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How The Piano Works

Attention is often focused on piano components i.e. piano keys, the action , piano hammers, strings, soundboards and more when thinking about how the piano works and what the piano is supposed to do. In essence what interelated mechanisms of the piano eventually do is move air.

The modern piano is but a large mechanism made to move air in ways that only such a remarkable musical instrument can. The incredibly colorful sounds and dynamic range that a fine piano can affect upon surrounding air are the results of interrelationships of aged woods, fine woolen fibers and felts, high quality lacquers and varnishes tempered steel, copper windings and craftsmanship. The end game is in how those materials merge to move air in such a way as to relate to our eagar ears the passions of composers and the intentions of pianists.

The way in which pianist and these materials are able to move sound waves, and the energy with which they do so have to do with everything from the condition of woods, metals and felts within the piano, the abilities of a particular pianist to control and balance the piano mechansims and how well regulated and voiced a particular instrument may be.

The piano is something to play through. It is the medium between the pianist and air- which is soon colored with new energy produced by vibrating strings and a soundboard to transduce those pulses.

Among things we as technicians endeavor to do is adjust the mechanisms within the piano action for efficiency and best response to our touch, adjust the shape and densities of hammer felts for dynamics, and tune strings to harmonies that please us.

All together these efforts make what we call a beautiful sounding piano.