The piano is a musical instrument played by way of a keyboard. The typical acoustic piano has a protective wooden case surrounding the soundboard and metal strings. Strings are sounded when the keys are pressed. There are 88 keys in all (52 white and and 36 black). A greater touch on a key produces a louder sound of the corresponding note. By using pedals, notes can be sustained even when the keys are released.
The piano was created in Padua, Italy in 1709. Harpsichord maker Bartolomeo Cristofori is credited with development of the instrument, which he called a pianoforte—piano meaning “soft” and forte meaning “loud.” Unlike the harpsichord, the piano allowed for variations in volume depending upon a pianist’s touch on the keys.
Many improvements have been made over the past 300 years, yet the modern instrument remains true to Cristofori’s earliest designs. His oldest surviving pianoforte was built in 1720 and is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
There has never been a better time to acquire and learn to play the piano. Not every home has the space or budget for a grand or upright model, but there are many other options. Digital pianos and keyboards are extremely popular and affordable.
More Piano Facts
A person who performs on this string instrument is called a pianist.
Notable pianists include Leif Ove Andsnes, Martha Argerich, Claudio Arrau, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, Ludwig van Beethoven, Alfred Brendel, Frédéric Chopin, Glenn Gould, Myra Hess, Vladimir Horowitz, Stephen Hough, Lang Lang, Franz Liszt, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, John Ogdon, Murray Perahia, Maria Joao Pires, Maurizio Pollini, Sergei Rachmaninov, Sviatoslav Richter, Arthur Rubinstein, Clara Schumann, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Mitsuko Uchida. Source: Classic FM – The 25 Best Piano Players of All Time
Kelsey Hochstatter Art Print
Listen to the Piano
Don Grusin & Friends
Songwriter, producer, and keyboardist Don Grusin performs Catwalk, from the album “The Hang.” Also performing are Alex Acuña (drums), Charlie Bisharat (violin), Abraham LaBoriel (bass), and Sadao Watanabe (alto saxophone).
We Love Pianos
Looking for more piano facts? Here are some of our favorite pages about pianos for you to enjoy:
Shop for the Best Piano Gifts
We’ve created more than 3,000 products for string instrument players and music lovers. Find a unique gift for your favorite pianist.
Find a Keyboard Online
RockJam 61-Key Electronic Keyboard Package
- True full-size 61-key keyboard piano with standard key sizes
- LCD screen, record and playback functionality
- 100 keyboard sounds, 100 rhythms, 50 demo songs
- Strong, adjustable stand designed to hold keyboard securely
- Padded stool is comfortable for pianists of all ages
- LCD display shows correct keys to press for demo songs
- Power supply for home, backup uses six size D batteries
- High quality, over-ear headphones for quiet play
- Free Piano Course for Simply Piano by JoyTunes!
Shop for Piano Gifts
Would you like to sell our string instrument products online and earn referral fees? Here’s how to become an affiliate.
Shop for Pianos and Accessories
Disclosure: Some of the links on this website are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, we will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.