While beautiful music is often heard from pianos, much care and hard work goes into making pianos the enjoyable instruments they are. Here are some of the main parts that comprise pianos in general.
The wooden keys are usually overlaid with plastic (ivory is no longer acceptable) and they rest on rockers, which act as levers.
Once a key is depressed, it sends that motion to what is called the action via a wooden sticker (uprights), capstan (a short brass screw--consoles and grands), or wooden lifter (spinets). The motion is transferred to the wooden whippen, which can be considered as the "foundation" for a key's action.
Attached to the whippen are twenty or more parts that comprise the action, but the main components are the jack that pushes against the butt of the hammer, the felt covered hammer with its shank, and the damper with its lever, all of which are wooden. Additional parts, among other things, insure quick and smooth action.
The strings are usually steel wire, and in the bass section they are thick, single and often coiled. The strings are secured below usually by small metal pins on the plate and at the top (or near the keys on grands) by metal tuning pins. They rest on wooden bridges that limit unwanted vibrations and transmit the desired ones to the soundboard.
Sound and Support
An iron plate is used to support the immense pressure of the strings. Behind the plate is the soundboard (usually made of spruce) which enables the strings' vibrations to be heard from a distance. The frame of the piano (often a hardwood like beech or maple) houses these components.
The pedals act as levers that move boards and rods to either lift all dampers at one time (right pedal--sustain), or move the hammers in a way to lessen the volume (left pedal). If there is a middle pedal, it is either a "dummy," a practice pedal that muffles the tones with felt, or for bass sustain.
Small but Important
Felt, glue, pins, rails, bars, and, in some cases, weights in keys are just some of the small but important things that aid in the production of the natural music that a piano can provide.