The Piano

by   |  September 18, 2013

The Glorious, Glamorous Piano

The Glorious, Glamorous Piano

The piano is one of the most popular instruments—and for good reason.   It provides a great foundation for building music skills.   As such, it’s a great idea to play piano even if you play other instruments.

 

Instrument Family

The piano belongs to the keyboard family of instruments.   However, some like to call it a stringed instrument, since it has strings inside.   Others claim it’s actually a percussion instrument because the hammers hit the strings to make sound.

 

Closest Relatives

The harpsichord, clavichord and electric keyboard are all variations of the keyboard theme.   The pipe organ and electric organ are something like pianos on steroids.

 
 

 

Famous Piano Players

Ludwig von Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Liszt, Frederic Chopin, Feliz Mendelssohn, Johannes Brahms, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Camille Saint-Saens, Claude Debussy

 

Cool Fact

The best vocalists and instrumentalists play piano to supplement their studies on other instruments.

 

Reality

Many, many people take piano lessons as children.   Most often, they are forced into it by their parents.   Most students quit at a young age and end up regretting it.

 

Range

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The piano contains all the notes you’ll ever find on other instruments.   Could we possibly put in any more shameless plugs for the fact that you should play piano, no matter who you are?

 

Staff Used

Piano players use all the staffs.   Most commonly, however, they use the Grand Staff, which consists of the Bass and Treble Clefs.

 

How to Play

The great thing about the piano is that anyone can make a sound right away on this instrument.   All you have to do is touch the piano keys.   The challenge, however, is coming to coordinate the left hand and the right hand.   In essence, each hand becomes its own member of your own little duet.
 
Since you can play two parts at once, the piano is one of the few instruments that sounds great on its own.   Most other instruments, by contrast, need accompaniment from the piano or another instrument to sound like they’re playing “in context”.

 

How to Tune a Piano

Electric pianos are great because they require no tuning.   Acoustic pianos, however, need an occasional tune-up.
 
To tune the piano requires adjusting the sound the strings make by either tightening or loosening them.   Each of the 88 keys corresponds to a string, and each one must be adjusted as needed.   There are so many different tuning systems that it really becomes a matter of personal preference as to which one sounds best.
 
If your piano is out of tune, call a tuning specialist.   There is just too much to learn about tuning a piano if you have no clue what you’re doing!   But if you really feel like learning, here is a video to help you figure it out.
 

More on: Classical Music, For Music Students, Knowledge, Musical Instruments
About the Author:

Having achieved so many of her own dreams, Mimi West has devoted her career to paying it forward to the rising generation of musicians. You can follow her on Twitter @mydreamteacher.
Publshed: September 18, 2013  | 
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