Gareth trained in Music at Oxford Brookes University and is an experienced and well-established freelance musician and peripatetic music tutor teaching piano, violin and bass guitar privately and in schools. He has an extensive knowledge of musical practice and performance accrued over many years as a performing musician with a large number of diverse instrumental ensembles and musical theatre projects.
Piano keys were originally made from ivory, giving rise to the phrase “tickle the ivories” but due to cost and environmental concerns, piano makers from the 1950’s started to use plastic keys. Steinway Pianos continued to use ivory right up until 1982.
A normal piano has more than 12,000 parts, 10,000 of which are moving. With so many moving parts, it is no wonder that tuning a piano is an intricate and time-consuming process.
Pianos generally contain between 220 and 230 strings. They are made of steel and strung tightly to create the tension required to produce the sound.
Although the piano is a stringed instrument, they are classified as percussion instruments because the felt hammers strike the strings.
Yamaha were the first Japanese makers of pianos and began production in 1887.
The piano is often referred to as “the King of Instruments” – it earned this title for several reasons including it’s tonal range – it covers the full spectrum of any instrument in the orchestra from below the lowest note of the contra bassoon to above the top note of the piccolo.
Modern pianos have 36 blacks keys and 52 white keys, making a total of 88 keys.
The action of a grand piano is faster than an upright because it has a repetition lever – this allows the player to repeat a note when the key is only half way up. On an upright, the key has to come all the way up in order to reset the hammer action.
The first note on a standard 88-key piano is A.
The last note on a standard 88-key piano is C.