TOP 5 PIANO MYTHS

Top 5 Piano Myths

1. Steinway is the best piano in the world.

steinway piano

There are a handful of piano companies which make pianos equal in quality to Steinway. (For example: Bösendorfer, Bechstein, Fazioli, Blüthner and Mason & Hamlin are all top notch pianos with rich histories.) In fact, if you look in the latest supplement to “The Piano Book”, by Larry Fine, New York made Steinway pianos are rated in the 3rd rank of pianos according to manufacturing quality. So why is Steinway recognized as the undisputed leader? In a word: marketing. Just as Microsoft dominates computer software because of aggressive licensing arrangements, John Steinway helped propel Steinway & Sons to its market dominance through exclusive artist contracts and favorable institutional arrangements.

2. When you move a piano it has to be tuned.

piano moving

This is a half truth. The fact is, a piano that is moved will show up pretty much as it left most of the time. However, after the piano gets acclimated to its new environment, it will require tuning. The piano may not sound bad, but the pitch of the entire instrument may adjust slightly up or down. It is important to keep a piano stable. It is best to wait at least a couple of weeks or even longer after a move before tuning to make sure the piano has settled.

3. Kids banging on a piano may damage the instrument.

kid playing piano

While it can grate on your nerves, the force with which kids hit the keys of a piano even with their fists can’t match the power professional pianists inflict upon a piano in concert. Just be sure that the children don’t take sharp or heavy objects to the keyboard since this can damage the instrument.

4. The fall board of a piano must have a slow close feature to avoid injury.

piano fall board

The slow close fall-board feature of a piano is a great marketing tool. The truth is, unless you have some really wild kids, the incidence of being hurt by a falling fall board is quite rare. Most of the best pianos including Steinway do not offer a slow close fall board.

5. You shouldn’t place a piano on an outside wall.

piano fall board

Even in a temperate climate, the insulation of modern homes will keep the temperature fairly stable even on an outside wall. However, it is important to avoid direct sunlight on your piano. This will not only effect tuning stability, but it will fade the finish in a matter of weeks. Also, you should keep your piano closed particularly at night. If you leave your windows open at night, the moist night air will rust the strings. Also, even with the piano closed, the cooler air can make the sound board contract destabilizing the tuning. Use your judgment in balancing the enjoyment of your piano versus its longevity.

I’m interested to hear your opinions and thoughts on these piano myths. Please leave some comments below. Thanks for reading.

Top 5 Piano Myths 1. Steinway is the best piano in the world. There are a handful of piano companies which make pianos equal in quality to Steinway. (For example: Bösendorfer, Bechstein, Fazioli, Blüthner and Mason & Hamlin are all top notch pianos with rich histories.) In fact, if you look in the latest supplement to “The Piano Book”, by … Continue reading TOP 5 PIANO MYTHS

Read More

Saving Music in the Schools

Perhaps you are aware of the crises facing music and arts programs in the public schools. Music programs are being eliminated in elementary schools and severely limited in middle and high schools all around the state.

Read More

When was the first piano played?

This question is not as simple as it seems. At first, you might consider that Bartolomeo Christofori is credited with inventing the piano in 1709. (Although, there are accounts of pianos prior to the 18th century.) However, the instrument that Christofori built was actually a harpsichord (the predecessor of the piano). In fact, he called his instrument, “Arcicembal che fa il piano e il forte” which translated from Italian is, “Harpsichord with soft and loud”. Eventually the name was shortened to the “pianoforte” and then simply the “piano”.

The harpsichord is a keyboard instrument that creates tone by plucking strings with duck quills. As a result, the force with which the keys are depressed doesn’t affect the volume. Christofori developed a primitive hammer action which allowed for dynamics. However, there were subsequently countless technical innovations that led to the development of the piano as we know it.
It was during Beethoven’s life that the piano experienced dramatic evolution. While Christofori’s keyboard was made entirely out of wood, little by little, metal bracing was added to strengthen the piano. By the late nineteenth century, nearly the entire inside of the piano became reinforced by a cast iron plate which supports enormous string tension. Steinway & Sons was producing a fully modern piano by the late 1800’s.

So, it is a subjective question as to when the first “Piano” was played. It depends upon how you define the piano. In the strictest sense one could argue that Christofori played the first piano at the turn of the 18th century. Or, perhaps the first piano was played by Henry Steinway! However, Franz Liszt was the first to play the piano as we know it. The first person to play solo piano recitals, Liszt transformed the instrument to a modern standard with the help of countless instrument builders. While the instrument he played was not quite a modern piano, his performances solidified the piano as we know it today.

When was the first piano played? This question is not as simple as it seems. At first, you might consider that Bartolomeo Christofori is credited with inventing the piano in 1709. (Although, there are accounts of pianos prior to the 18th century.) However, the instrument that Christofori built was actually a harpsichord (the predecessor of the piano). In fact, he called his instrument, “Arcicembal che fa il piano e il forte” which translated from Italian is, “Harpsichord with soft and loud”. Eventually the name was shortened to the “pianoforte” and then simply the “piano”.

Read More