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. See List of Power Rangers characters for more extensive listings. 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". Rangers | Villains | Enemy Grunts | Monsters |. Pianos were, and are, extremely popular instruments for private household ownership, especially among the middle- and upper-classes. The current Power Rangers DVD titles are:. A large number of composers being proficient pianists, the piano is often used as a tool for composition. The ongoing concern over Power Rangers as a whole not being released on DVD Box sets has led to continued debate and frequent petitions.

The piano is a crucial instrument in Western classical music, jazz, film, television and electronic game music, and most other complex western musical genres. There has been much criticism over the releases of these DVDs; only five volumes per season are distributed, which does not amount to the full length run, and so viewers have to rely on reruns to see any other episodes not currently available. 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. Buena Vista Home Entertainment is scheduled to release five new volumes of the upcoming season, Power Rangers: Mystic Force in 2006. The hammers of pianos are voiced to compensate for gradual hardening. Internationally, however there have been additional DVD releases (such as Time Force and Wild Force in Germany) and as free DVDs attached to Jetix Magazine UK. 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. Currently, there are only 18 DVD releases of Power Rangers in the USA (as listed below).

The largest piano built, the Fazioli F308, weighs 691 kg (1520 lb). Contrary to wild Internet speculation, there have never been plans for a third Power Rangers movie. 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 Power Rangers series have also brought forth two movies. 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. This fad-like popularization of martial arts in mainstream youth culture is often looked at as one of the reasons the McDojo has become somewhat of a prevalent phenomenon. Legal ivory can still be obtained in limited quantities. Many also credit Power Rangers for an increased interest in the martial arts by suburban America.

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. It would also cause them to lose revenue in toy and merchandising sales, which finance the shows. Spruce is normally used in high-quality pianos. However, whereas Power Rangers still appeals to older viewers, the show's producers feel that a more mature show might alienate their largest demographic—children. Piano keys are generally made of spruce or basswood, for lightness. This has led to some fans requesting that the tone and format of the show be changed in order to better suit its more mature audience. In cheap pianos, the soundboard is often made of plywood. However, since its release, the show has continued to evolve into a program that is enjoyed by more mature audiences, partly due to its aging original fans.

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. When Power Rangers was first released it was classified as children's programming. Spruce is chosen for its high ratio of strength to weight. However, Jetix in its British incarnation still issues a generic warning for the entire series that was used since the beginning of Power Rangers: In Space. In quality pianos this is made of solid spruce (that is, spruce boards glued together at their edges). As a result, GMTV (who is still the analogue host in the UK) had to issue a warning at the end of an episode stating, "The Power Rangers are specially trained martial arts experts, so don't you copy them!" GMTV no longer issues this warning. The part of the piano where materials probably matter more than anywhere else is the soundboard. In the UK, the first incarnation sparked fears that kids would hurt themselves by recreating the moves in the series.

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. Team-ups between a current cast and the one before it occur almost annually now, but are generally superfluous to the larger storylines and are sometimes even considered out of continuity. 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. Subsequent series are able to start with new Rangers and villains annually without having to incorporate unresolved plot points from the previous season. 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. Space's finale, "Countdown to Destruction," acted as Power Rangers' version of Crisis on Infinite Earths, killing off or redeeming all of the older villains and largely cleaning up the existing continuity. Since World War II, plastics have become available. Veteran Rangers and villains also occasionally appeared after their stories had run through, most notably in Power Rangers: In Space, in which the central plot involved an attack on the entire universe.

hornbeam). The first five years of the series featured ongoing storylines that carried through the different seasons, and retained most of its castmembers for several years. maple, beech. The few-and-far-between links between the later series of Power Rangers are often resented by older fans of the show. The numerous grand parts and upright parts of a piano action are generally hardwood (e.g. Since then, no Asian-American actor or actress has played the Yellow Ranger, and no African-American has played the Black Ranger. 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. Amy Jo Johnson and Walter Emmanuel Jones appeared in the "1993" episode.

The inclusion in a piano of an extremely large piece of metal is potentially an aesthetic handicap. This was mentioned on VH1's I Love the 90s. The casting of the plate is a delicate art, since the dimensions are crucial and the iron shrinks by about one percent during cooling. This criticism was rendered moot when the two actors left the show halfway through Season Two and were replaced with an Asian American male as the Black Ranger, and an African American woman as the Yellow Ranger. Some manufacturers now use cast steel in their plates, for greater strength. The first season of Power Rangers also drew criticism from some groups claiming that the Ranger colors were racist, specifically referring to Zack, the Black Ranger (played by African American actor Walter Emmanuel Jones) and Trini, the Yellow Ranger (played by Asian American actress Thuy Trang). 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. For a time Power Rangers was pulled from Malaysian television screens as the word "morphin" (in the phrase "It's Morphin Time!") sounded similar to the drug morphine, which is banned in Malaysia.

It is advantageous for the plate to be quite massive. Norway pulled the series as they believed that the series caused two boys to beat up a girl in 1993 (it was eventually found that the murder was unconnected to the series). The plate, or metal frame, of a piano is usually made of cast iron. Later incarnations of Power Rangers often attempt to explain the actions of the Power Rangers, but many still believe that Power Rangers remains a series too violent for young children. For the acoustic reasons behind this, see Piano acoustics. In some cases, networks pulled Power Rangers from its lineup, citing such concerns. The bass strings of a piano are made of a steel core wrapped with copper wire, to increase their flexibility. Many critics of the early Power Rangers series claimed that the Power Rangers use unnecessary force to destroy their monsters, and often get into fights when better alternatives were available.

They are manufactured to vary as little as possible in diameter, since all deviations from uniformity introduce tonal distortion. They were immediately replaced, to a negative effect on the show's ratings. Piano strings (also called piano wire), which must endure years of extreme tension and hard blows, are made of high quality steel. John, Walter Emmanuel Jones and Thuy Trang left the series when none of their demands were met. It is made of hardwood, and generally is laminated (built of multiple layers) for additional strength and gripping power. When the series hit big time, Fox signed the show to a two-picture deal, and actors Austin St. The pinblock, which holds the tuning pins in place, is another area of the piano where toughness is important. The "Mighty Morphin" cast was bound to five-year contracts with no benefits and insultingly low pay (reportedly $500 US per week), which were non-negotiable.

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. Original Executive Producer Haim Saban was criticized heavily for his use of non-SAG actors, and the one-sided contracts that the actors were bound to for appearing on the show. 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. In Power Rangers: Wild Force, the tenth incarnation of Power Rangers, this is taken to the next level, as ten Red Rangers teamed up in the episode "Forever Red." The only season not to feature this is Power Rangers: Ninja Storm, due to a shift back to non-SAG talent when production was moved to New Zealand. According to Harold A. A tradition in later incarnations is for two teams of Power Rangers to team up and take on a villain. In quality pianos, the outer rim of the piano is made of a hardwood, normally maple or beech. In incarnations following Power Rangers: In Space, it is common for each incarnation to be separate, storywise, from previous incarnations.

Many parts of a piano are made of materials selected for extreme sturdiness. Although much of the arsenal can also be found in Super Sentai, there are usually at least some that are not, generally added for the express purpose of marketing toys designed and sold by Bandai. 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. In some cases one Ranger may receive something that other Rangers may not have; an example of this is the Battlizer given to the Red Ranger of each series since Power Rangers: In Space. 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. In many series, a Ranger is also given additional Zords or weapons. It works like the damper pedal, but only lifts the dampers for the lowest notes. As the series progresses, one or more of the Rangers are also usually given a motorcycle for long-distance travel, as well as individual Zords.

Other uprights have a bass sustain as a middle pedal. Each Ranger also has a secondary set of weapons that can often combine to form a larger weapon (usually a cannon). The practice pedal is rarely used in performance. The arsenal available to the Power Rangers is also somewhat standardized: each Ranger is generally armed with a weapon such as a laser gun or a sword. 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 penalty for disobeying these rules, at least in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, would be the loss of their power. Some upright pianos have a practice pedal in place of the sostenuto. The Power Rangers are also forbidden to disclose their identities to the general public, barring extenuating circumstances (although this rule was disregarded in Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue and Power Rangers: SPD).

(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. These include the Power Rangers being forbidden to use their Ranger powers for personal gain or for escalating a fight, explaining why the Rangers don't just step on the small monsters with their Megazord. 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. Each team of Power Rangers, with few exceptions, obey a general set of conventions, outlined at the beginning of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and implied, though not stated explicitly, throughout many of the other incarnations. This can be useful for musical passages with pedal points and other otherwise tricky or impossible situations. The plot sequence is generally as follows:. 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. A normal Power Rangers episode can be broken down into an everyplot.

The sostenuto pedal or "middle pedal" keeps raised any damper that was raised at the moment the pedal is depressed. The team's costumes are nearly identical aside from color and perhaps a number designation; any additional Rangers will regularly have additional costume modifications. increase the already-great versatility of such instruments. There is usually no more than one Ranger of a given color on a team, but exceptions of this rule are generally given alternate names. Pitch bends, leslie speaker on/off, vibrato modulation, etc. Rangers may be named after their respective colors, such as Red Ranger, Blue Ranger, etc., but numbers or other names may also be used. Digital pianos often use this pedal to alter the sound to that of another instrument such as the organ, guitar, or harmonica. Each Ranger's suit and energy spectrum will match a specific color, with red, yellow, and blue being joined by some combination of pink, green, black, or white.

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. Rangers regularly operate in teams of five, with a special sixth Ranger frequently rounding out the bunch; sometimes a core team of three will later be joined by additional Rangers. On upright pianos, the soft pedal operates a mechanism which moves the hammers' resting position closer to the strings. Rangers are known to "demorph" involuntarily due to powerful physical attacks. 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. Helmets aside, the suits are donned and removed nearly instantaneously with a glow of light or some other effect. 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". Rangers appear to retain their original physiology beneath their suits when in morphed form, as Rangers' helmets have been seen removed or broken on numerous occasions, revealing his or her natural form underneath.

The soft pedal was invented by Cristofori and thus appeared on the very earliest pianos. A morphed Ranger generally possesses superhuman strength, durability, and hand-to-hand combat ability; unmorphed Rangers may possess other innate abilities (such as telepathy, superspeed, invisibility, etc.) which are usually not directly related to his or her Ranger powers. For notation of the soft pedal in printed music, see Italian musical terms. A Power Ranger is a person who "morphs" from a natural, unpowered form into a warrior clad in full-body, form-fitting spandex, as well as a plastic helmet with an opaque visor, which in many cases serves to protect his or her identity. This softens the note and also modifies its tone quality. Some seasons feature extremely large combinations of Zords known as "Ultrazords.". 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. Often before a monster is defeated, it will grow into gigantic proportions, forcing the Power Rangers to use gigantic (bio)mechanical machines known as "Zords." In many cases, these can be combined to form a more advanced humanoid machines, known as a "Megazord." Because of the way Zords are combined, the Power Rangers may also use interchangeable parts to enhance their fighting power, or combine Megazords together to form larger Megazords.

The soft pedal or "una corda" pedal is placed leftmost in the row of pedals. To activate these powers, the Power Rangers, "morph" by performing a standard action and reciting a "morphing call." Throughout the series, the Power Rangers learn the importance of teamwork and perseverance as they battle progressively more difficult monsters. 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. Each Power Rangers season centers around a group of teenagers (age of actors actually varies from 18 to 23 years old), who gain super powers to fight various villains, ranging from demons to witches to aliens. 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. . 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. The show continued to air on the Fox Network until Fox Kids was dismantled in 2002, and has since aired on various Disney-owned stations.

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. Power Rangers was officially purchased by Disney in 2001. This serves two purposes. Power Rangers was distributed by Saban Entertainment from 1993 until the end of 2001 and was broadcast on the Fox network. When the damper pedal is pressed, all the dampers on the piano are lifted at once, so that every string can vibrate. Due to the very Japanese nature of many of Sentai's stories and design, the American shows are always at least slightly changed to fit a Western audience. The damper is raised off the string whenever the key for that note is pressed. While the concept is based on the Super Sentai series of yearly serials, it is not an English dub of the original, but rather a 'new' production with English-speaking actors spliced in with the original Japanese footage to varying ratios.

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 show is directly tied into a vast merchandising empire largely owned by Japanese toy company Bandai. It is placed as the rightmost pedal in the group. Power Rangers is an ongoing saga of television series about the epic adventures teenagers or 20-somethings who transform into the titular superheroes. The damper pedal (also called the sustaining pedal or loud pedal) is often simply called "the pedal," since it is the most frequently used. There have been rare exceptions to this rule. (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. Vice versa, Rangers cannot shoot at a growing monster.

Pianos have had pedals, or some close equivalent, since the earliest days. Power Rangers follows a few unofficial anime conventions, namely that a villain cannot shoot while Rangers are morphing or while a Megazord is forming. The extra keys are the same as the other keys in appearance. His colors were Green, White (Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Red Power Rangers Zeo and Power Rangers: Turbo, and his latest and presumably final color, Black Power Rangers: Dino Thunder.). On their instruments, the range is extended both down the bass to F0 and up the treble to F8 for a full eight octaves. Frank, who appeared in more episodes of the series than any other actor, is the only one to have appeared in five incarnations in the same role, and he has shared screen time with Rangers of each of the first thirteen different seasons. More recently, the Stuart and Sons company has also manufactured extended-range pianos. Tommy Oliver (Jason David Frank) is the only character to have worn four different colors as a Ranger.

Only a very small number of works composed for piano actually use these notes. Kendrix appeared periodically to assist her replacement Karone, and was returned to life in the season finale of Lost Galaxy. 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. Valerie Vernon, who played the character, collapsed on set and was diagnosed with leukemia, forcing her to leave the show. 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). Kendrix from Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy was the first Power Ranger to die. 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. This is one of the first children's television shows to include bleeped swear words, during the credits when outtakes were shown.

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. Ninja Storm would be the first full Power Rangers season to feature a male Yellow Ranger and a female Blue Ranger, though the Alien Rangers miniseries had earlier featured a White female Ranger and a male Yellow Ranger. Almost every modern piano has 88 keys (seven octaves plus a minor third, from A0 to C8). Stock footage of the Japanese series became confusing to even casual viewers, but was considered acceptable because the Yellow Ranger would be so inconspicuous among five or more Rangers. 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. The Japanese Sentai series regularly switch between male and female Yellow Rangers, but as yellow is considered feminine in Western cultures, women were traditionally cast in the part for the Power Rangers adaptations regardless. For the arrangement of the keys on a piano keyboard, see Musical keyboard. Red, Blue, and Yellow are the only colors that have been a part of every Power Rangers team.

Progress is being made in this area by including physical models of sympathetic vibration in the synthesis software. 2002 episode "Forever Red" gathered many different cast members from the show to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the franchise. 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. Power Rangers SPD Volumes 1 - 5, 2005, BVHE. 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. Power Rangers Dino Thunder Volumes 1 - 5, 2004; BVHE. The best digital pianos are sophisticated, with features including working pedals, weighted keys, multiple voices, MIDI interfaces. Power Rangers Ninja Storm Volumes 1 - 5, 2003; BVHE.

Since the 1980s, digital pianos have been available, which use digital sampling technology to reproduce the sound of each piano note. The Best of the Power Rangers: The Ultimate Rangers, 2003; BVHE. 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. Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, 1997; Fox Home Entertainment. Also in the 19th century, toy pianos began to be manufactured. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, 1995; Fox Home Entertainment. 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. Rangers are shown back in everyday life, having learned a life lesson which solves the earlier dispute.

For recent advances, see Innovations in the piano. Rangers fight and defeat said giant minion, usually using a flashy trademark move. 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. Optional: Rangers find that their current powers are insufficient to defeat monster and discover a new power, such as a Battlizer armor for the Red Ranger, a sixth Ranger, or a new Megazord. 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. Evil enemy revives minion and makes minion grow to gigantic proportions, followed by Rangers summoning giant machines known as Zords and/or their combined form, the Megazord. 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. Rangers defeat minions/footsoldiers.

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). Rangers morph. There are several sizes of grand piano. Rangers fight minions/footsoldiers. This makes the grand piano a large instrument, for which the ideal setting is a spacious room with high ceilings for proper resonance. Rangers are attacked by evil enemy's minions/footsoldiers. Grand pianos have the frame and strings placed horizontally, with the strings extending away from the keyboard. Rangers are seen in everyday life with a dispute to resolve.

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

53). 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. Others have noted that the music itself often seems to require the resources of the early piano. 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.

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. Even the music of the early Romantics, such as Chopin and Schumann, was written for pianos substantially different from ours. 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. The huge changes in the evolution of the piano have somewhat vexing consequences for musical performance.

These were uncommon. 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. Most had a wood frame, though later designs incorporated increasing amounts of iron. Square pianos were produced through the early 20th century; the tone they produced is widely considered to be inferior.

It was similar to the upright piano in its mechanism. 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. Some early pianos had shapes and designs that are no longer in use. For some recent developments, see Innovations in the piano.

The modern concert grand achieved essentially its present form around the beginning of the 20th century, and progress since then has been only incremental. Some other important technical innovations of this era include the following:. As revised by Henri Herz about 1840, the double escapement action ultimately became the standard action for grand pianos, used by all manufacturers. 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.

By the 1820s, the centre of innovation had shifted to Paris, where the Érard firm manufactured pianos used by Chopin and Liszt. The two schools, however, used different piano actions: the Broadwood one more robust, the Viennese more sensitive. The Viennese makers followed these trends. 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.

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. 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.

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. This evolution was in response to a consistent preference by composers and pianists for a more powerful, sustained piano sound. 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 term fortepiano is nowadays often used to distinguish the 18th-century style of instrument from later pianos.

The piano of Mozart's day had a softer, clearer tone than today's pianos, with less sustaining power. 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 Viennese-style pianos were built with wooden frames, two strings per note, and had leather-covered hammers. 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.

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