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Piano Facts

20 Interesting Facts About The Piano

The piano is probably the instrument that has defined music in the past 100 years. The harpsichord was the original instrument, which had a mechanism of plucking the strings.  Over time, the piano was developed and the mechanism went from plucking strings to hitting them with hammers.

There are now many different types of pianos, ranging from grand pianos, digital pianos through to synthesizers, and yes, you can still buy a harpsichord if you wish!

Here are twenty interesting facts about this amazing instrument.

Piano Facts

1. The first piano was invented in 1709

Cristofori Piano

The first piano was built in 1709 by Bartolomeo di Francesco Cristofori.

It was an upgrade from the most popular instrument of the day; the Harpsichord.  Originally called ‘gravicèmbalo col piano e forte’ which, in Italian, means harpsichord with loud and soft. The name was later shortened to ‘fortepiano’, and then finally to  just ‘piano’.

It was incredibly expensive. In fact, only the rich and royalty could afford them. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that they became more publicly available.

2. there Are only three original cristofori pianos remaining

There are only three original Cristofori pianos in the world.   All the others have been lost or destroyed over the years.

They are located at the National Museum of Musical Instruments in Rome,  the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and the Museum of Musical Instruments, Leipzig University in Germany.

Cristofori Piano Original

3. the piano has...

…over 12,000 parts, 10,000 of which are moving!

It is an enormous amount of small pieces that need to work perfectly together; one of the reasons why they are still fairly expensive.  And talking of money…

4. The world's most expensive piano

This piano was designed for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, by Heintzman Pianos, a Canadian piano manufacturer.

This unique piano was named the Crystal Piano because it’s created out of transparent materials.  Being transparent, it means you can see how the inner workings of the piano move when it’s being played.

After the Olympics, the piano was put up for auction, with the anonymous winner paying $3.22 million! That’s the equivalent of at least 32 Steinways!

Heintzman Piano

5. The piano is actually a Percussion Instrument

Yes, we know a piano has strings; but technically it’s classified as a percussion instrument

The sound is made when the hammers inside the piano hit the strings.  This therefore makes it a percussion instrument.

6. How many strings?

To produce the highest highs, and lowest lows in pitch, the piano has 230 strings.

These strings have an enormous of tension on them; close to 20 tons of pressure on the strings.  So don’t stand close if you think one is going to snap…

7. The grand piano is faster than...