It’s a new year which means many people are exercising their bodies and brains, including learning to play the piano. A relatively new instrument compared to the flute, for example, tickling the ivories remains a popular choice for professional and amateur musicians alike. If you’re not sure that this instrument is right for you, we’ve got interesting facts about the piano that could help you decide.
Pianos are a new instrument.
A sort-of cousin of the harpsichord, the first piano was constructed in 1698 by harpsichord maker and inventor Bartolomeo Cristofori of Padua, Italy. Cristofori was appointed by the Florentine court of Grand Prince Ferdinand de’Medici in 1688 to care for the harpsichords and eventually the entire collection of instruments. During that time he developed a new instrument which we know today as the piano.
The full name is pianoforte, the Italian words for playing notes quietly (piano) and loudly (forte).
Three of Cristofori’s pianos are still in existence with one from 1720 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one from 1726 at the Musical Instrument Museum of Leipzig University, and one from 1722 at the Musical Instrument Museum in Rome. The oldest piano is in a wing-shaped case and resembles a harpsichord. With only 54 keys compared to the 88 keys of the modern piano, the sound was different than what we would hear today.
The world’s most expensive piano was manufactured in Canada.
Canadian manufacturer Heintzman Pianos made the Crystal Piano that was played at the 2008 Beijing Olympics by Chinese pianist Lang Lang. A transparent design gives the illusion that the pianist and instrument are floating. After the Olympics, the Crystal Piano sold at auction for $3.2 million making it the most expensive piano ever sold.
Interesting piano facts include that a piano has the range of a full orchestra.
Pianos are referred to as the King of Instruments because their range us that of a full orchestra.
230 strings and over 30 tons of pressure make its full range of sound. This includes notes from the lowest note played on a double-bassoon to the highest note played on a piccolo, a full orchestra of sound.
If you’re thinking of taking up the piano this year, you’re in good company.
There are more than 18 million non-professional piano players in the United States alone and over 10 million pianos!
Dust off your piano and call Chicago Piano Tuners to get your piano sounding like the day it was made!