Piano

For other uses, see Piano (disambiguation). A grand piano

A piano is a keyboard instrument, widely used in western music for solo performance, chamber music, and accompaniment, and also as a convenient aid to composing and rehearsal.

The piano produces sound by striking steel strings with felt hammers. These vibrations are transmitted though the bridges to the soundboard.

The word piano is a shortened form of the word "pianoforte", which is seldom used except in formal language. It is derived from the original Italian name for the instrument, clavicembalo col piano e forte. Literally harpsichord with soft and loud, this refers to the ability of the piano to produce notes at different volumes depending on how hard its keys are pressed.

As a keyboard stringed instrument, the piano is similar to the clavichord and harpsichord. The three instruments differ in the mechanism of sound production. In a harpsichord, strings are plucked by quills or similar material. In the clavichord, strings are struck by tangents which remain in contact with the string. In a piano, the strings are struck by hammers which immediately rebound, leaving the string to vibrate freely.

Early history

Bartolomeo Cristofori of Florence, Italy, invented the first pianoforte. He called it a gravicembalo col piano e forte. When he built this instrument is not entirely clear, but an inventory made by Cristofori's employers, the Medici family, indicates the existence of an early Cristofori instrument by the year 1700. Cristofori built only about twenty pianofortes before he died in 1731; the three that survive today date from the 1720s.

Like many other inventions, the pianoforte was founded on earlier technological innovations. In particular, it benefited from centuries of work on the harpsichord, which had shown the most effective ways to construct the case, the soundboard, the bridge, and the keyboard. Cristofori, himself a harpsichord maker, was well acquainted with this body of knowledge.

Cristofori's great success was to solve, without any prior example, the fundamental mechanical problem of piano design: the hammers must strike the string but not continue to touch it once they have struck (which would damp the sound). Moreover, the hammers must return to their rest position without bouncing violently, and it must be possible to repeat a note rapidly. Cristofori's piano action served as a model for the many different approaches to piano actions that were to follow.

Cristofori's early instruments were made with thin strings and were much quieter than the modern piano. However, in comparison with the clavichord (the only previous keyboard instrument capable of dynamic nuance) they were considerably louder, and had more sustaining power.

Cristofori's new instrument remained relatively unknown until an Italian writer, Scipione Maffei, wrote an enthusiastic article about it (1711), including a diagram of the mechanism. This article was widely distributed, and most of the next generation of piano builders started their work as a result of reading it.

One of these builders was Gottfried Silbermann, better known as an organ builder. Silbermann's pianos were virtually direct copies of Cristofori's, but with an important addition: Silbermann invented the forerunner of the modern damper pedal (also known as the sustaining pedal or loud pedal), which lifts all the dampers from the strings at once. Virtually all subsequent pianos incorporated some version of Silbermann's idea.

Silbermann showed Bach one of his early instruments in the 1730s. Bach did not like it at that time, claiming that the higher notes were too soft to allow a full dynamic range. Though this earned him some animosity from Silbermann, the latter did apparently heed the criticism. Bach did approve of a later instrument he saw in 1747, and apparently even served as an agent to help sell Silbermann's pianos.

Piano-making flourished during the late 18th century in the work of the Viennese school, which included Johann Andreas Stein (who worked in Augsburg, Germany) and the Viennese makers Nannette Stein (daughter of Johann Andreas) and Anton Walter. The Viennese-style pianos were built with wooden frames, two strings per note, and had leather-covered hammers. It was for such instruments that Mozart composed his concertos and sonatas, and replicas of them are built today for use in authentic-instrument performance. The piano of Mozart's day had a softer, clearer tone than today's pianos, with less sustaining power. The term fortepiano is nowadays often used to distinguish the 18th-century style of instrument from later pianos.

Development of the modern piano

In the lengthy period lasting from about 1790 to 1890, the Mozart-era piano underwent tremendous changes which led to the modern form of the instrument. This evolution was in response to a consistent preference by composers and pianists for a more powerful, sustained piano sound. It was also a response to the ongoing Industrial Revolution, which made available technological resources like high-quality steel for strings (see piano wire) and precision casting for the production of iron frames.

Over time, piano playing became a more strenuous and muscle-taxing activity, as the force needed to depress the keys, as well as the length of key travel, was increased. The tonal range of the piano was also increased, from the five octaves of Mozart's day to the 7 1/3 (or even more) octaves found on modern pianos.

In the first part of this era, technological progress owed much to the English firm of Broadwood, which already had a strong reputation for the splendour and powerful tone of its harpsichords. Over time, the Broadwood instruments grew progressively larger, louder, and more robustly constructed. The Broadwood firm, which sent pianos to both Haydn and Beethoven, was the first to build pianos with a range of more than five octaves: five octaves and a fifth during the 1790s, six octaves by 1810 (in time for Beethoven to use the extra notes in his later works), and seven octaves by 1820. The Viennese makers followed these trends. The two schools, however, used different piano actions: the Broadwood one more robust, the Viennese more sensitive.

By the 1820s, the centre of innovation had shifted to Paris, where the Érard firm manufactured pianos used by Chopin and Liszt. In 1821, Sébastien Érard invented the double escapement action, which permitted a note to be repeated even if the key had not yet risen to its maximum vertical position, a great benefit for rapid playing. As revised by Henri Herz about 1840, the double escapement action ultimately became the standard action for grand pianos, used by all manufacturers.

Some other important technical innovations of this era include the following:

  • use of three strings rather than two for all but the lower notes
  • the iron frame. The iron frame, also called the "plate", sits atop the soundboard, and serves as the primary bulwark against the force of string tension. The iron frame was the ultimate solution to the problem of structural integrity as the strings were gradually made thicker, tenser, and more numerous (in a modern grand the total string tension can approach 20 tons). The single piece cast iron frame was patented in 1825 in Boston by Alpheus Babcock, culminating an earlier trend to use ever more iron parts to reinforce the piano. Babcock later worked for the Chickering & Mackays firm, where the first iron frame in grand pianos (1843) was developed.
  • felt hammers. The harder, tauter steel strings required a softer hammer type to maintain good tone quality. Hammers covered with compressed felt were introduced by the Parisian maker Jean-Henri Pape in 1826, and are now universally used.
  • the sostenuto pedal (see below), invented in 1844 by Jean Louis Boisselot and improved by the Steinway firm in 1874.
  • the overstrung scale, also called "cross-stringing". The strings are placed in a vertically overlapping slanted arrangement, with two heights of bridges on the soundboard, rather than just one. This permits larger, but not necessarily longer, strings to fit within the case of the piano. Overstringing was invented by Jean-Henri Pape during the 1820s, and first patented for use in grand pianos in the United States by Henry Steinway Jr. in 1859.
Duplex scaling: Treble strings of a 182 cm. grand piano. From lower left to upper right: dampers, main sounding length of strings, treble bridge, duplex string length, duplex bridge (long bar perpendicular to strings), hitchpins.
  • duplexes or aliquot scales. In 1872 Theodore Steinway patented a system to control different components of string vibrations by tuning their secondary parts in octave relationships with the sounding lengths. Similar systems developed by Blüthner (1873), as well as Taskin (1788), and Collard (1821) used more distinctly ringing undamped vibrations to modify tone.

The modern concert grand achieved essentially its present form around the beginning of the 20th century, and progress since then has been only incremental. For some recent developments, see Innovations in the piano.

Some early pianos had shapes and designs that are no longer in use. The once-popular square piano was an inexpensive design that had the strings and frame on a horizontal plane, but running across the length of the keyboard rather than away from it. It was similar to the upright piano in its mechanism. Square pianos were produced through the early 20th century; the tone they produced is widely considered to be inferior. Most had a wood frame, though later designs incorporated increasing amounts of iron. The giraffe piano, by contrast, was mechanically like a grand piano, but the strings ran vertically up from the keyboard rather than horizontally away from it, making it a very tall instrument. These were uncommon.

History and musical performance

The huge changes in the evolution of the piano have somewhat vexing consequences for musical performance. The problem is that much of the most widely admired piano repertoire — for example, that of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven — was composed for a type of instrument that is rather different from the modern instruments on which this music is normally performed today. Even the music of the early Romantics, such as Chopin and Schumann, was written for pianos substantially different from ours.

One view that is sometimes taken is that these composers were dissatisfied with their pianos, and in fact were writing visionary "music of the future" with a more robust sound in mind. This view is perhaps more plausible in the case of Beethoven, who composed at the beginning of the era of piano growth, than it is in the case of Haydn or Mozart. Others have noted that the music itself often seems to require the resources of the early piano. For example, Beethoven sometimes wrote long passages in which he directs the player to keep the damper pedal down throughout (a famous example occurs in the last movement of the "Waldstein" sonata, Op. 53). These sound rather blurred on a modern piano if played as written, but which sound fine when played on restorations or replicas of the pianos of Beethoven's day.

A few pianists simply ignore this problem; others modify their playing style to help compensate for the difference in instruments, for example by using less pedal. Finally, participants in the authentic performance movement have constructed new copies of the old instruments and used them in performance; this has provided important new insights and interpretations of the music.

The modern piano

Types

Modern pianos come in two basic configurations and several sizes: the grand piano and the upright piano.

Grand pianos have the frame and strings placed horizontally, with the strings extending away from the keyboard. This makes the grand piano a large instrument, for which the ideal setting is a spacious room with high ceilings for proper resonance. There are several sizes of grand piano. Manufacturers and models vary, but a rough generalisation distinguishes the "concert grand", (between about 2.2 m to 3 m long) from the "boudoir grand" (about 1.7 m to 2.2 m) and the smaller "baby grand" (which may be shorter than it is wide). All else being equal, longer pianos have better sound and lower inharmonicity of the strings (so that the strings can be tuned closer to equal temperament in relation to the standard pitch with less stretching), so that full-size grands are almost always used for public concerts, whereas baby grands are often chosen for domestic use where space and cost are considerations.

Yamaha U3-S Upright Piano

Upright pianos, also called vertical pianos, are more compact because the frame and strings are placed vertically, extending in both directions from the keyboard and hammers. It is considered harder to produce a sensitive piano action when the hammers move horizontally, rather than upward against gravity as in a grand piano; however, the very best upright pianos now approach the level of grand pianos of the same size in tone quality and responsiveness. For recent advances, see Innovations in the piano.

In 1863, Henri Fourneaux invented the player piano, a kind of piano which "plays itself" from a piano roll without the need for a pianist. Also in the 19th century, toy pianos began to be manufactured.

A relatively recent development is the prepared piano, which is simply a standard grand piano which has had objects placed inside it before a performance in order to alter its sound, or which has had its mechanism changed in some way.

Since the 1980s, digital pianos have been available, which use digital sampling technology to reproduce the sound of each piano note. The best digital pianos are sophisticated, with features including working pedals, weighted keys, multiple voices, MIDI interfaces. However, with current technology, it remains difficult to duplicate a crucial aspect of acoustic pianos, namely that when the damper pedal (see below) is depressed, the strings not struck vibrate sympathetically when other strings are struck. Since this sympathetic vibration is considered central to a beautiful piano tone, in many experts' estimation digital pianos still do not compete with the best acoustic pianos in tone quality. Progress is being made in this area by including physical models of sympathetic vibration in the synthesis software.

Keyboard

For the arrangement of the keys on a piano keyboard, see Musical keyboard. This arrangement was inherited from the harpsichord without change, with the trivial exception of the colour scheme (white for notes in the C major scale and black for other notes) which became standard for pianos in the late 18th century.

Almost every modern piano has 88 keys (seven octaves plus a minor third, from A0 to C8). Many older pianos only have 85 keys (seven octaves from A0 to A7), while some manufacturers extend the range further in one or both directions. The most notable example of an extended range can be found on Bösendorfer pianos, two models which extend the normal range downwards to F0, with one other model going as far as a bottom C0, making a full eight octave range. Sometimes, these extra keys are hidden under a small hinged lid, which can be flipped down to cover the keys and avoid visual disorientation in a pianist unfamiliar with the extended keyboard; on others, the colours of the extra white keys are reversed (black instead of white). The extra keys are added primarily for increased resonance; that is, they vibrate sympathetically with other strings whenever the damper pedal is depressed and thus give a fuller tone. Only a very small number of works composed for piano actually use these notes. More recently, the Stuart and Sons company has also manufactured extended-range pianos. On their instruments, the range is extended both down the bass to F0 and up the treble to F8 for a full eight octaves. The extra keys are the same as the other keys in appearance.

Pedals

Pianos have had pedals, or some close equivalent, since the earliest days. (In the 18th century, some pianos used levers pressed upward by the player's knee instead of pedals.) The three pedals that have become more or less standard on the modern piano are the following.

The damper pedal (also called the sustaining pedal or loud pedal) is often simply called "the pedal," since it is the most frequently used. It is placed as the rightmost pedal in the group. Every string on the piano, except the top two octaves, is equipped with a damper, which is a padded device that prevents the string from vibrating. The damper is raised off the string whenever the key for that note is pressed. When the damper pedal is pressed, all the dampers on the piano are lifted at once, so that every string can vibrate. This serves two purposes. First, it assists the pianist in producing a legato (playing smoothly connected notes) in passages where no fingering is available to make this otherwise possible. Secondly, raising the damper pedal causes all the strings to vibrate sympathetically with whichever notes are being played, which greatly enriches the piano's tone.

Sensitive pedaling is one of the techniques a pianist must master, since piano music from Chopin onwards tends to benefit from extensive use of the sustaining pedal, both as a means of achieving a singing tone and as an aid to legato. In contrast, the sustaining pedal was used only sparingly by the composers of the 18th century, including Haydn, Mozart and in early works by Beethoven; in that era, pedalling was considered primarily as a special coloristic effect.

The soft pedal or "una corda" pedal is placed leftmost in the row of pedals. On a grand piano, this pedal shifts the whole action including the keyboard slightly to the left, so that hammers that normally strike all three of the strings for a note strike only two of them. This softens the note and also modifies its tone quality. For notation of the soft pedal in printed music, see Italian musical terms.

The soft pedal was invented by Cristofori and thus appeared on the very earliest pianos. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, the soft pedal was more effective than today, since it was possible at that time to use it to strike three, two or even just one string per note—this is the origin of the name "una corda", Italian for "one string". In modern pianos, the strings are spaced too closely to permit a true "una corda" effect — if shifted far enough to strike just one string on one note, the hammers would also hit the string of the next note.

On upright pianos, the soft pedal operates a mechanism which moves the hammers' resting position closer to the strings. Since the hammers have less distance to travel this reduces the speed at which they hit the strings, and hence the volume is reduced, but this does not change tone quality in the way the "una corda" pedal does on a grand piano.

Digital pianos often use this pedal to alter the sound to that of another instrument such as the organ, guitar, or harmonica. Pitch bends, leslie speaker on/off, vibrato modulation, etc. increase the already-great versatility of such instruments.

The sostenuto pedal or "middle pedal" keeps raised any damper that was raised at the moment the pedal is depressed. This makes it possible to sustain some notes (by depressing the sostenuto pedal before notes to be sustained are released) while the player's hands are free to play other notes. This can be useful for musical passages with pedal points and other otherwise tricky or impossible situations. The sostenuto pedal was the last of the three pedals to be added to the standard piano, and to this day many pianos are not equipped with a sostenuto pedal. (Almost all modern grand pianos have a sostenuto pedal, while most upright pianos do not.) A number of twentieth-century works specifically call for the use of this pedal, for example Olivier Messiaen's Catalogue d'oiseaux.

Some upright pianos have a practice pedal in place of the sostenuto. This pedal, which can usually be locked in place by depressing it and pushing it to one side, drops a strip of felt between the hammers and the keys so that all the notes are greatly muted — a handy feature for those wish to practice in domestic surroundings without disturbing the neighbours. The practice pedal is rarely used in performance. Other uprights have a bass sustain as a middle pedal. It works like the damper pedal, but only lifts the dampers for the lowest notes.

The rare transposing piano, of which Irving Berlin possessed an example, uses the middle pedal as a clutch which disengages the keyboard from the mechanism, enabling the keyboard to be moved to left or right with a lever. The entire action of the piano is thus shifted to allow the pianist to play music written in one key so that it sounds in a different key.

Materials

Many parts of a piano are made of materials selected for extreme sturdiness. In quality pianos, the outer rim of the piano is made of a hardwood, normally maple or beech. According to Harold A. Conklin, the purpose of a sturdy rim is so that "the vibrational energy will stay as much as possible in the soundboard instead of dissipating uselessly in the case parts, which are inefficient radiators of sound." The rim is normally made by laminating flexible strips of hardwood to the desired shape, a system that was developed by Theodore Steinway in 1880.

The thick wooden braces at the bottom (grands) or back (uprights) of the piano are not as acoustically important as the rim, and are often made of a softwood, even in top-quality pianos, in order to save weight.

The pinblock, which holds the tuning pins in place, is another area of the piano where toughness is important. It is made of hardwood, and generally is laminated (built of multiple layers) for additional strength and gripping power.

Piano strings (also called piano wire), which must endure years of extreme tension and hard blows, are made of high quality steel. They are manufactured to vary as little as possible in diameter, since all deviations from uniformity introduce tonal distortion. The bass strings of a piano are made of a steel core wrapped with copper wire, to increase their flexibility. For the acoustic reasons behind this, see Piano acoustics.

The plate, or metal frame, of a piano is usually made of cast iron. It is advantageous for the plate to be quite massive. Since the strings are attached to the plate at one end, any vibrations transmitted to the plate will result in loss of energy to the desired (efficient) channel of sound transmission, namely the bridge and the soundboard. Some manufacturers now use cast steel in their plates, for greater strength. The casting of the plate is a delicate art, since the dimensions are crucial and the iron shrinks by about one percent during cooling. The inclusion in a piano of an extremely large piece of metal is potentially an aesthetic handicap. Piano makers overcome this handicap by polishing, painting, and decorating the plate; often plates include the manufacturer's ornamental medallion and can be strikingly attractive.

The numerous grand parts and upright parts of a piano action are generally hardwood (e.g. maple, beech. hornbeam). Since World War II, plastics have become available. Early plastics were incorporated into some pianos in the late 1940s and 1950s, but proved disastrous because they crystallized and lost their strength after only a few decades of use. The Steinway firm once incorporated Teflon, a synthetic material developed by DuPont, for some grand action parts in place of cloth, but ultimately abandoned the experiment due to an inherent "clicking" which invariably developed over time. More recently, the Kawai firm has built pianos with action parts made of more modern and effective plastics such as carbon fiber; these parts have held up better and have generally received the respect of piano technicians.

View from below of a 182-cm grand piano. In order of distance from viewer: softwood braces, tapered soundboard ribs, soundboard. The metal rod at lower right is a humidity control device.

The part of the piano where materials probably matter more than anywhere else is the soundboard. In quality pianos this is made of solid spruce (that is, spruce boards glued together at their edges). Spruce is chosen for its high ratio of strength to weight. The best piano makers use close-grained, quarter-sawn, defect-free spruce, and make sure that it has been carefully dried over a long period of time before making it into soundboards. In cheap pianos, the soundboard is often made of plywood.

Piano keys are generally made of spruce or basswood, for lightness. Spruce is normally used in high-quality pianos. Traditionally, the black keys were made from ebony and the white keys were covered with strips of ivory, but since ivory-yielding species are now endangered and protected by treaty, plastics are now almost exclusively used. Legal ivory can still be obtained in limited quantities. At one time the Yamaha firm innovated a plastic called "Ivorine" or "Ivorite", since imitated by other makers, that mimics the look and feel of ivory.

The requirement of structural strength, fulfilled with stout hardwood and thick metal, makes a piano heavy; even a small upright can weigh 136 kg (300 lb), and the Steinway concert grand (Model D) weighs 480 kg (990 lb). The largest piano built, the Fazioli F308, weighs 691 kg (1520 lb).

Care and maintenance

Pianos are regularly tuned to keep them up to pitch and produce a pleasing sound; by convention they are tuned to the internationally recognised standard concert pitch of A = 440 Hz.

The hammers of pianos are voiced to compensate for gradual hardening. Top-quality but aged pianos can be restored or reconditioned, by replacing a great number of their parts to produce an instrument closely similar to a new one.

Role of the piano

The piano is a crucial instrument in Western classical music, jazz, film, television and electronic game music, and most other complex western musical genres. A large number of composers being proficient pianists, the piano is often used as a tool for composition.

Pianos were, and are, extremely popular instruments for private household ownership, especially among the middle- and upper-classes. Hence pianos have gained a place in the popular consciousness, and are sometimes referred to by nicknames, including: "the ivories", "the joanna", "the eighty-eight", and "the black(s) and white(s)." Playing the piano is sometimes referred to as "tickling the ivories".

See also: Social history of the piano

Further reading

  • The authoritative New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (available online by subscription), contains a wealth of information on the piano. Main article: "Pianoforte".
  • The Encyclopædia Britannica (available online by subscription) also includes a great deal of information about the piano. In the 1988 edition, the primary article can be found in "Musical Instruments".
  • The Piano Book by Larry Fine (4th ed. Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts: Brookside Press, 2001; ISBN 1-929145-01-2) gives the basics of how pianos work, and a thorough evaluative survey of current pianos and their manufacturers. It also includes advice on buying and owning pianos.
  • The pianist's guide to pedaling by Joseph Banowetz (Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 1985) offers a history of the three piano pedals and covers the wide variety of ways in which they are used by professional pianists.
  • Piano roles : three hundred years of life with the piano by James Parakilas (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1999) provides much history of the instrument.
  • The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Thad Carhart (Random House, 2002; ISBN 0375758623) is a partly autobiographical exploration of the diversity and history of the piano, and is a readable introduction by an enthusiast.
  • Piano Servicing, Tuning and Rebuilding: For the Professional, the Student, and the Hobbyist by Arthur A. Reblitz (Vestal Press, ISBN 1-879511-03-7)

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See also: Social history of the piano. Plymouth also maintains a link with:. Hence pianos have gained a place in the popular consciousness, and are sometimes referred to by nicknames, including: "the ivories", "the joanna", "the eighty-eight", and "the black(s) and white(s)." Playing the piano is sometimes referred to as "tickling the ivories". The twin cities of Plymouth are:. Pianos were, and are, extremely popular instruments for private household ownership, especially among the middle- and upper-classes. Examples include Some Bizarre, which also lost customers as a result of the demolition of a pedestrian subway and more recently Kathie's Comics, an esoteric comic and game enthusiast store. A large number of composers being proficient pianists, the piano is often used as a tool for composition. Since development of the new shopping centre began, shop rents in the city centre have been significantly increased, inadvertently pushing smaller retail outlets out of the marketplace.

The piano is a crucial instrument in Western classical music, jazz, film, television and electronic game music, and most other complex western musical genres. Millbay itself, currently by day a wasteland and by night a red light district, is also to be regenerated with mixed residential, retail and office space alongside extensive new harbour facilities. Top-quality but aged pianos can be restored or reconditioned, by replacing a great number of their parts to produce an instrument closely similar to a new one. Other future plans include the demolition of the Plymouth Pavilions entertainment arena to create a boulevard linking Millbay to the city centre. The hammers of pianos are voiced to compensate for gradual hardening. A new £20 million nine-storey Jury's Inn hotel is being developed near the landmark ruined church and war memorial, Charles Church, along with a new Arts Centre adjacent to the university. Pianos are regularly tuned to keep them up to pitch and produce a pleasing sound; by convention they are tuned to the internationally recognised standard concert pitch of A = 440 Hz. Former public leisure centre, the Ballard Centre is currently being replaced with high quality urban living and office space along with a project involving the future demolition of the Bretonside bus station.

The largest piano built, the Fazioli F308, weighs 691 kg (1520 lb). Two of Plymouth's greatest eyesores; the old Drake Circus shopping centre and Charles Cross car park, have already been demolished and are currently being replaced by the new £200 million Drake Circus shopping centre, which is due to open on 5 October 2006. The requirement of structural strength, fulfilled with stout hardwood and thick metal, makes a piano heavy; even a small upright can weigh 136 kg (300 lb), and the Steinway concert grand (Model D) weighs 480 kg (990 lb). The 'Vision for Plymouth' launched by the internationally renowned architect David MacKay, and fully backed by Plymouth City Council is set to see areas of the city centre demolished, redesigned and rebuilt by the year 2020. At one time the Yamaha firm innovated a plastic called "Ivorine" or "Ivorite", since imitated by other makers, that mimics the look and feel of ivory. Plymouth is currently undertaking a massive project of urban redevelopment, the largest since the city was rebuilt after the Second World War. Legal ivory can still be obtained in limited quantities. (Formerly The Western Evening Herald).

Traditionally, the black keys were made from ebony and the white keys were covered with strips of ivory, but since ivory-yielding species are now endangered and protected by treaty, plastics are now almost exclusively used. The main regional newspaper is the Western Morning News, whose headquarters and printworks were designed by architect Nicholas Grimshaw.The local news printed by the same publisher is The Evening Herald. Spruce is normally used in high-quality pianos. The regional stations include BBC Radio Devon, BBC Radio Cornwall and Pirate FM. Piano keys are generally made of spruce or basswood, for lightness. Since June 2005, another commercial station, Armada FM, has started broadcasting to the city. In cheap pianos, the soundboard is often made of plywood. The city's main commercial radio station is Plymouth Sound FM.

The best piano makers use close-grained, quarter-sawn, defect-free spruce, and make sure that it has been carefully dried over a long period of time before making it into soundboards. The Plymouth Admirals; Plymouth's American Football team play in BSL Division Two South Western Conference. Spruce is chosen for its high ratio of strength to weight. The Plymouth Raiders basketball team plays in the British Basketball League. In quality pianos this is made of solid spruce (that is, spruce boards glued together at their edges). The Plymouth Rugby League Football Club play in the Rugby League Conference South West Division. The part of the piano where materials probably matter more than anywhere else is the soundboard. The Plymouth Albion Rugby Football Club plays in the National League Division One.

More recently, the Kawai firm has built pianos with action parts made of more modern and effective plastics such as carbon fiber; these parts have held up better and have generally received the respect of piano technicians. The club is based at the Home Park stadium in Central Park. The Steinway firm once incorporated Teflon, a synthetic material developed by DuPont, for some grand action parts in place of cloth, but ultimately abandoned the experiment due to an inherent "clicking" which invariably developed over time. The city is home to Plymouth Argyle Football Club, which plays in the English Football League's Championship division. Early plastics were incorporated into some pianos in the late 1940s and 1950s, but proved disastrous because they crystallized and lost their strength after only a few decades of use. Other significant green spaces include Victoria Park, Freedom Fields, Alexandra Park, Keyham, Beaumont Park, St Judes, Greenbank Park, Devonport Park and Westwell Gardens. Since World War II, plastics have become available. Plymouth has a number of public parks, the most significant of which is the massive Central Park.

hornbeam). The other consistantly high performing schools in Plymouth are Devonport High School for Boys and Devonport High School for Girls, two selective Grammar Schools with a reputation for academic excellence, Plymouth High School for Girls located near the city centre and Plymstock School, a comprehensive school and Specialist Sports College. maple, beech. Plymouth College, one of England's public schools, is situated in Ford Park, to the north of the city centre. The numerous grand parts and upright parts of a piano action are generally hardwood (e.g. The College offers a wide selection of innovative and traditional courses relating to the world of art and design. Piano makers overcome this handicap by polishing, painting, and decorating the plate; often plates include the manufacturer's ornamental medallion and can be strikingly attractive. The Plymouth College of Art and Design (referred to as PCAD) is located at Drake Circus.

The inclusion in a piano of an extremely large piece of metal is potentially an aesthetic handicap. Plymouth College of Further Education is a highly successful college with many national awards for teaching and is to be found on the old site of Devonport Station which was Plymouth's largest and most important station until the cuts of Beeching. The casting of the plate is a delicate art, since the dimensions are crucial and the iron shrinks by about one percent during cooling. Plymouth has one of the largest Further Education Colleges in the country providing courses from the most basic to Foundation Degrees, it enrols more than 20,000 students a year. Some manufacturers now use cast steel in their plates, for greater strength. Marjon is affiliated to the University of Exeter. Since the strings are attached to the plate at one end, any vibrations transmitted to the plate will result in loss of energy to the desired (efficient) channel of sound transmission, namely the bridge and the soundboard. The College of St Mark and St John (often referred to as "Marjons"), is primarily a teacher training college, although it also offers degree courses in a wide range of subjects.

It is advantageous for the plate to be quite massive. The University of Plymouth is the largest university in the Southwest of England with over 30,000 students, almost 3,000 staff and an annual income of around £110 million. The plate, or metal frame, of a piano is usually made of cast iron. The city is also one of 22 British cities to trial the new Business Improvement District initiative. For the acoustic reasons behind this, see Piano acoustics. An annual influx of 11.8 million tourists is another major contributor to the local economy. The bass strings of a piano are made of a steel core wrapped with copper wire, to increase their flexibility. As the chief regional city of Devon and Cornwall, Plymouth has a catchment area of over 720,000 people with an annual high street expenditure of over £600 million being spent in the city.

They are manufactured to vary as little as possible in diameter, since all deviations from uniformity introduce tonal distortion. In terms of retail Plymouth is ranked second in the South West and 29th nationally. Piano strings (also called piano wire), which must endure years of extreme tension and hard blows, are made of high quality steel. In the past eight years employment has risen 11%, however, employment and wages still remain significantly below the national average. It is made of hardwood, and generally is laminated (built of multiple layers) for additional strength and gripping power. The decline of heavy industries has had a negative effect on the city's employment figures. The pinblock, which holds the tuning pins in place, is another area of the piano where toughness is important. The recent decline of these industries has seen a greater diversification towards a service based economy based on healthcare, food and drink and call centres with electronics, advanced engineering and boat building still maintaining a prime role.

The thick wooden braces at the bottom (grands) or back (uprights) of the piano are not as acoustically important as the rim, and are often made of a softwood, even in top-quality pianos, in order to save weight. The economy of Plymouth has traditionally been linked to its coastal location focusing around fishing and the military, in particular Devonport Dockyard. Conklin, the purpose of a sturdy rim is so that "the vibrational energy will stay as much as possible in the soundboard instead of dissipating uselessly in the case parts, which are inefficient radiators of sound." The rim is normally made by laminating flexible strips of hardwood to the desired shape, a system that was developed by Theodore Steinway in 1880. The rail link in Plymouth offers direct travel by First Great Western and Virgin Trains to Penzance in Cornwall and Paddington in London and links to the North of England by Virgin Trains. According to Harold A. Due to the airport's central location expansion is limited and public opinion towards building a new airport to the east of the city remain divided between the economic benefits to the local economy and the environmental concerns over building in the countryside. In quality pianos, the outer rim of the piano is made of a hardwood, normally maple or beech. The expansion of this airport to provide flights to continental Europe is currently a controversial issue in the city.

Many parts of a piano are made of materials selected for extreme sturdiness. Air Southwest and Air Wales both operate short flights to destinations within Great Britain, Ireland and the Channel Islands. The entire action of the piano is thus shifted to allow the pianist to play music written in one key so that it sounds in a different key. Air travel to Plymouth is directly to Plymouth City Airport, or 'Roborough', a small airport located four miles north of the city centre, just off the A386 road to Tavistock. The rare transposing piano, of which Irving Berlin possessed an example, uses the middle pedal as a clutch which disengages the keyboard from the mechanism, enabling the keyboard to be moved to left or right with a lever. These actions will see Plymouth revert from a predominantly naval port, where British and other foreign warships and submarines regularly dock, and return to a major destination of international cruise liners, as was common before the Second World War. It works like the damper pedal, but only lifts the dampers for the lowest notes. Currently Millbay is only the point where passengers are transported in tenders to and from cruise liners that occasionally stop off in the Plymouth Sound.

Other uprights have a bass sustain as a middle pedal. The berths in Millbay have recently been expanded to accommodate the new fleet of luxury ferries and future redevelopment is planned to transform the harbour into a major port that will also accommodate incoming cruise liners. The practice pedal is rarely used in performance. A regular ferry service provided by Brittany Ferries operates from Millbay taking cars and foot passengers directly to Roscoff, Brittany and Santander, Spain. This pedal, which can usually be locked in place by depressing it and pushing it to one side, drops a strip of felt between the hammers and the keys so that all the notes are greatly muted — a handy feature for those wish to practice in domestic surroundings without disturbing the neighbours. A small foot-passenger ferry also runs between Stonehouse and the Cornish village of Cremyll; adjacent to the Mount Edgcumbe estate. Some upright pianos have a practice pedal in place of the sostenuto. The major rail link to Cornwall, the Royal Albert Bridge runs side-by-side with the road bridge.

(Almost all modern grand pianos have a sostenuto pedal, while most upright pianos do not.) A number of twentieth-century works specifically call for the use of this pedal, for example Olivier Messiaen's Catalogue d'oiseaux. The city is one of the primary gateways to Cornwall providing access by way of the Torpoint Ferry across the Hamoaze, and the Tamar Bridge linking the St Budeaux area of Plymouth on the Devon bank of the Tamar to Saltash on the Cornish bank. The sostenuto pedal was the last of the three pedals to be added to the standard piano, and to this day many pianos are not equipped with a sostenuto pedal. As of the 2005 General Election the two former constituencies are held by Labour MPs Alison Seabeck and Linda Gilroy respectively with the latter held by Conservative MP Gary Streeter. This can be useful for musical passages with pedal points and other otherwise tricky or impossible situations. In Westminster, Plymouth is represented by the three constituencies of Plymouth Devonport, Plymouth Sutton and Southwest Devon. This makes it possible to sustain some notes (by depressing the sostenuto pedal before notes to be sustained are released) while the player's hands are free to play other notes. Once the private residence of Waldorf and Nancy Astor, it was presented by Lady Astor to the City of Plymouth as a residence for future Lord Mayors and is used today for civic hospitality by visiting dignatories and circuit judges.

The sostenuto pedal or "middle pedal" keeps raised any damper that was raised at the moment the pedal is depressed. The Lord Mayor of Plymouth's official residence is 3 Elliot Terrace, located on the Hoe. increase the already-great versatility of such instruments. It was in 1935 that the grant of dignity of Lord Mayor was announced; before that the office was Mayor. Pitch bends, leslie speaker on/off, vibrato modulation, etc. The current Lord Mayor is Patrick Nicholson who is the 538th holder of the office since its establishment in 1439. Digital pianos often use this pedal to alter the sound to that of another instrument such as the organ, guitar, or harmonica. There is also a Leader of the Council (the Chairman of the Cabinet) and a leader of each political group.

Since the hammers have less distance to travel this reduces the speed at which they hit the strings, and hence the volume is reduced, but this does not change tone quality in the way the "una corda" pedal does on a grand piano. The Council is headed by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman, both positions being held by the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor respectively. On upright pianos, the soft pedal operates a mechanism which moves the hammers' resting position closer to the strings. The local election of June 2004 resulted in a current political composition of 35 Labour, 19 Conservative, two Liberal Democrat and one Independent Councillors. In modern pianos, the strings are spaced too closely to permit a true "una corda" effect — if shifted far enough to strike just one string on one note, the hammers would also hit the string of the next note. The local elections are held every four years with elections for one third of Council seats being held each year, the total electorate for Plymouth is 184,956 as of December 2003. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, the soft pedal was more effective than today, since it was possible at that time to use it to strike three, two or even just one string per note—this is the origin of the name "una corda", Italian for "one string". Councillors are also known as Members of the Council and usually stand for election as members of national political parties.

The soft pedal was invented by Cristofori and thus appeared on the very earliest pianos. The City of Plymouth is divided into 20 electoral wards, 17 of which elect three local Councillors and the other three electing two local Councillors to the 57 seats of the City Council. For notation of the soft pedal in printed music, see Italian musical terms. On 1 April 1998 these responsibilities were transfered back when the City Council became a unitary authority. This softens the note and also modifies its tone quality. On 1 April 1974 responsibility for education, social services, highways and libraries was transferred to Devon County Council. On a grand piano, this pedal shifts the whole action including the keyboard slightly to the left, so that hammers that normally strike all three of the strings for a note strike only two of them. The city's boundaries were extended in the mid-1930s and further expanded in 1967 to include the town of Plympton and the parish of Plymstock.

The soft pedal or "una corda" pedal is placed leftmost in the row of pedals. In 1928 the County Borough of Plymouth was granted city status. In contrast, the sustaining pedal was used only sparingly by the composers of the 18th century, including Haydn, Mozart and in early works by Beethoven; in that era, pedalling was considered primarily as a special coloristic effect. Collectively they were referred to as "The Three Towns". Sensitive pedaling is one of the techniques a pianist must master, since piano music from Chopin onwards tends to benefit from extensive use of the sustaining pedal, both as a means of achieving a singing tone and as an aid to legato. In 1914 the County Borough of Plymouth merged with the Municipal Borough of Devonport and the Urban District of East Stonehouse to form an enlarged County Borough. Secondly, raising the damper pedal causes all the strings to vibrate sympathetically with whichever notes are being played, which greatly enriches the piano's tone. Mutley Plain, a road in the area of Mutley, is a pleasant residential shopping area and also now has many bars like Cafe Sol and The Underground; due to the increase of student population in the city.

First, it assists the pianist in producing a legato (playing smoothly connected notes) in passages where no fingering is available to make this otherwise possible. Major cinemas include the ABC Cinema on Derry's Cross and the Vue multiscreen complex at the Barbican Leisure Park. This serves two purposes. The Plymouth Gin Distillery on the Barbican, along with Jack Chams on Ebrington Street serve award winning cocktails. When the damper pedal is pressed, all the dampers on the piano are lifted at once, so that every string can vibrate. There are a number of bars with live music such as the Barbican Jazz Cafe, The Cider Press, The Cooperage and The Three Crowns on The Barbican and Yates's Wine Lodge on Royal Parade. The damper is raised off the string whenever the key for that note is pressed. Another location of clubs and bars is at the Barbican Leisure Park and the gay friendly Zero's on Lockyer Street.

Every string on the piano, except the top two octaves, is equipped with a damper, which is a padded device that prevents the string from vibrating. Although most clubs play commercial dance and R&B, there are some such as C103s which plays a variety of rock, spanning from classic to new age. It is placed as the rightmost pedal in the group. Union Street still maintains a reputation for unruly drunken behaviour but also as a place for a guaranteed wild night out. The damper pedal (also called the sustaining pedal or loud pedal) is often simply called "the pedal," since it is the most frequently used. The Millennium Complex was the major club on this thoroughfare incorporating three clubs in one, but was apparently shut down due to unlawful doings. (In the 18th century, some pianos used levers pressed upward by the player's knee instead of pedals.) The three pedals that have become more or less standard on the modern piano are the following. Once lined with numerous music halls and cinemas, the street is now home to a wide number of bars, clubs and casinos such as Bongogos, Kuleroos Sports Bar, Walkabout Bar and The Standley Grand Casino.

Pianos have had pedals, or some close equivalent, since the earliest days. The centre of Plymouth's nightlife for over a century has been the infamous Union Street. The extra keys are the same as the other keys in appearance. Writers who are associated with Plymouth include the noted Dartmoor antiquarian William Crossing, and Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould. On their instruments, the range is extended both down the bass to F0 and up the treble to F8 for a full eight octaves. Famous painters associated with Plymouth include Beryl Cook, Robert Lenkiewicz, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Benjamin Robert Haydon, Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, James Northcote and Samuel Prout. More recently, the Stuart and Sons company has also manufactured extended-range pianos. It is the oldest Ashkenazi synagogue still standing in the English-speaking world.

Only a very small number of works composed for piano actually use these notes. The synagogue, in Catherine Street, was built in 1762. The extra keys are added primarily for increased resonance; that is, they vibrate sympathetically with other strings whenever the damper pedal is depressed and thus give a fuller tone. It is Britain's foremost aquarium. Sometimes, these extra keys are hidden under a small hinged lid, which can be flipped down to cover the keys and avoid visual disorientation in a pianist unfamiliar with the extended keyboard; on others, the colours of the extra white keys are reversed (black instead of white). Plymouth is also home to the [1] National Marine Aquarium. The most notable example of an extended range can be found on Bösendorfer pianos, two models which extend the normal range downwards to F0, with one other model going as far as a bottom C0, making a full eight octave range. Other museums in Plymouth include the Plymouth Dome, the Plymouth & West Devon Record Office, Smeatons Tower, the Elizabethan House and Merchants House in addition to thousands of historic documents at various other locations.

Many older pianos only have 85 keys (seven octaves from A0 to A7), while some manufacturers extend the range further in one or both directions. Many more small and privately owned galleries can be found on The Barbican. Almost every modern piano has 88 keys (seven octaves plus a minor third, from A0 to C8). In a spectacularly converted church on North Hill is the Sherwell Centre that plays host to regular exhibitions, concerts, recitals, lectures and other public events. This arrangement was inherited from the harpsichord without change, with the trivial exception of the colour scheme (white for notes in the C major scale and black for other notes) which became standard for pianos in the late 18th century. As well as promoting art, many independent art house and foreign films are also shown here. For the arrangement of the keys on a piano keyboard, see Musical keyboard. The Plymouth Arts Centre is located in the historic Barbican and offers displays of work by a wide range of local, British and international artists such as Beryl Cook, Richard Deacon, Andy Goldsworthy and Sir Terry Frost.

Progress is being made in this area by including physical models of sympathetic vibration in the synthesis software. Ives group of painters and works by the Camden Town Group. Since this sympathetic vibration is considered central to a beautiful piano tone, in many experts' estimation digital pianos still do not compete with the best acoustic pianos in tone quality. Work by local artists include that of Sir Joshua Reynolds and Robert Lenkiewicz along with work by artists of the 19th century Newlyn School, the influential 20th century St. However, with current technology, it remains difficult to duplicate a crucial aspect of acoustic pianos, namely that when the damper pedal (see below) is depressed, the strings not struck vibrate sympathetically when other strings are struck. The collections include 750 easel paintings, over 3000 watercolours and drawings, at least 5000 prints and a sizeable collection of sculptures. The best digital pianos are sophisticated, with features including working pedals, weighted keys, multiple voices, MIDI interfaces. The Art Gallery boasts ever-changing art displays and exhibitions showcasing local and international art ranging from the 16th to the 20th centuries.

Since the 1980s, digital pianos have been available, which use digital sampling technology to reproduce the sound of each piano note. Many prehistoric artefacts from Dartmoor, important Bronze Age and Iron Age material from Mount Batten and medieval and post-medieval finds from Plymouth are found in the human history collection alongside artefacts from ancient Egypt and other ancient cultures of Europe and the Middle East. A relatively recent development is the prepared piano, which is simply a standard grand piano which has had objects placed inside it before a performance in order to alter its sound, or which has had its mechanism changed in some way. The museum's natural history collection consists of over 150,000 specimens of insects, birds, mammals, skeletons, plants, fossils and rocks along with an historic natural history library and archive. Also in the 19th century, toy pianos began to be manufactured. The Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery is home to vast collections of fine and decorative arts, natural history and human history. In 1863, Henri Fourneaux invented the player piano, a kind of piano which "plays itself" from a piano roll without the need for a pianist. The Plymouth Music Accord is an organisation of classical music consisting of many amateur and professional orchestras and choirs such as the South West Sinfonietta, Plymouth Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonic Choir, Opera South West, the City of Plymouth Concert Band, the University of Plymouth Choir and Orchestra and Plymouth Jazz Club.

For recent advances, see Innovations in the piano. The Plymouth Pavilions opened in 1991, and stages regular music concerts to suit all tastes from rock and pop to ballet, and other live events. It is considered harder to produce a sensitive piano action when the hammers move horizontally, rather than upward against gravity as in a grand piano; however, the very best upright pianos now approach the level of grand pianos of the same size in tone quality and responsiveness. Many amateur dramatic societies and schools of dance function in Plymouth and regularly perform at the Athenaeum Theatre, Devonport Playhouse and Globe Theatre. Upright pianos, also called vertical pianos, are more compact because the frame and strings are placed vertically, extending in both directions from the keyboard and hammers. On The Barbican is the Barbican Theatre providing the opportunity for the people of Plymouth to access and participate in high quality drama and acting, it also hosts a monthly comedy night. All else being equal, longer pianos have better sound and lower inharmonicity of the strings (so that the strings can be tuned closer to equal temperament in relation to the standard pitch with less stretching), so that full-size grands are almost always used for public concerts, whereas baby grands are often chosen for domestic use where space and cost are considerations. This architecturally praised building ensures that drama and acting continue to succeed in the city.

Manufacturers and models vary, but a rough generalisation distinguishes the "concert grand", (between about 2.2 m to 3 m long) from the "boudoir grand" (about 1.7 m to 2.2 m) and the smaller "baby grand" (which may be shorter than it is wide). The Theatre Royal recently opened its Production and Education Centre on the waterfront at Cattedown, otherwise known as TR2. There are several sizes of grand piano. The premier theatre not only for Plymouth but of the entire Westcountry is the Theatre Royal and its Drum Theatre where many current and widely acclaimed productions are shown. This makes the grand piano a large instrument, for which the ideal setting is a spacious room with high ceilings for proper resonance. Many highly acclaimed events and festivals are held in Plymouth including the British Fireworks Championships, World Championship Class 1 Powerboat Racing and Music of the Night, a massive outdoor production held every two years in The Royal Citadel involving the efforts of the 29th Commando Regiment, Royal Artillery, The Royal Artillery Band, the band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines and hundreds of local amateur performers. Grand pianos have the frame and strings placed horizontally, with the strings extending away from the keyboard. Plymouth was also one of the principal staging posts for the Normandy landings in June 1944.

Modern pianos come in two basic configurations and several sizes: the grand piano and the upright piano. To this day the entrance of the church has been referred to as Resurgam door and a granite plaque with the word engraved is now permanently placed there. Finally, participants in the authentic performance movement have constructed new copies of the old instruments and used them in performance; this has provided important new insights and interpretations of the music. In the midst of that devastation a famous wooden sign was anonymously posted over the door of St Andrew's Church saying simply "Resurgam" (a Latin word meaning "I shall rise again"), indicating the wartime spirit. A few pianists simply ignore this problem; others modify their playing style to help compensate for the difference in instruments, for example by using less pedal. 3,754 houses were destroyed with a further 18,398 seriously damaged. These sound rather blurred on a modern piano if played as written, but which sound fine when played on restorations or replicas of the pianos of Beethoven's day. The two main shopping centres and nearly every civic building were destroyed, along with 20 schools and 40 churches.

53). At one point the population fell from 220,000, at the start of the conflict, to 127,000. For example, Beethoven sometimes wrote long passages in which he directs the player to keep the damper pedal down throughout (a famous example occurs in the last movement of the "Waldstein" sonata, Op. Altogether 1,172 people were killed and 3,269 people were injured - these figures do not include the many service casualties. Others have noted that the music itself often seems to require the resources of the early piano. The last attack came on 30 April, 1944. This view is perhaps more plausible in the case of Beethoven, who composed at the beginning of the era of piano growth, than it is in the case of Haydn or Mozart. The first bomb fell on the city on Saturday 6 July, 1940 at Swilly, killing 3 people.

One view that is sometimes taken is that these composers were dissatisfied with their pianos, and in fact were writing visionary "music of the future" with a more robust sound in mind. Although the dockyards were the principal targets, civilian casualties were inevitably very high. Even the music of the early Romantics, such as Chopin and Schumann, was written for pianos substantially different from ours. The city was extensively blitzed during the Second World War, to the extent that approximately twice the amount of housing stock that existed prior to the war was destroyed during it (as a consequence of rebuilt houses being successively hit). The problem is that much of the most widely admired piano repertoire — for example, that of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven — was composed for a type of instrument that is rather different from the modern instruments on which this music is normally performed today. Plymouth was one of Britain's principal naval dockyards, a naval tradition that continues to this day. The huge changes in the evolution of the piano have somewhat vexing consequences for musical performance. A reminder to the people of Plymouth what consequences a repeated stance against the monarchy could have in future.

These were uncommon. It is interesting to note that cannons were placed on the walls both facing out to sea and towards the town. The giraffe piano, by contrast, was mechanically like a grand piano, but the strings ran vertically up from the keyboard rather than horizontally away from it, making it a very tall instrument. After the restoration of the monarchy, construction of The Royal Citadel began in 1665. Most had a wood frame, though later designs incorporated increasing amounts of iron. There are a number of Forts and Keeps from that era, the remains of which can still be seen. Square pianos were produced through the early 20th century; the tone they produced is widely considered to be inferior. The town held out for almost four years until the defeat of the Royalists.

It was similar to the upright piano in its mechanism. Plymouth sided with the Parliamentarians against Charles I in the English Civil War. The once-popular square piano was an inexpensive design that had the strings and frame on a horizontal plane, but running across the length of the keyboard rather than away from it. Most visitors to Plymouth are drawn to the spectacular Plymouth Hoe, a stretch of greensward overlooking Plymouth Sound; it is believed that this is the place where Sir Francis Drake completed his game of bowls before setting sail to defeat the Spanish Armada. Some early pianos had shapes and designs that are no longer in use. [citation needed]. For some recent developments, see Innovations in the piano. On 14 December 1810, Plymouth was struck by the strongest tornado yet reported in the UK (as of August 2005), with a T8 rating on the TORRO scale, and a wind speed of 213 to 240 mph.

The modern concert grand achieved essentially its present form around the beginning of the 20th century, and progress since then has been only incremental. Plymouth was where the defeated Napolean Bonaparte was brought aboard the HMS Bellerophon before his exile to St Helena in 1815 and the surviving crew of the RMS Titanic disaster disembarked on their return to England in 1912. Some other important technical innovations of this era include the following:. In 1403, the town was briefly occupied and burnt by the French, it was also from Plymouth that the Pilgrims sailed to the New World in 1620 aboard the Mayflower before landing at and founding the "Plymouth Colony". As revised by Henri Herz about 1840, the double escapement action ultimately became the standard action for grand pianos, used by all manufacturers. At the same time the name of the town was changed from Sutton to Plymouth. In 1821, Sébastien Érard invented the double escapement action, which permitted a note to be repeated even if the key had not yet risen to its maximum vertical position, a great benefit for rapid playing. Sutton became a market town in 1254 and later was the first town incorporated by the English Parliament on 12 November, 1439.

By the 1820s, the centre of innovation had shifted to Paris, where the Érard firm manufactured pianos used by Chopin and Liszt. The small port was later overshadowed by the rise of the fishing village of Sutton. The two schools, however, used different piano actions: the Broadwood one more robust, the Viennese more sensitive. When part of the Roman Empire this same port continued to trade tin along with cattle and hides. The Viennese makers followed these trends. It is thought that tin was brought here from Dartmoor via the Plym and traded with the ancient Phoenicians. The Broadwood firm, which sent pianos to both Haydn and Beethoven, was the first to build pianos with a range of more than five octaves: five octaves and a fifth during the 1790s, six octaves by 1810 (in time for Beethoven to use the extra notes in his later works), and seven octaves by 1820. The earliest known settlement in Plymouth dates back to 1000BC with a small iron age trading port located at Mount Batten.

Over time, the Broadwood instruments grew progressively larger, louder, and more robustly constructed. . In the first part of this era, technological progress owed much to the English firm of Broadwood, which already had a strong reputation for the splendour and powerful tone of its harpsichords.
. The tonal range of the piano was also increased, from the five octaves of Mozart's day to the 7 1/3 (or even more) octaves found on modern pianos. In the Royal Navy, "Guz" is a nickname for Devonport. Over time, piano playing became a more strenuous and muscle-taxing activity, as the force needed to depress the keys, as well as the length of key travel, was increased. People born in Plymouth are known as Plymothians or less formally as Janners.

It was also a response to the ongoing Industrial Revolution, which made available technological resources like high-quality steel for strings (see piano wire) and precision casting for the production of iron frames. Important locations in the city include The Royal Citadel, Devonport Dockyard and The Barbican from where the Pilgrims left for the New World in 1620. This evolution was in response to a consistent preference by composers and pianists for a more powerful, sustained piano sound. After the destruction of the dockyards and city centre in the blitz of 1941, Plymouth was rebuilt under the guidance of architect Patrick Abercrombie and is now one of the few remaining naval dockyards in Britain and the largest naval base in Western Europe. In the lengthy period lasting from about 1790 to 1890, the Mozart-era piano underwent tremendous changes which led to the modern form of the instrument. The city has a rich maritime past and was once one of the two most important Royal Navy bases in Britain, a factor that made the city a prime target of the Luftwaffe during the Second World War. The term fortepiano is nowadays often used to distinguish the 18th-century style of instrument from later pianos. It is located at the mouths of the rivers Plym and Tamar and at the head of one of the world's largest and most spectacular natural harbours, the Plymouth Sound.

The piano of Mozart's day had a softer, clearer tone than today's pianos, with less sustaining power. Plymouth is a city in the South West of England, or alternatively the Westcountry, and is situated within the traditional county of Devon. It was for such instruments that Mozart composed his concertos and sonatas, and replicas of them are built today for use in authentic-instrument performance. Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana. The Viennese-style pianos were built with wooden frames, two strings per note, and had leather-covered hammers. Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States (twinned 2001). Piano-making flourished during the late 18th century in the work of the Viennese school, which included Johann Andreas Stein (who worked in Augsburg, Germany) and the Viennese makers Nannette Stein (daughter of Johann Andreas) and Anton Walter. San Sebastian, Spain (twinned 1990).

Bach did approve of a later instrument he saw in 1747, and apparently even served as an agent to help sell Silbermann's pianos. Novorossiysk, Russia (twinned 1990). Though this earned him some animosity from Silbermann, the latter did apparently heed the criticism. Gdynia, Poland (twinned 1976). Bach did not like it at that time, claiming that the higher notes were too soft to allow a full dynamic range. Brest, Brittany, France (twinned 1963). Silbermann showed Bach one of his early instruments in the 1730s.

Virtually all subsequent pianos incorporated some version of Silbermann's idea. Silbermann's pianos were virtually direct copies of Cristofori's, but with an important addition: Silbermann invented the forerunner of the modern damper pedal (also known as the sustaining pedal or loud pedal), which lifts all the dampers from the strings at once. One of these builders was Gottfried Silbermann, better known as an organ builder. This article was widely distributed, and most of the next generation of piano builders started their work as a result of reading it.

Cristofori's new instrument remained relatively unknown until an Italian writer, Scipione Maffei, wrote an enthusiastic article about it (1711), including a diagram of the mechanism. However, in comparison with the clavichord (the only previous keyboard instrument capable of dynamic nuance) they were considerably louder, and had more sustaining power. Cristofori's early instruments were made with thin strings and were much quieter than the modern piano. Cristofori's piano action served as a model for the many different approaches to piano actions that were to follow.

Moreover, the hammers must return to their rest position without bouncing violently, and it must be possible to repeat a note rapidly. Cristofori's great success was to solve, without any prior example, the fundamental mechanical problem of piano design: the hammers must strike the string but not continue to touch it once they have struck (which would damp the sound). Cristofori, himself a harpsichord maker, was well acquainted with this body of knowledge. In particular, it benefited from centuries of work on the harpsichord, which had shown the most effective ways to construct the case, the soundboard, the bridge, and the keyboard.

Like many other inventions, the pianoforte was founded on earlier technological innovations. Cristofori built only about twenty pianofortes before he died in 1731; the three that survive today date from the 1720s. When he built this instrument is not entirely clear, but an inventory made by Cristofori's employers, the Medici family, indicates the existence of an early Cristofori instrument by the year 1700. He called it a gravicembalo col piano e forte.

Bartolomeo Cristofori of Florence, Italy, invented the first pianoforte. . In a piano, the strings are struck by hammers which immediately rebound, leaving the string to vibrate freely. In the clavichord, strings are struck by tangents which remain in contact with the string.

In a harpsichord, strings are plucked by quills or similar material. The three instruments differ in the mechanism of sound production. As a keyboard stringed instrument, the piano is similar to the clavichord and harpsichord. Literally harpsichord with soft and loud, this refers to the ability of the piano to produce notes at different volumes depending on how hard its keys are pressed.

It is derived from the original Italian name for the instrument, clavicembalo col piano e forte. The word piano is a shortened form of the word "pianoforte", which is seldom used except in formal language. These vibrations are transmitted though the bridges to the soundboard. The piano produces sound by striking steel strings with felt hammers.

A piano is a keyboard instrument, widely used in western music for solo performance, chamber music, and accompaniment, and also as a convenient aid to composing and rehearsal. Reblitz (Vestal Press, ISBN 1-879511-03-7). Piano Servicing, Tuning and Rebuilding: For the Professional, the Student, and the Hobbyist by Arthur A. The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Thad Carhart (Random House, 2002; ISBN 0375758623) is a partly autobiographical exploration of the diversity and history of the piano, and is a readable introduction by an enthusiast.

Piano roles : three hundred years of life with the piano by James Parakilas (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1999) provides much history of the instrument. The pianist's guide to pedaling by Joseph Banowetz (Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 1985) offers a history of the three piano pedals and covers the wide variety of ways in which they are used by professional pianists. It also includes advice on buying and owning pianos. Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts: Brookside Press, 2001; ISBN 1-929145-01-2) gives the basics of how pianos work, and a thorough evaluative survey of current pianos and their manufacturers.

The Piano Book by Larry Fine (4th ed. In the 1988 edition, the primary article can be found in "Musical Instruments". The Encyclopædia Britannica (available online by subscription) also includes a great deal of information about the piano. Main article: "Pianoforte".

The authoritative New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (available online by subscription), contains a wealth of information on the piano. Similar systems developed by Blüthner (1873), as well as Taskin (1788), and Collard (1821) used more distinctly ringing undamped vibrations to modify tone. In 1872 Theodore Steinway patented a system to control different components of string vibrations by tuning their secondary parts in octave relationships with the sounding lengths. duplexes or aliquot scales.

in 1859. Overstringing was invented by Jean-Henri Pape during the 1820s, and first patented for use in grand pianos in the United States by Henry Steinway Jr. This permits larger, but not necessarily longer, strings to fit within the case of the piano. The strings are placed in a vertically overlapping slanted arrangement, with two heights of bridges on the soundboard, rather than just one.

the overstrung scale, also called "cross-stringing". the sostenuto pedal (see below), invented in 1844 by Jean Louis Boisselot and improved by the Steinway firm in 1874. Hammers covered with compressed felt were introduced by the Parisian maker Jean-Henri Pape in 1826, and are now universally used. The harder, tauter steel strings required a softer hammer type to maintain good tone quality.

felt hammers. Babcock later worked for the Chickering & Mackays firm, where the first iron frame in grand pianos (1843) was developed. The single piece cast iron frame was patented in 1825 in Boston by Alpheus Babcock, culminating an earlier trend to use ever more iron parts to reinforce the piano. The iron frame was the ultimate solution to the problem of structural integrity as the strings were gradually made thicker, tenser, and more numerous (in a modern grand the total string tension can approach 20 tons).

The iron frame, also called the "plate", sits atop the soundboard, and serves as the primary bulwark against the force of string tension. the iron frame. use of three strings rather than two for all but the lower notes.

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