7 Crazy Things You Don’t Know About Your Piano

Guest post written by Kent Moore.

Even if you’ve been playing piano for years, there are lots of crazy things to learn about your piano– whether they’re coincidental or by intentional¬†design, you’ll be surprised.

Who knew that the piano corresponds to our modern Gregorian calendar?

There is more to the instrument than just music.

Here are seven crazy things you didn’t know about your piano.

1. Need the “Circle of Fifths”?

Start with A1 (the lowest note) and go up by the interval of a fifth, then another and another until you cannot go up a fifth anymore.

Where do you end up?

This exercise takes you through one rotation of the Cycle of Fifths (Circle of Fifths).

2. What do your pedals really do?

Look inside the piano as you press each of the pedals one at a time.

What is happening?

The left pedal on an upright moves the hammers closer to the strings. This makes the sound softer.

The middle pedal on an upright piano might not do anything at all, or it might lower a piece of cloth between the hammers and strings to produce a softer sound.

On a grand piano, the middle pedal is the sostenuto. It sustains only the notes that are pressed, and then lets you play all others without sustain.

The right pedal is the sustain pedal. It is used most often, and many teachers will tell you it is used TOO often.

3. How many inches are there in a yard? How many black keys are on a piano (total of 88 keys)?

4. How many weeks are there in a year? How many white keys are there on a piano (total of 88 keys)?

5. Hold down as many keys as possible without striking any strings.

Now yell or speak into the piano.

What happens?

That is what harmonics sound like.

You can get the same effect by holding several keys down with your left hand, then playing single staccato notes with your right in the higher octaves.  Remember, when you strike one note, it can make other notes vibrate.

6. Find the serial number on your piano.

This number uniquely identifies your piano.

It is your instrument; you should know the serial number, right? Where might it be?

On grands, the serial number is under the music desk on the right. On uprights, lift the lid to find the serial number; it is on the top right, etched in the wood.

7. Find these major parts of a piano: key slip, fallboard, pinblock, bass bridge, treble bridge, soundboard, iron plate.

Kent Moore is a piano technician and the owner of Coppell Piano Shop in Coppell, Texas. He has played piano for over forty years and writes a blog about pianos which can be accessed through his webpage at coppellpianoshop.com.

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