Last month, I discussed the history of our beloved piano, a musical instrument revered by many. The instrument invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori has come a long way in terms of intricacy and technical specification, yet, the basis still stands. It has the foundational elements of clavichords, but it has a more distinctive sound than it, while yet allowing for more control and expression than a harpsichord or pipe organ. In other words, the piano's lengthy history has given it the ability to tune lovely sounds that are delightful to our ears, whether it is performed solo or with an orchestra.
I personally think the piano is an excellent instrument for bringing such rich history into our modern world. The exquisite music it generates is due to the structure and composition of our beloved piano, which has remained remarkably faithful to its historical forerunners while constantly advancing to modernization. The basic keyboard, housing case and lid, pedals, keys, hammers, and strings of a piano have remained unchanged ever since the clavichord, pipe organ, harpsichord. Meanwhile, modernization comes in the form of enhanced expressiveness; in which it is capable of reaching a wider range of notes compared to its predecessors.
The essential parts of the piano
We all know that the piano looks complicated at first look, and for first-timers, trying to learn the piano can appear intimidating. Aside from its massive size, the piano's numerous keys, hundreds of strings, hammers, and other components can be difficult to manage for first-time learners. But that’s alright, because, I believe that with practice and progress, every beginner will advance in no time! Besides, your intention and eagerness to learn matter the most to advance in any learnings, and of course, for us in Ensiklomusika Music School. So, let’s learn together to be better!
Now, have you ever considered what makes the piano capable of producing such lovely melodies? How did it come to be the beloved instrument of so many people? What are the parts of the piano that makes it so remarkable? It is critical for every beginner to be able to distinguish the different elements of a piano so that they can use and optimize each part to make beautiful tunes. In the future, who knows, you can even clean those parts yourself when needed. Let's start learning about these parts, what they are, where they go, and what they do!
The keyboard is the most distinctive section of a piano, as it is the section where a pianist interacts the most. A piano’s keyboard has 88 keys in total, of which 36 of them are the shorter black - or the enharmonic, sharps, or flats, and the remaining 52 white keys - or the naturals.
Each key is connected to the internal components of the piano casing, such as the hammer and the strings, which will eventually create beautiful melodies. When you hit a key, it will slide the hammer, strike the strong, and produce different tones.
I am sure you know about this part of the piano, as it is the part that distinguishes the piano compared to other instruments. The casing or lids is the largest part of a piano, where it houses the parts of the instrument that create beautiful melodies. The shape is recognizably distinctive, and depending on the piano types, their housings normally hold different figures and sizes. The grand piano, for instance, has a larger lid openable for clearer, more resonant tones, which are produced by the exposed rings. Another example is the more compact upright piano, whose lid is openable, yet creates lesser tonal resonances when closer to the wall. Yes, you can move the piano away from the wall to enhance its pitches!
Strings and hammers
These components are the essentials of a piano; it is where the musical enchantment takes place! The back part of a piano’s keys are attached to felt-wrapped hammers, and when pressed, the key operates as a fulcrum, pivoting the hammer in a striking motion that contacts the strings when struck. Each string has been tuned and tightened to tune a specific sound or a music note.
The hammer provides a resonant vibration and a distinct sound when it strikes the string.
When a key is released, a tool called the damper drops down to grab the string and stop the vibration, preventing the sounds from flowing together and generating an uncontrollable cacophony.
A damper is normally constructed of felt or soft cloth and helps muffle the vibrating strings after the hammers hit the strings. I mean, we don’t want a mixture between Do and Re, while we are trying to play complete a musical scale, right?
The damper is placed over the strings and operates only when a keypress is released unless the pianist actively uses the bottom pedals.
Let’s now go out from the casing!
When it comes to pedals, the shapes are usually the same, but the amount depends on the piano’s type. It normally comes in sets of two or three and is located at the bottom base of the piano, where a pianist’s feet normally be while playing the piano.
Una corda pedal Sostenuto pedal Damper pedal
Each of these pedals serves a critical part in the creation, maintenance, and finishing of musical notes while the piano is played. The pedals, which are shown above from left to right are defined into these respective definitions:
The una corda or gentle pedal.
Rhe sostenuto pedal to prolongs a note.
Rhe damper or sustaining pedal. This pedal allows strings on the piano to be sustained by removing them from the damper's influence and allowing them to vibrate freely.
What else would you like to know about the piano? Let us know in the comment section below! Do you have any other questions? Contact us here!