Everything about the Piano


What is it?

The Piano is an Italian instrument designed around 1700 by Bartolomeo Cristofori as an improved harpsichord where you can control the volume of the notes being played.

Here’s how it looks and sounds

Not to be confused with

You may hear about it with other names like tickling the ivories or black and whites. Pronounced \pɪˈænəʊ\, from the italian pianoforte meaning “soft” or “quiet” and “loud” and also called in piano in spanish, french and portuguese. A person that plays it it’s called a pianist. 

Category

The Keyboard family which means that it has a row of keys, buttons or levers that make the sound when you press them and from the subcategory chordophones meaning it makes sound with string vibration.

Materials

Different types of wood, anything from hard maple,spruce, beech and ebony with the strings and wires made of high-carbon steel.

Variants

The types are determined by the position of the tail / strings:

  • Grand: the strings and the tail of the piano are horizontal, making it the biggest variant.
  • Upright: the string and the tail are vertical, making it more compact.
  • Digital: Has no strings, instead it emulates the sound with a speaker. 

Prices

For the grand piano witch is what most people imagine when someone mentions a piano, around $20,000 – $280,000 USD, the cheapest we found was a Young Chang baby grand piano (the smallest grand piano) and the most expensive was a Fazioli concert grand piano.

In the middle we have something like Yamaha’s $179,000 concert grand piano.

VariantLowest price*Highest price*Average*
Upright$4,000 USD$25,000 USD$19,000 USD
Digital$500 USD$3,000 USD$700 USD
*Rounded and based on our own and a search in different stores.

As you can see as technology has advanced, it has managed to make the piano smaller and cheaper, that also means that grand pianos are now less common and usually hand made, making the price increased even more. 

Weights and sizes

The size of grand pianos goes around 4’6’’ – 9’6’’ in length ( 1.37 meters -2.9 meters) and has a weight from 650 Lbs (294 Kgs) to 850 Lbs (385 Kgs), that’s the size of a small car and also a forth of the weight of the same car.

Best models

We checked a lot of brands and rated them based on customer experience. Models and series are confusing? check this guide. Not picky? you have more options.

The best piano for a beginner is a digital piano since it is the most affordable variant and smallest too, there’s also the keyboard or electronic piano that is considered a different instrument altogether but besides playing like a regular piano and being able to play all piano sounds like the digital piano, is also able to make other instruments sounds and is even smaller and cheaper.

For kids we suggest a keyboard  or a toy piano that comes with music lessons included and if you don’t mind losing a little bit of the feel of a physical piano, then an app for a tablet would be great since it lets them play without any knowledge of music theory.

If you want the original experience with the highest quality possible and no emulation we suggest an upright piano, because it requires less space and sound the same as a concert grand piano..so if you’re going professional, you don’t have any excuse with one of these or a handmade concert grand piano if you are going for a main piano position on an orchestra.

Accessories

Here’s a list of a lot of them, but for this you don’t need much, maybe stopper to avoid scratching the floor, stickers with the key names for beginners (make sure they can be removed no problem once you’re done and a metronome to make sure you’re playing music sheets correctly.

Start playing

We recommend learning to read sheet music to get the basics. We review resources to help you choose how you want to learn. Now that you know how to read them, you need to get some. 
Sheets come in different notations so we recommend checking various versions of the same sheets, searching for “scores” to get all instruments and even the “song name for piano to save on translations.

The good thing about the piano is that it has a big range of notes and they are ordered left to right by pitch so becoming good at piano becomes more about practice that theory.
Don’t forget all the details that combined make a big difference like the way you hold it,efficient warmups, positions and techniques.

Remember,the piano is easy to understand but hard to master, but you can start playing songs from day 1, it’s also similar to a lot of instruments like digital piano, electric organ, keyboard, keyboard glockenspielmelodica, pipe organ and pump organ so you can combine those resources to help you learn.

Luis Gerardo

Musician as a hobby for +6 years, documenting every instrument in simple words for this website.

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