Keynotes indeed… here’s the lowdown on the piano, from the majestic grand to the humble upright


How does the piano work?

The standard modern concert piano has 88 keys spanning 7 1/3 octaves, pitched from low to high, left to right. When a key is pressed, a felt-covered hammer is triggered to strike a taut steel string, which vibrates to produce a sound. This sound is transferred by a bridge onto the large wooden soundboard, greatly amplifying it. The steel strings are stretched with such high tension (around 20 tons all up) that a cast-iron plate is required to prevent the wood of the instrument from snapping in half. The proportions of the soundboard, bridge, hammers, frame and every feature of the piano need to be perfectly aligned to produce the optimum resonance for the strings – a marvel of modern engineering and acoustic science.

What’s the difference between a grand and an upright?