Searching for “piano lessons Toronto?” You’re in the right place! At Greater Toronto Music School, we offer fun, engaging lessons for students of all ages and skill levels. Whether you need piano classes for your child or want to brush up on your own skills, we’re here to help.
At Greater Toronto Music School, we don’t think mindless, mechanical practice is enough. We also nurture a deep understanding and appreciation for the instruments we teach. With this in mind, let’s dive into one of music’s most incredible instruments – the piano.
In this post, we’ll be covering 10 things you didn’t know about this sensational musical tool.
1 – Pianos Used to be Called Pianoforte
If you’ve got even a rudimentary grasp of music theory, you’ll likely have encountered these two terms before – piano and forte, meaning “to be performed softly” and “loud” respectively.
Pianos emerged from a musical landscape that looked very different to the range of dynamics and pitches that we enjoy today. The piano’s predecessor, the harpsichord, didn’t offer a dynamic range at all – you got one volume level and that was that!
This is what made the piano so groundbreaking. An integral part of the orchestra could now fly from the softest lows to the loudest highs – hence the name pianoforte. This was later shortened to just “piano.”
2 – Percussion Meets String
When first starting piano lessons, many newcomers are unaware of how the piano actually produces its beautiful tones. The answer is a series of precisely tuned strings that are held at a high tension. Each time you hit a key on a piano, this triggers a felted hammer that strikes a corresponding string to produce the right note.
This situates the piano somewhere between the string quartet and the percussive elements of the orchestra. What do you think? Is it a percussion instrument or a string instrument?
3 – The Number of Keys Can Really Vary
So, how many keys does a piano have? The answer – as with most things in life – is that it depends. Most pianos these days have a total of 88 keys (52 white keys and 36 black keys), but this can change if you’re playing a grand or an electric piano.
If you’re lucky enough to be playing on a model 290, for example, you’ll be dealing with a total of 97 keys. Some electronic pianos have a smaller range of 66 keys. When exam time comes around, it’s important to make sure you’ve been practicing on a piano with the right range for your pieces!
4 – Ivory Keys Used to be all the Rage
Ever heard the expression “tickle the ivories?” The roots of this expression can be found in piano playing. Not that long ago, it was common for piano keys to be plated with elephant ivory for a signature look and luxurious feel.
As international disdain for poaching and the sale of ivory grew, the practice faded into relative obscurity. Today, most modern piano keys are made from cheaper plastics or a synthetic, imitation ivory known as “ivorite.”
5 – The “King” of Musical Instruments
In many circles, the piano is referred to as the “King of musical instruments.” There are myriad reasons for this. We cover the basics below.
The following makes the piano a formidable instrument for both solos and orchestral playing:
The piano’s range starts at the lowest it’s possible to play on a double-bassoon and moves all the way up to the highest note achievable by the piccolo – that’s the entire range of most orchestras!
It’s possible to play both the melody and its accompaniment simultaneously on the piano.
As mentioned earlier, the dynamic range of the piano is really quite something. You can jump from ppp to fff with ease.
Don’t let all this inflate your ego if you’re a piano player!
6 – Things Can Get a Little Tense
In order to produce its beautiful tones, the piano needs strings that are held at a very high tension. How high? Around 170 pounds of tension per string! This amounts to a total tension of approximately 20 tonnes per piano.
7 – 1709 Was the Year of the First Ever Piano
We mentioned the harpsichord and its connection to the piano earlier but it’s worth revisiting. The world’s first ever piano was created in 1709 by Bartolomeo di Francesco Cristofori, a harpsichord maker in Italy.
It was designed to offer something brand-new in the world of harpsichords – a dynamic range. Bartolomeo called it the gravicèmbalo col piano e forte or “harpsichord with loud and soft” in Italian.
This was later dubbed “fortepiano” and finally “piano” as we know it today.
8 – Black and White Tones
In your first ever piano lessons, you’ll learn that the white keys play the “pure” musical notes (C,D,E,F,G,A,B) and the black keys play their interval tones (the sharps/flats). In a way, you’re only ever dealing with 12 notes when you play the piano. Each set of keys is simply a repetition of these 12 notes in a higher or lower octave.
9 – The World’s Largest Piano Has Five-Meter-Long Strings!
If you’ve never seen the world’s largest piano before, we strongly recommend taking a look. You need to climb a flight of stairs just to be able to play it! It was designed by the German inventor David Klavins and has strings that are five meters long.
10 – It Takes 10-15 Years to Master the Piano
This of course depends on your aptitude and level of practice, but mastering the piano can take a huge amount of dedication. Complete mastery can take as long as 15 years. However, reaching a level of competency where you can love what you’re doing can take significantly less time than this.
That’s where we come in. If you’re looking for piano lessons in Toronto, get in touch today.
Piano Classes Toronto – What We Offer
Stop searching for “piano lessons near me” and rely on the experts in your area. At a glance, we offer the following:
Expert instructors with patience and drive.
Super flexible scheduling.
We accept all ages and experience levels.
Online and in-person options.
Plenty of performance opportunities.
Piano Lessons Toronto – Get Started Today
Join our growing community of learners who enjoy incredible piano classes in Toronto and the Greater Toronto area.