Did you know??
Your piano has over 200 individual strings, with a combined tension of between 20 and 40 TONS.
The piano was invented around 1700 by Bartolomeo Cristofori, in Padua, Italy. It was originally called a "pianoforte" (meaning soft-loud) because it was the first stringed keyboard instrument capable of producing variations in dynamic nuance and control.
The Steinway Style D concert grand piano weighs 980 pounds, takes a full year to build, and is made up of 12,000 individual parts!
Spruce is the common and preferred wood for a piano's soundboard. When looked at under a microscope, the individual cells of spruce have a large air space, as well as dense cell walls. Thus, spruce is both strong, and lightweight. Perfect for piano (and violin and guitar) sound.
Many early Viennese pianos (like Mozart used) had white keys that were black, and black keys that were white.
Abraham Lincoln kept Chickering (of Boston) grand piano #5070 when he occupied the White House. Presidents Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Theodore Roosevelt also played Chickering pianos while in office.
The Piano Technicians Guild (PTG) is the official organization of the Registered Piano Technician (RPT). The PTG was formed in 1957 when the American Society of Piano Technicians and the National Association of Piano Tuners merged to form a single organization.
Pianos were the first meaningful "brand names" and were the first major items sold on an installment basis. Owning one was a symbol of status, and in many parts of the world it still is.
Your piano is most stable (and most happy) when the humidity level in your home is between 30 and 50 percent. If that level cannot be maintained a humidity control system can be installed in the piano.
In the 1920's a man named Edwin Link invented the Link Trainer, the first flight simulator used to train airplane pilots. The technology used was directly adapted from that of the old punched roll type of Player Pianos.
There are four sizes of upright-type pianos: Spinet, Console, Studio, and Upright. The technical name for this class of piano is "Vertical".
The term "A-440 Concert Pitch" refers to the fact that the note A above middle C should vibrate at 440 cycles per second. This is also known as Standard Pitch, and is what all musical instruments are tuned to.
Ivoryton is a small village in the town of Essex in the state of Connecticut in the United States. It was known for its production of pianos in the early 20th century and takes its name from the ivory industry that imported tusks. In the beginning combs, buttons, toothpicks, billiard balls, and other items were made in Ivoryton. Later they moved toward piano keys and eventually also made piano movements. There is not a single town, city, or place named Ivoryton anywhere else in the world.
From about 1946 to 1950 (just after World War II) many older upright pianos from the Victorian era were "modernized" by having the tops of the cases cut down and a mirror added to the front. Many times plain music racks and legs were added as well. This was a popular way to make the big "passé" pianos look shorter and more fashionable- like the spinet pianos which were coming into vogue at that time.
To a concert artist the touch and tone quality of the piano are as important, if not more so, than the intonation.
Like fine garments and hand-made rugs, the felt used in the manufacture of good quality piano hammers is from Merino sheep. This breed is originally from Turkey and central Spain, and it's wool was highly valued already in the Middle Ages.
Many of the piano manufacturers who first built pianos in America came from England and Germany.
Did you know, you can tune a piano but you can't tuna...
oh, never mind.
Most pianos have three pedals, but some only have two. The right pedal on ALL pianos does the same thing- lifts the dampers so that all the notes ring until the pedal is released. The left and middle (if there is one) pedals on different brands and types of pianos sometimes have different purposes.
Piano strings are made of drawn steel wire, with diameters that are graduated by one- one thousandth of an inch.
The strings in the bass section are wound with copper to add mass, causing them to vibrate more slowly in order to reach the lower frequencies needed in that section of the instrument.
There are just under a zillion cheap, or "free" pianos available on craigslist...
Modern pianos are finished with a variety of materials, from traditional lacquer to modern polyurethanes and polyester resins. Whatever the material, a piano finish is designed to protect the wood from dirt and liquid spills, reduce the damaging effects of humidity changes, and -- in the case of clear finishes -- enhance the beauty of the wood. It is best to know what kind of finish your piano has, and how to properly care for it.
Many people think that Steinway and Sons is a German company. It is not. It was founded in Manhattan, NY in 1853 by Henry Englehard Steinway, a German immigrant. It was not until 1880 that his son, C.F. Theodore Steinway, went back and opened the factory in Hamburg, Germany. The New York facility later moved to the Astoria section of Queens, and both plants are still in operation today making what many believe is (still) the finest piano in the world.
Nanette Streicher was one of the few women who became famous as a piano builder. Nearly all of Beethoven's compositions were created on instruments built by her.
Back in the 1940's and 1950's several American manufacturers used plastic components in their spinet and console pianos. These plastic parts became very brittle with time, and would eventually break. As a result, the use of plastic in pianos has gotten a bad name. The plastic used in modern pianos is high tech space age stuff, and will never break. But the debate goes on...
The surface of some of the wooden parts in a piano's action are coated with graphite (like in a pencil) to reduce friction and allow for a smooth movement.
The Bösendorfer Imperial Grand has 97 keys. These extra 9 notes in the bass were originally added so that pianists could play Ferruccio Busoni's transcriptions of J.S. Bach's organ works, which required the 32' bass pipes (usually played on the pedal organ).
In 1900 the Steinway D concert grand had a retail price of $1,400.00. (fourteen hundred dollars). Today the retail price is $150,000.00!
Traditionally, the iron “plate” or string frame of a piano is made in a process called Sand Casting. The molten iron is poured into a two piece “mold box”, which has a pattern of the plate set in sand, clay, and other materials. Once the cooled iron plate is removed, it requires quite a bit of hand work to obtain a final finish and refinement. Most American piano makers still use this method. Another, more modern process, Vacuum Molding, is employed by some piano makers overseas, such as Yamaha.