Music Research Project

MusicResearch Project

Apiano is one of the most widely known musical instruments in theglobe. In playing the piano, a keyboard is used. This musicalinstrument is broadly used in classical music especially for soloperformances. It is also used in chamber music, ensemble use, and asan accompaniment. Besides, the instrument is remarkably trendy as anaid to rehearsal and composing. A piano uses keys in moving hammersthat strike strings inside in order to produce a sound. The historyof the piano is rich and can also be associated with different timeperiods. Also, due to the sound that it produces, the piano hasdefined and transformed the lives of people. The aim of this paper isto discuss the piano, its history, its various time periods, and howit has defined and transformed the lives of people.

Accordingto an interview carried out involving 200 individuals, it emergedthat piano is the most recognized musical instrument. Out of 200individuals, 167 individuals confirmed that they have ever seen apiano or even played the instrument. Only 33 confirmed that they havenever seen or played the instrument. This is an indication that pianois recognized globally as one of the most used musical instrument. Aninterview with Julia Kursell during the 1920s indicated that Pianomusic’s fame during the 19thcentury was without precedent. In most cases, Piano virtuosos wereusually celebrated in concert halls in Europe.

Thepiano is broadly used in Western music it is used for performanceswhen on its own, with voice, orchestra, or with other instruments.The piano usually makes sound through having tuned strings that arestruck by hammers. The moment a key becomes depressed, it tends toactivate a mechanism that throws the hammer at the right string,lifting the damper off so as to permit free vibration of the string.The hammer hits the string and bounces off, and then a checkingdevice catches it. For every note, a string usually vibrates at a setfrequency or pitch. Strings are extended tightly across bridges thatare attached on the soundboard, where vibration becomes transferred.The sound becomes amplified through the soundboard the soundboardentails a vast flat piece of wood that effectively acts as a vastloudspeaker. The moment the key becomes released, the hammer is drawnback to its usual resting position and the damper becomes pressedback against the string, which stops the vibration and sound isproduced. Essentially, a piano is a horizontal harp, but it is hitwith hammers that are operated by the use of keys instead of pluckingusing fingers. A representation of a piano is as in the figure thatfollows

Figureshowing a piano


Partsof Piano

Apiano has different parts some of the principal parts are asdescribed below. One of the parts is the belly. This constitutes thesoundboard area of a piano. The belly comprises of bridges, dampers,pin block, plate tuning pins, and soundboard. Backcheck is anotherpart, which entails a suede covered catcher that is usually fastenedto an end of a piano key through a wire post. It holds and catchesthe hammer after rebounding from strike of a string. Hammer comprisesanother part of a piano. The hammer entails a felted mallet, drivento strings by the action of a piano when producing piano sound(Randall et al 18). A flange of a piano enables other key componentsto travel. Key constitutes another major part of a piano. A keyentails a dual lever arm that spins at the balance rail. Keys areusually made of soft wood the key is itself a multifaceted mechanismthat includes the key top, capstan, two mortises, button, and weightsthat control touch weight. Damper is also a key component, which is asoft block timed to discontinue vibration of piano strings atcarefully calculated points. Besides, soundboard is another majorcomponent of a piano. The soundboard entails an arched wood panelthat covers the whole area behind or under piano strings in the innerrim of a piano. It transmits vibrations of strings to thesurrounding. In addition, of importance is a tuning pin. This is apeg around which each string of a piano is wound.

Typesof Piano

Thereare three principal types of pianos, which include electric, upright,and grand. In grand pianos, the strings and frame are horizontal. Thestrings extend away from the keyboard. There are concert grand,parlor grand, and baby grand pianos all these pianos are ofdifferent sizes. The baby grand piano is the smallest among the grandpianos because it has the smallest soundboard in comparison with theothers. Grand pianos are the largest type of piano and usually themost majestic (Neely41). These pianos are usually grouped by horizontal soundboards. Agrand piano usually has a standard of 88 keys. Upright piano is themost common type of piano. This type of piano is most common andfavorite for most individuals because it is not expensive. Thesoundboard of this piano is vertical, dampers and strings stretchdownwards, while the dampers and hammers are horizontal to the board.Upright pianos are also referred to as vertical pianos. On the otherhand, the electric pianos are the most affordable, but they havequalities of acoustic and sound progresses to improve for mid-rangeand high-range instruments. This type of piano is well suited forbeginners. Electric pianos usually differ in quality some replicatethe weight and feel of acoustic keyboards while others tend to havehollow keys.





Historyof the Piano

Thepiano became founded based on the early technological innovations.The initial string instruments having struck strings entailed thehammered dulcimers. There were various attempts, during the middleages, to create a stringed keyboard instrument having struck strings.Around 17thcentury, keyboard instruments’ mechanisms like harpsichord andclavichord were well recognized. In a harpsichord, strings areusually plucked by quills, while in a clavichord they are usuallystruck by tangents. The mechanism of the harpsichord brought the mosteffective ways of constructing the soundboard, case, keyboard andbridge. Invention of the modern piano can be associated withBartolomeo Cristofori of Italy. Cristofori was working as an employeeof Ferdinando de’ Medici where he performed the job of keepinginstruments. Cristofori used to be an expert in making harpsichordand had knowledge of other stringed keyboard instruments. An exactdate when Cristofori built the first piano is not well knownhowever, an inventory made by the Medici family shows that theexistence of a piano was in 1700, while another document indicatesthe dates to be 1698 but this document is of doubtful authenticity(Gordon94). During the creation of the piano, a friend of the family namedSebastian LeBlanc made a suggestion concerning the idea of switchingthe white and black keys. Although the clavichord permittedexpressive control of volume, it was remarkably quiet for bigperformances. On the other hand, the harpsichord produced anadequately loud sound, but it had modest expressive control overevery note. Therefore, the piano was likely developed in order toincorporate loudness with control.

Theimmense success of Cristofori was in solving the principal mechanicalproblem of designing piano, which entails the hammer striking thestring and not remaining in contact with it since this would lead todamping of sound. In addition, the hammer should return to its usualresting position without rebounding viciously, and it should befeasible to repeat a note quickly. The piano action of Cristoforiserved as a model for the various approaches to piano actions, whichfollowed (Parakilas112). Despite Cristofori’s early instruments being made of thinstrings, they were significantly louder and had greater sustainingpower compared to the modern piano. The new instrument of Cristoforiremained unknown until Maffei, an Italian writer, wrote a keenarticle concerning the instrument in 1711 this included a figure ofthe mechanism. The article was extensively distributed and most ofthe incoming generation of piano developers commenced their work dueto reading the article. One such developer includes SilbermannGottfried. The pianos of Silbermann were almost direct copies ofCristofori’s however, the works of Silbermann had one crucialaddition: Silbermann made an invention of the modern damper pedalthat lifts all dampers from strings at once.

Inthe Viennese school, making of piano flourished in the late 18thcentury. This comprised of Andreas Stein and Viennese makers (AntonWalter and Nannette Streicher). Pianos taking the Viennese style wereusually built using wood frames, leather covered hammers, and twostrings foe every note. Some of the Viennese pianos had an oppositecoloring to those of the modern-day pianos natural keys were usuallycolored black while the accidental keys were colored white. Duringthe period from 1790 to 1860, Mozart-period piano undertooktremendous adjustments, which led to modern kind of the instrument.The revolution was as a result of a steady preference by pianists andcomposers for an exceedingly powerful and sustained piano sound.Besides, with time, the tonal collection of the piano was alsoaugmented through increasing the number of octaves (Siepmann46). Early technological advancement owed much to the Broadwood’sfirm. Broadwood John, Stodart Robert, and Backers Americus designed apiano in the harpsichord, which is the origin of “grand”. Thiswas achieved around 1777 these individuals gained reputation for themagnificence and powerful tone attached to their instruments. TheBroadwood’s firm was the first one to build pianos having a rangeof above five octaves.

Aprincipal technical innovation, which aided in the creation of thesound of the modern piano, was the utilization of a sturdy ironframe this is also recognized as the “plate”. The iron frameserves as the chief bulwark against the string tension force. Theaugmented structural integrity of iron frame permitted theutilization of thicker, tenser, and numerous strings. Other vitaladvances entailed changes in the manner the piano was to be strungfor instance, the utilization of a “choir” of three stringsinstead of two strings (Isacoff74). Aliquot or duplex scaling that became patented in 1872 bySteinway Theodore, improved the voice of every note through the useof sympathetic vibration. Tall cabinet piano became introduced around1805 and was progressed through the 1840s. On the other hand, tinyspinet upright became developed from the mid 30s until the recentperiod.

TimePeriods of Piano

Differenttime periods can be associated with the piano. One of time periods ofpiano is the Baroque period, which has a timeline between 1600 and1750. During this time period, harpsichord emerged as the most vitalkeyboard instrument. Almost all baroque music played on the pianocurrently was initially played on the harpsichord. The harpsichordhad less keys compared to the present piano. Another time period ofpiano is classical, which time period is between 1750 and 1820(Hinson84). During this period, most pianos did not have pedals those thathad pedals were operated using the knee. This time period wasassociated with sonata genre this genre was perceived as the mostvital genre for keyboard. Romantic period entails another time periodof piano. This time period has the timeline from 1820 to 1900. Thisis the age associated with the modern piano. The piano in this timeperiod were larger, louder, had more keys, and enhanced actioncompared to piano used in the previous periods. Pianos within thisperiod were characterized by the extensive use of pedal in sustainingsounds and enhancing resonance of the pianos. It was in this timeperiod that piano became an exceedingly popular instrument. Duringthis time period, very few sonata genres were written. In addition,another time period of piano is the modern period. The timeline forthis period is 1900 to present. Pianos in this period use differentobjects in altering the sound.

Pianohas transformed the lives of people differently. One of thetransformations of piano is that it has helped individuals to be in aposition to compose their music effectively. Music has become part oflife since it helps in earning income. In order to produce goodmusic, it is critical for a musician to choose a good accompaniment.Piano has been chosen by different composers in order to provide anaccompaniment for their music. This has helped musicians to be in aposition to earn from music, which has transformed the lives of manypeople since they are in a position to obtain their basic needsthrough music produced using piano. The piano is also a vital musicliteracy because it has helped people to live a boredom-free life.Through music, humans have been indicated to be productive piano hasproved to be a critical instrument in removing this boredom.

Inpersonal viewpoint, I feel that piano is a critical musicalinstrument that needs to be appreciated globally. Almost in everymusic performance, it is exceedingly difficult to miss a piano. Musiclovers cannot eliminate the possibility of having a piano around,when they are performing or enjoying music. Piano needs to beappreciated by almost every individual since it makes music to beenjoyable. For instance, in almost every church, it is exceedinglyhard to miss a piano.


Pianohas emerged as one of the commonly used musical instrument that helpsmusicians in composing and rehearsing. There are three differenttypes of piano that can be used by musicians, which include grand,electric, and upright pianos. Upright piano is the most common typeof piano. This type of piano is most common and favorite for mostindividuals because it is not expensive. Invention of the modernpiano can be associated with Bartolomeo Cristofori of Italy. An exactdate when Cristofori built the first piano is not well knownhowever, an inventory made by the Medici family shows that theexistence of a piano was in 1700, while another document indicatesthe dates to be 1698 but this document is of doubtful authenticity. Aprincipal technical innovation, which aided in the creation of thesound of the modern piano, was the utilization of a sturdy ironframe this is also recognized as the “plate”. The iron frameserves as the chief bulwark against the string tension force. Pianohas helped in the transformation of people’s life since it has beencapable of assisting people to produce music as a way of earningincome.


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