Top 5 Facts: Pianos

1. Harp – The inventor of the piano, Bartolomeo Cristofori, named his invention the gravecembalo col piano e forte, which when translated from Italian into English reads a ‘harpsichord with soft and loud’.

2. Tense – By the late 19th century piano string tension had been determined at 16 tons, however through developments in the 20th century (such as steel frames) 30 tons is now possible. This results in a far greater dynamic range and tonal spectrum.

3. Super-grand – The current largest piano available for purchase is the Fazioli F308, a grand piano that boasts an epic length of over 3.08 metres. The F308 also includes a new fourth pedal that brings the hammers closer to the strings in order to decrease volume while maintaining tone.

4. Spruce – Expensive, high-quality pianos use quarter-sawn, defect-free spruce boards to make their soundboards. The spruce is purposely dried over an extensive period of time to ensure the best vibration characteristics and energy transfer.

5. Chamber – The piano was wildly popular in the 18th century, spurred by musicians such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Muzio Clementi writing for it. From that point on it became the intrument of choice for salon music, chamber music and concerts.