11 Piano Facts You May Not Have Known
The piano is one of the most popular instruments to learn and there are millions of pianos spread across the world. Despite their ubiquity, perhaps you didn’t know all of these interesting and fun facts that we’ve collected about pianos?
- The inventor of the piano was an Italian by the name of Bartolomeo Cristofori: The exact year of the piano’s invention is unknown, but it is believed to be around 1700
- A typical piano has over 12,000 individual parts: As a result, pianos can be incredibly heavy, ranging from 136 kg (300 lb) for a standard upright to 480 kg (1,060 lb) for a concert grand.
- Pianos are certainly not the cheapest instruments in the world of music… but did you know the world’s most expensive piano – a Steinway D-274 concert grand – sold for US$1.2 million at auction in 1997.
- Speaking of the Steinway D-274, the company maintains ‘piano banks’ around the world with multiple D-274s: This allows pianists to choose the exact piano that they feel sounds best for a performance
- Making a Steinway grand piano is an epic task, that takes up to twelve months from start to finish: A team of up to 450 workers may be involved in the finished product.
- The largest piano in the world was custom built for a Polish businessman: Named “Stolëmowi Klawér”, this massive piano weighs over two tonnes and is six metres long.
- Many pianists agree that one the hardest piano pieces to play is Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji’s Opus clavicembalisticum: A performance of this work takes four hours, spread across 12 movements.
- Pianos falling from the sky is a common gag in cartoons, but in 2007 a grand piano really did fall out of a moving truck in the UK: The piano, worth GBP45,000 (US$60,000) was completely destroyed
- Sales of new pianos are declining at a rapid rate: In the early 1900s, over 350,000 pianos were sold annually around the world; that figure has now dropped to less than 40,000 with a continued decline observed.
- It is recommended that a new piano is tuned four times in the first year: After that, a regular tuning is recommended every six months to maintain the instrument in peak condition.
- However, just as piano sales are decreasing, so too are the number of piano tuners: Piano tuning is regarded by many as a ‘dying art’ with many tuners growing old and retiring while not enough young apprentices are being trained.