How a Piano Works - A Simple Explanation

Uncategorized Feb 16, 2023

The piano is an incredible instrument that produces beautiful music, and understanding how it works can deepen your appreciation of its unique qualities. In this article, I want to give a very simple overview..

The piano works by pressing down on the keys with your fingers. Each key on the piano makes a different sound when you press it, and the sound is produced by small hammers inside the piano striking strings. 

Each note on the piano has multiple strings, which work together to create a full, rich sound. When you press a key, the hammer hits all of the strings for that note at the same time, creating a beautiful and complex sound.

The strings are made of steel and are stretched tightly across the inside of the piano. When a key is pressed, a small hammer moves towards the strings for that note, and hits them, causing it to vibrate and produce a sound.

The piano has pedals that you can use to control the sound of the instrument. The sustain pedal, located on the right, allows the strings to vibrate freely, creating a long, sustained sound. The soft pedal, or una corda pedal, makes the sound softer and more delicate, by shifting the hammers slightly to the side, so they hit only one or two of the multiple strings for each note. The middle pedal, or sostenuto pedal, sustains only certain notes that are being played at the time, creating complex sounds.

The wooden box of the piano helps to amplify the sound of the strings. The steel frame inside the piano, called 'the harp', provides a strong foundation for huge tension of the instrument (the average grand piano has over 20 tonnes of tension, caused by 230 strings, pulled tightly over the frame). It is this incredible tension of the strings, which creates the unique, beautiful, rich tone of the piano.

The wooden lid of the piano can also be opened or closed to control the sound. An open lid allows the sound to leave the piano, making it louder and brighter. A closed lid, mutes the piano, and makes for a more cosy, padded sound.

Overall, the piano is an incredible instrument with many moving parts that work together to create a unique and beautiful sound. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced musician, understanding how the piano works can help you appreciate the instrument even more.


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