Celebrate an instrument that continues to be classical, contemporary and flexible all at the same time. It’s time to pay heed to an instrument that contributed enormously to the development of music as the world knows it, and continues to play a “key” role in modern music.
Get started tickling those keys because it’s time for National Piano Month!
History of National Piano Month
Technically a stringed instrument (although the strings are cleverly hidden inside the case) the history of the piano dates back as far as the 1700s when the instrument was contrived in Padua, Italy by Bartolomeo Cristofori. It began as the “pianoforte”, which had a softer sound and shorter range than the pianos that are well known today.
After its invention, it took several years (even decades) for the piano to become a preferred instrument for those who would compose and perform music. While its range was greater than some other instruments, it was also large, expensive, and not easily portable.
However, over time, musicians and wealthy people began to include pianos in their repertoire as well as having them become a vital part of the inclusion of music in their households. As versions of the piano developed, from the grand to the square to the upright, they became more accessible and practical for middle class families to include in their homes.
Most modern pianos now have 88 keys that include a row of 52 white keys and 36 black keys, as well as three pedals that are accessed by the feet. They vary from the grand piano, baby grand piano, and upright piano, as well as the various electric and specialized versions that have become available in modern times.
How to Celebrate National Piano Month
Celebrating National Piano Month doesn’t have to be difficult at all! This is the perfect time to enjoy and appreciate everything to do with this beautiful acoustic musical instrument. Try these ideas for celebrating this month:
Learn to Play the Piano
The great thing about learning to play the piano in modern times is that it isn’t even necessary to own a full sized piano! Digital pianos can be a super effective way to learn, but they can fold up and fit into tight spaces. Not only that, but some computers and tablets have apps that can allow a person to learn how to play the piano.
Of course, ultimately, it’s nice to have access to the real thing. Those who are able might consider hiring a piano teacher or attending lessons at a local music school. But no matter what keyboard is available, just getting a start toward learning and making music is the most important thing.
Learn Fun Facts About the Piano
Due to its wide range of notes and sounds, the piano is considered to be the ‘king of musical instruments”. Share these fun facts about this instrument with friends and family in honor of National Piano Month:
- Most Piano Players on One Piano. A world record was set using the most piano players on one piano in Birmingham, United Kingdom in 2019. 88 young players, one for each key, used extenders so that they could each reach their key without crowding on top of each other.
- The Galaxy Piano. One of the most expensive pianos in the world was built in the United Arab Emirates and is plated in 24K gold. It has an automatic lid and curved keys that contribute to its cost of $1.36 million.
- World’s Largest Piano. Made by a piano tuner from New Zealand, this 5.7 meter long, 4 ton piano took four years to make–and he was only 25 years old when he finished it!
- Prior to its current name, the piano was originally called the gravicembalo col piano e forte, a name which basically means “soft and loud keyboard instrument.
Attend a Piano Concert or Recital
Take a look at opportunities to attend a piano recital or concert. Whether finding one locally at a music school or travelling to attend a concert in Warsaw, Poland, the birthplace of the famous pianist, Chopin, hearing the piano played live can be a beautiful experience.
Learn About Piano Makers
While the untrained ear may have a hard time distinguishing them, different brands and makes of pianos do tend to sound somewhat different from one another. Take a look at some of these extremely high end piano makers for inspiration:
- Steinway & Sons. Perhaps one of the most well-known piano makers in the world, the Steinway business began in Germany when Heinrich Steinweg began making pianos at the young age of 20. A couple of decades later, he moved to New York and established his business there in 1853. Each Steinway piano is comprised of over 12,000 parts and takes more than a year to be built by a master craftsman.
- Bösendorfer. A luxury piano maker in Vienna, Austria, this maker is well-known for creating an extended keyboard that holds 97 keys and provides 8 full octaves for the pianist. But it’s not an easy piano to come by as they make only a few hundred pianos every year, and each one is handmade by dedicated craftsmen.
- Fazioli. Created in Italy, a Fazioli will certainly set back the pocketbook a bit as they run in the range of $100,000 to $300,000. They only produce grand and concert grand pianos–and one version even features a 24-karat gold leaf. The founder of the company, Paulo Fazioli, set out to create the best piano that money could buy. And he seems to have succeeded with his goal!
- Shigeru Kawai. Made from rare spruce trees that are located in the mountains of Hokkaido, Japan, this company makes fewer than 250 pianos each year. Blending technical innovations with traditional craftsmanship, the Kawai name has signified quality since the company’s inception in 1927.
Get That Piano Tuned!
There really is little that is worse than playing, or listening to, a piano that has been allowed to go out of tune. For those who own one of these beloved instruments, National Piano Month is the perfect reminder to get that piano tuned. Call a local tuner and let them show a little tender loving care and get those keys back in tip-top shape.