More on how a piano works:
When a piano key is pressed, a hammer flies up and strikes the strings tuned to produce the corresponding note, then falls away from the strings quickly so as not to stop their vibration. The mechanical action allowing the hammer to drop instantly away from the strings is called the escapement. If a hammer remained in contact with the strings, it would produce a “clunk” sound instead of a sustained musical tone. Modern piano hammers are made of wood covered with thick, tightly compacted felt. The size of the hammers increases steadily from treble to bass. If a piano is played so much that the felt becomes extremely tightly compacted from striking the strings, the piano may produce an unpleasant, harsh tone. The tuner can voice the hammers by loosening the felt fibers a bit with special needles so the tone becomes mellower.
“High” and “low” pitch are not to be confused with “high” and “low” volume, which is loudness.
High pitch is like a mouse’s squeak; low pitch is like thunder rumbling.
The vibration of a piano’s strings alone would be too quiet to be heard; their sound must be amplified. Piano strings, like those of a violin or a guitar, press down on a bridge which conducts their vibration to the large, thin piece of wood called the soundboard. Wooden ribs glued across the board, underneath, help spread the strings’ vibration throughout its mass. While a crack in a violin body is a very serious matter, a crack in a piano’s soundboard can be repaired easily, without losing any of the piano’s tone quality, and without “major surgery”. Often, cracks in a piano’s soundboard are of no musical consequence, and should be left alone. Maintaining proper humidity during the winter heating season helps to prevent cracks from occurring.
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