The piano, as we know it today, has been around for more than 400 years and is one of the most commonly known musical instruments.You can find pianos in homes, schools, performance venues, public gathering places and even some businesses. Modern versions of the piano include the traditional stand-up version, larger grand pianos often used in orchestras and other professional performances, and keyboards, which are portable, electric piano versions. Some fun and interesting facts embellish the history of this complex musical instrument.
An Italian named Bartolomeo Cristofori invented the piano in Italy in the year 1700. His invention is considered the first practical piano because it contained an escapement mechanism for the hammers and could be played loudly and softly, according to PianoWorld.com. Cristofori's orginal name for his invention was piano et forte, which means soft and loud, and it was later shortened to piano.
Pianos are actually stringed instruments. The number of strings and the amount of tension on those strings varies by the size and type of the piano. An average, medium-sized piano has 230 strings that are each under around 165 pounds of tension.
The piano is nicknamed the “King of the Instruments." The most important reason for this comes from the range of tones it can produce. The piano can cover the entire range of every orchestra instrument from lowest to highest.
The piano descended from several earlier stringed instruments, including the organ, harp, clavichord and spinet. The organ is much like a large piano in which a musician plays the keyboard to produce sounds through large, metal tubes. Harps, clavichords and spinets are all stringed instruments that an artist must pluck by hand.
Making the Grade
Learning to play a musical instrument, such as the piano, may help kids do better in school, according to an article in London's Daily Mail. Learning to read music may help improve a child's language skills because it is the same as learning a second language. Playing a musical instrument may also improve hand-eye coordination and social skills.
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