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The Piano (photo) (audio)
The piano is a subset of the harpsichord and the clavichord. The earliest known piano model was built in 1709 by Italian harpsichord maker Bartolomeo Cristofori. The piano is part of the stringed keyboard musical instrument family. The piano, also called the pianoforte, allows the player to vary in volume and intensity of sound by the hitting of the keys. This is possible because of the hammer-type architecture the piano is composed.
When a key is pressed, the direct pressure used to press the key is used to lift a lever that moves a hammer into the corresponding string. Meanwhile, a damper is lifted to let the
string vibrate more freely. This damper is moved back into the original position to cease the vibration when the key of the piano is lifted. This may vary, however, with respect to the foot petals. Pressing the damper foot petal will keep the damper from moving back into the original position to stop the vibration(s). The soft foot petal will immediately throw the damper at the strings after hitting it to soften the sound. Some pianos have a third, or sustaining, pedal that keeps raised only those dampers already raised by the keys at the moment this pedal is applied.When all keys and petals are in their original, released state, all mechanisms inside the a grand piano is released into their original state by gravity. In an upright piano, however, gravity cannot solely be used to release all mechanism into their original state and therefore, clothes and springs are used as force.
The structure of a piano can be separated into six parts. First, is the frame which is usually made of iron. At the back end of the
frame is the string plate where the strings are fastened. The front of the frame is the wrest plank in which the strings are attached to through tuning pegs or pins. The piano need not be tuned every time it is played. However, since the pins do slip noticably over time, a piano should be tuned at least once a year. Second, the soundboard, a thin piece of fine grained spruce is placed under the strings in which a complementary vibration creates and reinforces the tone of strings. Third, there is a string for each key on the piano keyboard attached to the frame. The strings vary in thickness and length to provide different pitches. The thicker the string is, the more lower and deeper the sound. The shorter the string in terms of length, the higher the sound is in pitch. Fourth, the action of the piano is the entire mechanism that moves the hammer. The action is controlled directly
by the keys. Fifth on the list is the petals. As described above, the petals control the damper in a way that either 1.) muffles the sound of the piano or 2.) allows the strings to vibrate until naturally stopped by friction. The outer shell or the case of the piano is the sixth and last part. Throughout the history of the piano, there have been three different types of pianos - the square (actually rectangular), upright (most common, also rectangular) and grand. The square piano is no longer built.
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