Monthly Archives: June 2016

How Many Keys Are on a Piano

How Many Keys Are on a Piano

Before you start your piano lessons, it is essential to figure out what number of keys there are on it. It might appear an extremely silly thing to ask, yet very few can answer it effectively.

It is said that in the year 1709, an Italian harpsichord maker, Bartolomeo Cristofori, invented the ‘pianoforte’. This new musical instrument had a wooden frame like a harpsichord and a unique keyboard mechanism. It was very similar to the clavichord. Over the past 300 years, the pianoforte has undergone many changes. The shape, functionality, appearance, design, and sound has been modified into today’s version of the piano.

Layout of Piano Keys

The modern piano keyboard was first established in medieval Europe during the 13th century. It had 12 basic notes, with a repetition of black and white keys. During the early stages, there were no black notes implemented as yet. Therefore, the layout of keys consisted of only seven basic notes. Then, after many long years, keyboard players were finally able to decide and implement the number of musical notes one could play on the piano. Thus, today there are 7 ¼ octaves, i.e., seven white notes and five black notes to an octave. This has made learning to play the piano so easy that you can even learn it yourself.

Total Number of Keys

The total number of keys on a standard modern piano is 88, the break-up being 52 white keys and 36 black keys. Initially, there used to be only 60 keys on the piano, just like the harpsichord. As the composers started to play this instrument more and more, they began to develop different musical notes. As the music played on, the piano got complicated and more keys were added to it. Then, during the 19th century, the piano had 85 notes. Finally, there were three notes added at the top.

However, there are some exceptions to the usual convention of 88 keys. The 7’4″ Bösendorfer model 225 has 92 keys, while the 9’6″ Bösendorfer model 290 has 97 keys. The Bösendorfer Imperial Grand model 290 has 97 keys that cover a compass of 8 octaves C to C. These keys have a different finishing from the regular keys to help you avoid playing them accidentally during a recital. The semitone keys are in white and the fulltone keys are in black. The Cottage piano does not have the top and bottom octaves that are found in the normal 88 key piano, and so only has total of 64 keys. Pleyel, a company that was established in Paris in 1807 and is now under Schimmel Piano Co. today, had once built a double grand piano. It had two pianos in one case, with one keyboard on either side. For this reason, this piano had 176 keys.

There are about 220 strings on a piano that has 88 keys. This means that each note has three stings in the treble, two strings in tenor and part of the bass, and one string in the very low bass. The average tension of a steel piano string is about 160 lbs., with a 15% increase on the bass strings. Different pianos have different weights as follows:

  • Baby grand 4′ 11″ – 240 kg approximately
  • Concert grand 9′ – 490 kg approximately
  • Small upright 3′ 8″ – 184 kg approximately
  • Large upright 4′ 2″ – 215 kg approximately

The biggest piano ever made was by Challen England. They made an 11′ 8″ long piano in 1935 for the Silver Jubilee of King George V and Princess Mary. This piano weighed about 1 ¼ tons. It had the combined tensile stress of the strings that amounted to over 30 tons.

Ways to Read Piano Notes

Ways to Read Piano Notes

Perusing piano notes proficiently is a troublesome undertaking, and it is similarly hard to peruse and play in the meantime. This article gives you a brief thought regarding how to ace the specialty of perusing music notes and playing a piano all the while.

Playing the piano is an extremely pleasurable activity, and I say that out of experience. Piano notes are sometimes also known as ‘sheet music’. Musical notes or sheet music is nothing but a different symbolic language that is used to write down music or musical compositions and this style is accepted universally. A genuine advantage that musicians experience is that the cultural and language barriers did not become a hurdle when it came to depicting music. Reading piano notes is simple, and if you follow the rules meticulously and practice religiously, then few months’ time is enough to make you an expert at it.

The first thing you need is a good dictionary of musical notes. You are bound to come across countless symbols and their variations that would be beyond your understanding at first. Keeping a dictionary handy is definitely advantageous as musical notations are a language in itself with a vocabulary of their own. The dictionary will help you understand sheet music and the various musical notations as well. Other books that you might refer and which may help you get started are the ones with nursery rhymes and one with scales and chords for simple tunes and songs.

Staffs, Stave, and Timing
The first thing that you notice about sheet music is that it is written upon staff and stave. Staffs are horizontal lines that indicate the pitch (scale and notes), and bar lines are the vertical lines that indicate the timings (basic rhythm) of the composition. The bar lines are divided according to the rhythm of the song. The rhythm or timing is depicted in numbers at the start of the staffs, such as 3/4 or 4/4. Next, we move on to the notations and clef.

Notations, Rests, and Octaves
The notations are written in the form of a ‘note’ (dot or hollowed dot) or a ‘rest’ (small rectangle). The notes G-B-D are the ones which are written over the lines. The note E is written on the bottom line. Consequentially, the notes F-A-C-E are the ones that do not overlap the lines, but are written between the lines. Now these notes, are modified according to time signatures such as a hollow dot, which means a note played for 2 measures.

Playing as You Read
The next step is the most difficult one, as it involves playing the music as you read the notes. My piano teacher told me a simple trick which made things a lot easier. He said, “imagine the notes and rests to be dots on a scalar graph”. Well it does help a lot in the initial stages till one masters the technique. This will take some time, hence you need to be very patient and dedicated.

Practice, dedication, and patience are the keys here. You need to feel the notes as you read them. Play as you read and feel what you play. While your brain registers the notes, let your heart feel their melody.

Piano Songs for Kids

Piano Songs for Kids

Here is an entire rundown of 100 piano tunes for children. Look at these tunes and begin showing your tyke one tune at once.

Music is a passion or rather the passion in many people’s lives. We see different people learning different instruments everywhere around us. The piano is one such musical instrument that everyone would love to learn. Even to just watch somebody play the piano, gives us immense pleasure and joy.

You can play the piano at parties, during romantic dinners, and for choirs even. Kids too, take up piano lessons at a very early age, and are exceptionally passionate about learning it. They want to learn all kinds of songs, right from country to classical. We have provided a list of 100 piano songs for kids that you can go through. These contain not only easy piano songs, but also love songs and other simple songs that your child would want to learn.

List of Songs

  • ABC Song
  • All through the night
  • Alouette
  • Amazing Grace
  • Angels We Have Heard On High
  • Animal Fair
  • Auld Lang Syne
  • Aura Lee
  • Away In a Manager
  • Ba Ba Black Sheep
  • Barcarolle
  • Bleeding Love
  • Blues Clues
  • Brahms’ Lullaby
  • Buffalo Gals
  • Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie
  • Camptown Races
  • Chosticks
  • Don’t Know Why
  • Dore The Explorer
  • Down In The Valley
  • Drank To Me Only With Thine Eyes
  • Draydl Song
  • Eensy Weensy Spider
  • Fantasie Impromptu
  • Flintstones
  • For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow
  • Frere Jacques
  • Go tell it on the mountain
  • Good King Wenceslas
  • Hark The Herald Angels Sing
  • Here Comes The Bride
  • Hey, Diddle, Diddle
  • Hit The Road Jack
  • How Much Is That Doggie In The Window
  • Hush Little Baby
  • I’m A Little Teapot
  • Indiana Jones
  • In The Gloaming
  • It’s Raining, It’s Pouring
  • Jingle Bells
  • Joy to the world
  • Kumbayah
  • Largo by dvorak
  • Lavender’s Blue
  • Lazy Mary
  • London Bridge
  • Mary Had a Little Lamb
  • Merry Widow Waltz
  • Michael Row The Boat Ashore
  • Mickey Mouse Club
  • My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean
  • My Heart Will Go On
  • O Christmas Tree
  • Oh Come All Ye Faithful
  • Oh Dear What Can The Matter Be
  • Oh Susanna
  • Old Folks At Home
  • Old King Cole
  • Old Macdonald Had A Farm
  • On Top Of Spaghetti
  • Over The River And Through The Woods
  • Pop Goes The Weasel
  • Right Here Waiting
  • Red River Valley
  • Rockabye Baby
  • Row Row Row You Boat
  • Scooby Doo
  • Shortening Bread
  • Silent Night
  • Spongebob
  • Star Wars
  • Sweet Betsy From Pike
  • Swing Low Sweet Chariot
  • Take Me Out To The Ballgame
  • The Bear Went Over The Mountain
  • The Emperor Waltz
  • The Farmer In the Dell
  • The First Noel
  • The Mulberry Bush
  • The Voice Within
  • The Wedding March
  • This Old Man
  • This Train
  • Three Blind Mice
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  • Umbrella
  • Up On the Housetop
  • Wallace And Gromit
  • We Three Kings
  • We Wish You A Merry Christmas
  • Wiggles
  • What a Wonderful World
  • Wheels On The Bus
  • When The Saints Go Marching In
  • Who Do You Think You Are?
  • Yellow
  • Yellow Submarine
  • You Are My Sunshine
  • You Light Up My Life

These piano songs are some of the most popular piano songs and are sure to keep your child busy for a few days. It is better to shift on to more complex tunes and songs, after having tried your hand at the songs mentioned above.

Ways to Move a Piano

Ways to Move a Piano

Moving any bit of furniture can be entirely troublesome however moving the place of a piano needs additional care in light of the fact that the majority of these musical instruments are legacy pieces which can get destroyed even by the smallest of fall.

Did you know that the piano that Liberace played on was custom made for him, weighed 1500 pounds and was approximately 12 feet long? Imagine the pain and effort that would have gone into moving an instrument of those gargantuan measurements. This is the reason why we believe that piano shifting is a task best left to professionals. The smallest of grand pianos which are approximately 55 inches long, weigh about 500 – 600 pounds. Large, upright pianos are about 60 inches high and always weigh more than 800 pounds. While these musical instruments are heavy, they are also extremely delicate and need quite a lot of care.

The Process

If you do not want to use professional help, then there are some things that you need to procure before actually moving the piano. You need to ensure that everyone wears work gloves, which will protect your hands from being scratched and also ensure that if your hands get slippery then the instrument does not slide. It is also important that you obtain plastic covers to wrap and pack the piano beforehand. This ensures that the surface does not get scratched or scuffed. Also try to obtain a dolly which will help you shift the piano with limited effort. While tempting, avoid rolling the instrument on the casters that they have as most casters are decorative and not for functional purposes, and may actually end up scuffing your flooring. Also please make sure that none of the people helping you in this Herculean task suffer from any back problems.

  • You need at least four people to be able to move a piano with as little effort as possible. Have two people at each end.
  • Before actually shifting it, ensure that the lid of the piano is put down and locked.
  • Place the instrument on the dolly that you have procured. This will ensure that the tuning of the piano is not affected and the music stays as rhythmic as ever. While doing this, remember to lift the piano and roll it smoothly. Also always hold on to the handle. This is very important.
  • Once your instrument is placed on the dolly, you can roll it to the place you need to shift it to. While doing this be careful while climbing over thresholds and doors.
  • If moving the instrument up a flight of stairs, the best way to do so is by using a big piece of ply as a temporary ramp.

It is still advisable to hire a professional as then there will be no fears of harming yourself or the piano. While hiring professional movers though, always ensure that they have insurance because you would want to ensure that any damages are covered. Also always ensure that they don’t remove the keyboard so that it will fit through small spaces.