Some Interesting Piano Facts
Here’s some piano trivia so you can impress your friends!
FACT: There are over 12,000 parts in a piano, 10,000 of which are moving.
FACT: The working section of the piano is called the action. There are about 7,500 parts, all playing a role in propelling the hammers against the strings when keys are struck.
FACT: Each note on a grand piano has more than 35 points of adjustment. Overall, there are more than 3,000 adjustments for the entire piano.
FACT: The range of the piano extends lower than the bottom 16 foot pedal note of an organ and higher than the top note of a piccolo.
FACT: The piano is complete and needs no assistance from other instruments, but almost all other instruments need the piano for accompaniment, including singers.
FACT: There are 18 million non-professional pianists in this country. 79% are female, 21% are male. The average age is 28.
FACT: The first practical piano with an escapement mechanism for the hammers with the capability of being played softly and loudly was built circa 1700 by an Italian, Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1731).
FACT: The name “piano” is an abbreviation of Cristofori’s original name for the instrument, piano et forte, meaning soft and loud.
FACT: One of Cristofori’s original pianos is still in existence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
FACT: Jonas Chickering was the first exporter of American-made pianos. The first shipment was in 1844.
FACT: Abraham Lincoln used a Chickering grand piano (serial #5070) while in the White House.
FACT: In 1869, the U.S. produced 25,000 pianos, valued at $7,000,000. In 1910, production was 350,000 pianos, valued at $100,000,000!
FACT: A quarter of a million new pianos are bought every year in the U.S., and nearly one million used pianos are sold.
FACT: The Bösendorfer Imperial concert grand piano is 9′ 6″ long and has 9 extra keys, stretching to a growling low C, well below a typical piano! (The Imperial grand sold for $55,000 in 1980!) The 9′ and 7′ 4″ grands have four extra bass keys, the lowest of which is F below bottom C.
FACT: The world’s largest piano is the Challen concert grand. This piano is 11′ long, has a total string tension of over 30 tons, and weighs more than a ton!
FACT: A grand piano’s action is faster than a vertical’s (spinet, console, upright) because it has a repetition lever. This allows the pianist to repeat the note when the key is only halfway up. A vertical piano’s action requires letting the key all the way up to reset the hammer.
FACT: The exact middle of the keyboard is not middle C; it is actually the space between E and F above “middle” C.
FACT: The average piano has about 230 strings. Each string has about 160 pounds of tension with a combined pull of all strings equaling almost eighteen tons!
FACT: A drop of 1/2 step in pitch can equal a change of 3,000 to 5,000 pounds of tension!
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