Australians love tickling the ivories, with a staggering 100,000 new pianos and keyboards imported every year. In creating ABC Classic’s How a Piano Worksseries, we researched what people were searching about the piano online, about the kinds of things they wanted to know about the piano, and we were really interested to find that so many of those questions were about the function of the piano.

Ara Vartoukian

People are most interested in how it works, because it’s this mysterious box that’s in the corner of so many living rooms, and people don’t actually know what goes on inside. People often don’t know what happens between touching the key and the sound – it’s the original black box.

Some of the basic things that people wanted to know were how do hammers work? How do keys work? What are keys made of? We were able, fortunately, to find some really incredible people to talk to us about that.

Piano technician Ara Vartoukian explains the history and mechanism of the piano in the first episode. As a veteran technician who tunes over 1,000 pianos a year, Vartoukian wasted no time in pulling the entire...