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11 Fun Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Pianos

The “King of Instruments,” although versatile and approachable, contains an extensive number of moving parts. Check out these 11 facts you probably didn’t know about pianos.

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1. It’s Actually a Percussion Instrument

The piano is oftentimes wrongly lumped in with string instruments like the violin. However, it’s actually a member of the percussion group because the piano sound only occurs when a hammer hits a string.
Ducksters / Via ducksters.com

The piano is oftentimes wrongly lumped in with string instruments like the violin. However, it’s actually a member of the percussion group because the piano sound only occurs when a hammer hits a string.

2. Its Tonal Range Is Greater Than Any Other Instrument

Autoflower.net / Via giphy.com

With higher highs and lower lows than any other musical instrument, it’s easy to see how the piano earned its nickname, “King of Instruments.”

3. Its Strings Are Incredibly Strong

Every piano has over 200 strings that are made out of steel, and each one can hold about 200 pounds of tension individually.
Piano Guy / Via blogger.com

Every piano has over 200 strings that are made out of steel, and each one can hold about 200 pounds of tension individually.

4. It’s So Big It Makes Every Player Look Small

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A grand piano weighs over 1,400 pounds and can be as big as 8 feet wide by 11 feet long.

5. There Are Millions Of Non-Professional Players

Via m.popkey.co

The piano is so popular, that in the U.S. alone there are over 18 million non-professional players.

6. It’s Over 300 Years Old

The first piano was constructed in Italy in 1698 by Bartolomeo Cristofori.
Met Museum / Via metmuseum.org

The first piano was constructed in Italy in 1698 by Bartolomeo Cristofori.

7. It Was Originally Called A Pianoforte

The word “piano” is actually just a nickname. Pianoforte, which literally translates to “soft loud,” refers to the instrument’s large volume range.
IGEM / Via scuoladimusicaigem.it

The word “piano” is actually just a nickname. Pianoforte, which literally translates to “soft loud,” refers to the instrument’s large volume range.

8. It Has 7,500 Working Parts

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It takes a huge amount of very small pieces to make that beautiful piano sound complete; for example, pedals, keys, hammers, and strings.

9. Marie Antoinette Had a Piano Playing Android

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Built by two German clockmakers, a female piano-playing automation entertained Marie Antoinette’s court. It had 48 strings and two hammers, and it could play eight songs. It was recently on display at the Palace of Versailles.

10. Its Students Tend To Do Better Academically

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Studies have shown that kids who play piano will also thrive academically.

11. It Can Have Enormous Value

Christie’s recently sold a Victorian Steinway grand for over a million dollars. The piano was bought by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Country Piano / Via countrypiano.com

Christie’s recently sold a Victorian Steinway grand for over a million dollars. The piano was bought by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

12. Every Steinway is a Limited Edition

Speaking of Steinway, this world-class piano brand handcrafts each of its pianos, only making about 2,500 per year.
Steinway Pianos / Via steinwaypianos.com

Speaking of Steinway, this world-class piano brand handcrafts each of its pianos, only making about 2,500 per year.

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