in the White House, and many other famous pianos have wound up in museums. A piano is a worthwhile investment since it never loses value, and it is also something that many generations will cherish.

Piano Types

Looking for a piano? There are many different piano types to consider. Here is a simple breakdown that will make buying a piano much easier.

One of the most common piano types is the spinet. Spinets are perfect for those people wishing to place a piano inside of a small house or apartment, since they range from 36 to 60 inches. Spinets are also upright, which makes them easily accessible and transportable. Similar to spinets, console pianos are a tiny bit larger than the spinet, but these pianos also come in a variety of forms and choices that will compliment almost any decor.

After the spinet and the console, pianos become much larger and more impressive. The studio piano is the sort of piano that you would find in a music school or a studio, and this piano ranges from 45 to 52 inches in height (the tone quality is excellent with this particular style). If you want to purchase the largest of all vertical pianos, you will be looking at an upright piano. Uprights are usually found in antique shops and older homes, and these pianos produce an entirely different sort of sound.

The next category of piano is the grand piano, and this sort of piano has many different varieties. The petite grand is the smallest of the bunch. Next, the baby grand is popular and impressive with a large width and height (4 by 6 feet). Baby grands have a nice sound quality to them, and they really fill an entire home with superbly rich tones. Though there are other pianos types, the concert grand is the sort of piano that most people think about when they envision a piano.

Stunningly sleek and quite wonderful to listen to, a concert grand is at the top of the piano chain. In order to keep a concert grand in your home, you will need to have quite a lot of room. These pianos range from 9 to 10 feet long, which means that they will really fill your entire home with sound given the right amount of space and acoustics. If you want to buy a piano that will really impress all of your guests, the concert grand is it.

Hopefully, you will have a better idea as to the piano types that are out there from reading this article. Of course, you will have to consider your price range when shopping for a piano, though any sort of piano is sure to provide all that listen and play with hours of entertainment.

History Of the Piano

If you play (or simply love to listen to) the piano, you have Bartolomeo Cristofori of Padua, Italy, to thank. The history of the piano begins with Cristofori and a passionate endeavour.

Although Bartolomeo Cristofori adored instruments, if he were not employed by Prince Ferdinand de Medici, he would not have been able to create the piano that we know today. Prince Ferdinand hired Cristofori to be the “keeper of instruments,” and it was during this time that Cristofori had the idea for the first piano. Some think that Cristofori constructed the first piano around the year 1700, though some believe it was actually during the year 1698. The history of the piano (as we know it) clearly began with Cristofori, though his ideas were based upon the clavichord and the harpsichord.

Cristofori wanted to create an instrument that was similar to both the clavichord and harpsichord, though he also wished to create something that could be struck rather than plucked. He knew that his string must be struck once, but that the hammers could not remain stuck to the strings (for this would cause a muffled sound). After many experiments, he also discovered that the hammers must return to their starting positions without violently bouncing back into place, and he knew that they would also have to be able to hit a note with consistency.

The piano that Cristofori originally created was made from very thick strings that produced a sound quite unlike current pianos. In fact, it is thought that Cristofori named the instrument “piano” due to the soft sound that it created. Even though his invention was quite remarkable, the general public did not know that the piano existed until an Italian writer, Scipine Maffei, reviewed the instrument in an article that he wrote for a local supplement. Once the word got out, the history of the piano would be known to all, and everyone wanted their own piano.

Once instrument builders read Maffei’s article, they began to build pianos based upon the writer’s vivid description. One builder, Gottfried Silbermann, added the damper pedal to Cristofori’s invention, which enabled a player to lift all the dampers from the strings in one swift movement. Even though Silbermann tried to get Johann Sebastian Bach interested in one of his earlier piano models, Bach did not appreciate the instrument at the time, and he believed that it would not last long (little did he know, the piano would become the most popular instrument in the world).

From the piano’s humble clavichord and harpsichord cousins to the invention of the modern piano by Cristofori, and finally to the addition of the damper pedal by Gottfried Silbermann, the history of the piano has come a long way. These timeless instruments are still played in nearly every orchestra today, and it has more than withstood the test of time.




The Piano - The King of Instruments

The Piano earned this title for a number of reasons including it's tonal range (The Piano covers the full spectrum of any instrument in the orchestra from below the lowest note of the double bassoon to above the top note of the piccolo), It's ability to produce melody and accompaniment at the same time (try that on a Flute) and it's broad dynamic range. It is also the largest musical instrument. (Excluding the Pipe Organ), most versatile and one of the most interesting.

Is a Grand Piano Better than a vertical upright piano?

You bet it is! The action of a Grand Piano is far superior in many ways to a vertical piano, one being that any key can be repeated (reset) faster than any vertical upright (regardless of the name given by the manufacturer i.e.: upright grand, studio grand, inverted grand, etc.) It is much more difficult to play a concert style classical piece on a vertical piano as opposed to a grand piano for this very reason. A concert classical Pianist simply must have the best in order to be proficient. The keys just don't bounce back that well on a vertical upright Piano. So, don't feel bad if you haven't been unable to master those super fast and complicated classical pieces on your upright piano. Read my personal experience regarding this issue.

Interesting Piano Trivia Facts

There are over 12,000 parts in a Piano, 10,000 of which are moving.

There is approximately 18 tons of pressure being exerted by the stretched steel piano strings. In a concert grand, it is close to 30 tons of pressure. The average string having about 160 pounds of tension. There are 230 strings inside a typical piano.

Independent studies show that children who learn the piano tend to do better in school. This is attributed to the discipline, eye-hand coordination, social skills building, learning a new language (music) and the pleasure derived from creating and making your own music.

The piano is totally complete and needs no assistance from any other instruments, but almost all other instruments need the piano for accompaniment, including singers.

There are 18 million nonprofessional pianists in the United States. 79% are female; 21% are male. The average age is 28.

A quarter million NEW pianos are bought every year in the U.S. and nearly one million OLD pianos are sold.


Contact Information

Frank Chappell

29269 Masters Drive

Murrieta, CA 92563

(951) 234-1359

Email: learn2play@chappellpiano.com