The Piano

Most of the modern music instruments such as the guitar saxophone and the piano were invented by various individuals several years back. The piano is today one of the most widely played musical instruments (Antique Digest). This instrument is played through a key board (Good 76). It was commonly used in classical music during solo performance and generally as an accompaniment (Fischer). In addition to these, the piano is also used in composing and rehearsal.

Even though this instrument remains expensive, it has remained a popular because of its versatility and ubiquity. The word piano originated from an Italian word pianoforte which means instrument. “The musical terms piano and forte mean quiet and loud, and in this context refers to the variations in volume of sound the instrument produces in response to a pianist‘s touch on the keys” (Lhevinne 123).

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Bartolomeo Cristofori is today a credited for having invented the modern piano. Before he developed the piano, he made his earlier instruments using strings and they were very quiet compared to the current piano. The manufacturing of the piano became popular towards the last phase of the eighteenth century especially in Vienesse School. Vienesse piano models were made of wooden frames and each had two strings.

They also had hammers covered with leather materials. The piano instrument was later refined through a series of improvements which included the following. Felt hammer covering replaced the use of leather covering or cotton. Iron frames were also used to enhance the piano sound. Broadwood is the company a credited for the formal manufacturing of the piano instruments (American Piano Association). Vienesse Company became one of its key competitors. Today many companies have engaged in production of piano instruments.

At present, there are many designs of the piano and they vary in sizes and use. For example, the modern pianos contain two important configurations. “Almost every modern piano has thirty six black keys and fifty two white keys for a total of eighty eight keys”. “Many older pianos only have eighty five keys (seven octaves from A0 to A7), while some manufacturers extend the range further in one or both directions” (Humphries 345). Just like other instruments, the piano also needs regular maintenance and proper care. For example, the piano should be tuned in order to maintain the proper pitch needed for an effective performance. Other parts of the piano should also be periodically regulated (Harris).

The piano has been used by many musicians to compose music. Some of the composers include the following individuals: “York Bowen, Erick Satie, Duke Elington, Anthony Braxton, and James Douglas” (Brings). Apart from these composers, we have some outstanding pieces which include the following. Hesitation Blues was composed by an individual known as Jelly Morton, I Got a Woman was formally composed by Charles Ray.

These pieces are classified under the genre of blues. Some of the piano pieces that were composed in the genre of jazz included: “ body and soul which was produced by Edward Heyman together with Johnny Green, and Maple Leaf Rag that was composed by Scott Joplin” (Piano Street). The famous Elton John has also composed a number of pieces and one of them is called Crocodile Rock.

Because of the above mentioned qualities of the piano many musicians still use it. “It has therefore remained a crucial instrument in Western classical music, jazz, film, television, and most other complex western musical genres” (Green).

Works Cited

American Piano Association. Piano and Harpsichord Makers. 3 June 2010. Web. 2 May 2011 .

Antique Digest. Development Of The Piano. 3 July 2007. Web. 3 May 2011 .

Brings, Tony. Piano–A World of History and Class. 13 March 2010. Web. 2 May 2011 .

Fischer, Julia. A History of the Piano, 1157-2007. 14 April 2009. Web. 3 May 2011 .

Good, Edwin. Giraffes, black dragons, and other pianos: a technological history from Cristofori. Carlifornia: Stanford University Press, 2009.

Green, Aaron. Piano Classical Music – A Beginners Guide to Great Classical Music for the Piano. 2 May 2011. Web. 3 May 2011 .

Harris, William. The Pianoforte. 3 August 2008. Web. 3 May 2011 .

Humphries, Carl. The Piano Handbook . New York: Backbeat Books, 2002.

Lhevinne, Joseph. Basic Principles in Pianoforte Playing. Berkley: Dover Publications , 1972.

Piano Street. Classical Piano Pieces. 25 March 2011. Web. 3 May 2011 .


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