September is National Piano Month and we’re celebrating the talented pianists who have graced Levitt stages throughout the years. Moving a grand piano on stage is no easy task—though it’s well worth the effort to hear this colossal instrument produce a wide range of colorful sounds, from delicate arpeggios to bombastic rhapsodies. It’s no wonder why artists as diverse as Marcia Ball (New Orleans blues), Vijay Iyer (jazz) and David Troy Francis (classical) are inspired to play the ivories. Can you guess how much a grand piano weighs? Find out the answer and other fun facts about the instrument below, then listen to our playlist of piano virtuosos who have played Levitt venues!
1. The body of a piano can have over 4,500 working parts.
That means over 50 parts are required to play just one of 88 keys! Altogether with stationary parts, a grand piano can have over 12,000 parts.
2. The piano’s original Italian name is un cimbalo di cipresso di piano e forte.
The name translates to “a keyboard of cypress with soft and loud” and was later shortened to pianoforte, which simply means “soft loud.” Fitting for an instrument that can produce sound at different volumes, but as time passed, the name was further abbreviated.
3. The piano alone covers a full orchestral range, with the ability to produce sounds from the lowest note played on a double bassoon to the highest note played on a piccolo.
For this reason, the piano is an ideal instrument for composers and is a featured instrument in numerous music genres.
4. Pianos are actually stringed instruments that hold about 230 strings.
The total amount of string tension, which allows each key to produce the perfect pitch, in a concert grand piano can be over 30,000 pounds!
5. Grand pianos range in size, with concert grand pianos being about seven to 10 feet long and weighing an average of 1,000 pounds.
Many touring artists bring their instruments on the road with them, but due to the piano’s size and value, most concert pianists play on a house piano.
Whether you know your way around the keyboard or just enjoy listening to its rich range of sounds, we hope you have a happy, musical Piano Month!