The piano is an acoustic, stringed musical instrument invented around the year 1700, in which the strings are struck by hammers. It is played using a keyboard, which is a row of keys that the performer presses down or strikes with the fingers and thumbs of both hands to cause the hammers to strike the strings. The word piano is a form of pianoforte, the Italian term for the early 1700s versions of the instrument. The first fortepianos in the 1700s had a sound and smaller dynamic range. An acoustic piano usually has a wooden case surrounding the soundboard and metal strings. Pressing one or more keys on the keyboard causes a padded hammer to strike the strings. The hammer rebounds from the strings, and the continue to vibrate at their resonant frequency. These vibrations are transmitted through a bridge to a soundboard that amplifies by more efficiently coupling the acoustic energy to the air, when the key is released, a damper stops the strings vibration, ending the sound. Notes can be sustained, even when the keys are released by the fingers and thumbs and this means that the piano can play 88 different pitches, going from the deepest bass range to the highest treble. The black keys are for the accidentals, which are needed to play in all twelve keys, more rarely, some pianos have additional keys. Most notes have three strings, except for the bass that graduates from one to two, the strings are sounded when keys are pressed or struck, and silenced by dampers when the hands are lifted from the keyboard. There are two types of piano, the grand piano and the upright piano. The grand piano is used for Classical solos, chamber music and art song and it is used in jazz. The upright piano, which is compact, is the most popular type, as they are a better size for use in private homes for domestic music-making. During the nineteenth century, music publishers produced many works in arrangements for piano, so that music lovers could play. The piano is widely employed in classical, jazz, traditional and popular music for solo and ensemble performances, accompaniment, with technological advances, amplified electric pianos, electronic pianos, and digital pianos have also been developed. The electric piano became an instrument in the 1960s and 1970s genres of jazz fusion, funk music. The piano was founded on earlier technological innovations in keyboard instruments, pipe organs have been used since Antiquity, and as such, the development of pipe organs enabled instrument builders to learn about creating keyboard mechanisms for sounding pitches
Image: Grand piano and upright piano
Grand piano by Louis Bas of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, France, 1781. Earliest French grand piano known to survive; includes an inverted wrestplank and action derived from the work of Bartolomeo Cristofori (ca. 1700) with ornately decorated soundboard.
Duplex scaling of an 1883 Steinway Model 'A'. From lower left to upper right: main sounding length of strings, treble bridge, duplex string length, duplex bar (nickel-plated bar parallel to bridge), hitchpins, plate strut with bearing bolt, plate hole.
The mechanism and strings in upright pianos are perpendicular to the keys.