The Basic Parts of a Piano

As authorized Yamaha piano dealers who have been in business for over 40 years, we at Pianos Plus want to help pianists — newbies and experienced players alike — appreciate how the instrument works.

Yamaha piano

By Searobin, via Wikimedia Commons

To get the best sound – to maximize the efficacy of your practice and the quality of recordings you make – become conversant in the “anatomy” of the piano. Just learning the terms below will help you think more clearly about how to take care of your instrument and how to troubleshoot.

Terms to memorize:

Keyboard. The typical keyboard consists of 88 keys, although some hybrids and digital pianos contain more or less.

Housing. Whether you purchased an upright or grand piano, the housing will have profound bearing on the timbre and other qualities of the sound the instrument emits.

Lid. By popping open and adjusting the lid, particularly on grand pianos, you can alter the sound quality and get a bigger sound.

Pedals. You will typically find two or three pedals at the piano’s base. Pressing these can alter the sound you produce by, for instance, letting you hold certain notes.

Hammers and strings. Pressing the keys doesn’t automatically produce sound. The keys activate hammers, which in turn hit strings to create the notes that you have chosen. You may not be consciously aware of any discrepancy between the “pressing of the key” and the “hitting of the hammer against the string.” But there’s a slight lag time. Your awareness of that lag time can actually change your playing and the way you record.

Dampers. Why doesn’t a string, once hammered, continue to vibrate? The answer is: Dampers. These components mute strings after an interval, so the piano produces a crisp, clear sound. To let the strings vibrate to “completion,” hold down the damper pedal to inactivate the mechanism.

If you’re in the market for Weber Pianos — or you are looking for Kurzweil piano stores in the Bay Area — please consider connecting with the knowledgeable and friendly team here at Pianos Plus. We can answer all your questions and make sure you get the most appropriate instrument for your budget, practice/performance routine, and aesthetic preferences. Call today: 510-581-1660.