Interesting Facts about the Piano:
*The Piano was invented in 1698 by an Italian, Bartolomeo Cristofori.
*There are over 12,000 parts in a piano, 10,000 which are moving.
*There is approximately 18 tons of pressure being exerted by the stretched steel piano strings. In a concert grand, it is close to 30 tons of pressure. The average string having about 160 pounds of tension. There are 230 strings inside a typical piano.
*The action of a grand is superior in many ways to a vertical piano, one being that any key can be repeated (reset) faster than any vertical upright (regardless of the name given by manufacturers i.e.: upright grand, studio grand, inverted grand, etc.).
*If all of the strings were of the same thickness and under the same tension, with high C being the usual two inches, low C would have to be about thirty feet long. For this reason, lower strings are weighted by wrapping copper or iron wire around the core wire. The lowest octave having two wrappings.
*If a piano hammer were attached directly to the back end of a key, when the key was depressed, the hammer would hit the string and stay there, damping out all vibration and sound. For this reason, all piano actions have some kind of escapement mechanism for each key, allowing the hammer to be released from the key just before hitting the string. When the key is released, the action returns to its original position and resets itself for another cycle.
*Basic parts of a piano action, include:
A - Key ; B - Escapement (sticker & whippen);
C - Hammer; D - Damper; E - String
*Most pianos have two to three pedals.
*The right pedal is always the sustaining pedal (damper pedal), it raises all of the dampers at once, allowing all notes which are played to continue sounding after the keys are released.
*The left pedal is always some type of soft pedal. In vertical pianos, and some grand's, it moves the hammers at rest closer to the strings, decreasing their travel, and thus striking force. In most grand's, the soft pedal shifts the entire action sideways, causing the treble hammers to hit only two of their three strings. The lower strings are shifted to another part of the hammer felt. The shifting type of soft pedal is called the una corda pedal.
*The third or middle pedal is usually called the sostenuto pedal. It sustains only those notes which are depressed prior to and while holding the pedal down, and does not sustain any notes depressed after holding it down. This is like having a third hand to sustain certain notes, while playing others.
In some instances, the middle pedal is the bass sustaining pedal, which lifts only the bass dampers. Some uprights use the middle pedal as a practice pedal, which lowers a thick piece of felt between the hammers and strings, muffling the tone. Once in awhile, you will see the middle pedal being used to lower metal studded tap strips between the hammer and the string, creating a tinny honky-tonk type sound. This is often called a Zither, Harp or Mandolin.