Parts of a Grand Piano


Parts Diagram of a Concert Grand Piano

concert grand piano parts diagram

The Top

The top of a grand piano is the lid that covers the soundboard and other components of the piano.

It is designed to be opened and closed to adjust the sound of the instrument, and can be raised or lowered to different positions to achieve different tonal qualities.

The top of a grand piano is typically made of the same material as the rim, which is usually a laminated hardwood such as maple or beech.

It is designed to be sturdy and durable enough to support the weight of the piano’s components, while also providing a smooth, attractive surface.

There are typically three sections to the top of a grand piano: the left and right sides, and the center.

The center section is the largest and usually has a hinge in the back, which allows it to be raised and lowered.

The left and right sections are smaller and can be raised and lowered independently of the center section.

When the top of a grand piano is fully opened, it can provide a more resonant and full-bodied sound, as the soundboard is allowed to vibrate more freely.

When the top is closed, the sound can be more focused and controlled, as the soundboard is partially muted.

The Backcheck

The backcheck is a small but important part of the action mechanism in a piano.

It is a small, spring-loaded device that is attached to the hammer shank, which is the part of the action that connects the hammer to the piano key.

Parts of a Grand Piano

When a key is pressed, the hammer is lifted and then released to strike the string. The backcheck serves to prevent the hammer from bouncing back and hitting the string again when the key is released.

When the hammer is lifted by the key, the backcheck lever is also lifted. As the hammer reaches the string, the backcheck lever is released, allowing a small felt pad or spring-loaded button to rest briefly on the back of the hammer.

When the key is released, the backcheck quickly engages with the hammer, stopping it from bouncing back and hitting the string again.

The backcheck serves an important function in allowing the piano to produce clear, distinct notes. Without the backcheck, the hammer would bounce back and hit the string repeatedly, creating a muddled and indistinct sound.

The backcheck also allows the pianist to play more quickly and accurately, since the hammers can be released more quickly without the risk of bouncing back and interfering with other notes.

The backcheck is a delicate part of the piano’s action mechanism, and can require adjustment or replacement over time to ensure that it is functioning properly.

A trained piano technician can inspect and adjust the backcheck as needed to ensure that the piano is producing clear, high-quality sound.

The Cast Iron Plate

The cast iron plate in a piano is a large, heavy metal frame that supports the string tension and provides the foundation for the piano’s soundboard and other components.

It is a key structural element of the piano and plays a crucial role in determining the instrument’s sound and overall quality.

The cast iron plate is typically made of gray iron or other alloys, and is formed by pouring molten metal into a sand mold.

The plate is then machined and finished to precise specifications, including holes for the tuning pins, mounting brackets for the soundboard and other components, and other features that support the piano’s action and sound.

The plate is designed to withstand the high tension of the piano’s strings, which can exert several tons of pressure on the plate.

Its weight and rigidity also help to distribute the string tension evenly across the soundboard, ensuring that the piano produces clear, resonant sound across all of its octaves.

The shape and design of the plate can vary depending on the manufacturer and the model of the piano.

Some plates are designed with decorative elements or intricate designs that add to the aesthetic appeal of the instrument, while others have a more minimalist or functional design.

The Rim

The rim on a grand piano is the large, curved outer structure that encloses the soundboard and supports the plate, strings, and other components of the piano.

It is typically made of laminated hardwood, which is strong and durable enough to support the weight of the piano’s components and withstand the high tension of the strings.

The rim is curved and shaped to enhance the sound produced by the piano. It is designed to reflect and amplify the sound produced by the soundboard, creating a rich, resonant tone.

The shape and construction of the rim also help to protect the soundboard and other delicate components of the piano, such as the plate and tuning pins, from damage and wear.

The rim is typically made up of multiple layers of wood, each layer being bent and glued together to create the desired shape and strength.

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The number of layers and the specific type of wood used can vary depending on the manufacturer and the model of the piano.

The rim is an important structural component of the piano, providing stability and support for the piano’s components and allowing the piano to withstand the high tension of the strings and the force of the hammers striking them.

The Tuning Pin

The tuning pins are small, cylindrical metal pins that are used to adjust the tension of the strings in a piano. Each string in the piano is attached to a tuning pin at one end, and wound around a hitch pin or agraffe at the other end.

By turning the tuning pin with a tuning hammer, the tension of the string can be increased or decreased, allowing the pitch of the string to be adjusted.

Parts of a Grand Piano

Tuning pins are inserted into the pinblock, a wooden block located at the front of the piano, just above the keyboard.

The pinblock is made of a dense, hardwood material, and is designed to hold the tuning pins tightly in place so that they do not slip or move around as the strings are tuned.

Because the pitch of the strings can be affected by changes in temperature and humidity, pianos need to be tuned regularly, and the tuning pins must be securely held in place to ensure that the piano stays in tune.

The Knuckle

The knuckle refers to the point where the hammer shank and the whippen meet.

The whippen is a lever that is connected to the piano key and transfers the motion of the key to the hammer shank. The knuckle is a small, but important, joint between these two components.

The knuckle is designed to allow the hammer shank to move freely and smoothly as it is lifted and released by the whippen.

It is usually made of a combination of felt and leather, and is shaped to provide a snug fit between the hammer shank and whippen.

The knuckle also helps to cushion the impact of the hammer as it strikes the string, protecting both the hammer and the string from damage.

Because the knuckle is such an important part of the piano’s action mechanism, it must be carefully crafted and maintained to ensure that it is functioning properly.

Over time, the felt and leather materials can wear down or become compressed, which can affect the action of the piano.

If the knuckles become too worn or damaged, they may need to be replaced or repaired by a skilled piano technician.

Overall, the knuckle is a small but crucial part of the piano’s action mechanism, and plays a key role in producing the clear, precise sound that is characteristic of the instrument.

The Sounding Board

A piano soundboard is a large, thin wooden board that is located on the underside of the piano’s strings. It is typically made of spruce or another resonant wood that is chosen for its ability to vibrate and amplify sound.

The soundboard acts as a resonator, taking the vibrations from the piano’s strings and amplifying them to create the rich, full-bodied sound that is characteristic of the piano.

The soundboard is curved in shape, with the curve running parallel to the length of the strings.

The curve of the soundboard is carefully designed to create a specific tonal quality, with higher notes produced near the front of the soundboard, and lower notes produced towards the back.

To create a clear, resonant sound, the soundboard must be kept free of cracks or other damage that could affect its ability to vibrate.

Humidity and temperature changes can also affect the soundboard’s ability to resonate, which is why it is important to keep the piano in a stable environment to maintain its sound quality.

In addition to its role in amplifying sound, the soundboard also plays a critical role in distributing the vibrations of the strings across the entire soundboard. This helps to ensure that the sound produced by the piano is balanced and even across all the notes.

The Underlever

The underlever in a piano is a part of the piano’s action mechanism, which transfers the motion of the keys to the hammers that strike the strings.

It is a thin, flat metal lever that is connected to the piano key and the whippen, a lever that transmits the motion from the key to the hammer.

The underlever is located beneath the key and serves to transmit the motion of the key to the whippen.

When the key is pressed down, the underlever pivots and lifts the whippen, which in turn lifts the hammer towards the strings.

When the key is released, the underlever returns to its original position, allowing the hammer to drop back down and away from the strings.

The underlever is a critical part of the piano’s action mechanism, and must be precisely crafted and adjusted to ensure that it is functioning properly.

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The length and curvature of the underlever must be carefully designed to achieve the correct angle and velocity of motion as the key is pressed, allowing the hammer to strike the string with the right force and timing.

Over time, the underlever, like other parts of the piano action, can become worn or damaged, affecting the responsiveness and tone of the piano.

The Hammer

The hammer in a piano is a felt-covered component that is responsible for striking the strings and producing sound.

When a key on the piano is pressed, the corresponding hammer is lifted towards the strings by the action mechanism, and then falls back down to strike the strings with the force and velocity determined by the velocity of the key press.

The hammer consists of several parts, including a wooden shank, a wooden molding, and a felt hammer head. The wooden shank is attached to the action mechanism and the molding, which is shaped like a mushroom, supports the felt head.

The felt head is made of layers of high-quality felt that are compressed and shaped into a specific size and density, which determines the tone and character of the sound produced.

The felt hammer head is a crucial part of the hammer and is carefully crafted and shaped to produce the best possible sound.

The felt must be selected and processed to the correct density and consistency, and the shape and profile of the hammer must be precisely engineered to produce the correct amount of force and velocity as it strikes the strings.

The hammer is one of the most important components of the piano, as it is responsible for producing the sound that is heard when a key is pressed.

It is also one of the most vulnerable parts of the instrument, and can wear down over time with use.

The Capstan Screw

The capstan screw is a part of the piano action mechanism that is responsible for regulating the motion and distance traveled by the piano hammer when it is struck by a key.

The capstan screw is a small, threaded metal rod that is located at the back of the key.

When a key is pressed, the capstan screw is raised, pushing against the flange of the whippen, which in turn raises the hammer.

The height of the capstan screw determines the amount of motion that the hammer undergoes, and thus affects the force and velocity with which the hammer strikes the strings.

The capstan screw is adjusted during the process of piano regulation, which is a series of adjustments and fine-tuning performed by a skilled piano technician to optimize the playability and sound of the instrument.

During regulation, the technician will adjust the height of the capstan screw to achieve the correct amount of motion and velocity for each individual key, ensuring a consistent and balanced sound across the piano’s entire range.

The Wrestplank

The wrestplank is an important structural component in a piano, and is also known as the pinblock or tuning block.

It is a thick wooden plank, typically made of hard rock maple, that is located at the back of the piano’s case, above the soundboard.

The wrestplank serves as the anchor point for the tuning pins, which hold the piano strings in place and are used to adjust the tension and pitch of the strings.

The wrestplank is typically made of several layers of hardwood that are glued together, creating a dense and stable material that can withstand the tremendous tension exerted by the piano strings.

The tuning pins are inserted through the wrestplank and into the laminated pinblock, which is located just behind the wrestplank. The pinblock is made of a softer wood, such as beech or white pine, and provides a secure grip for the tuning pins.

Together, the wrestplank and pinblock form a sturdy and stable structure that can withstand the high tension of the piano strings, and are critical to maintaining the instrument’s tuning stability over time.

The wrestplank is an essential component of the piano, and must be carefully crafted and installed to ensure the best possible sound and performance from the instrument.

The quality of the wrestplank can have a significant impact on the tone and overall sound quality of the piano, and it is important to use high-quality materials and craftsmanship in its construction.

The Key

A grand piano key is a component of the piano’s action mechanism that is responsible for producing sound when played. The keys are the primary interface between the pianist and the instrument, and are pressed by the fingers to create musical notes.

Each key on a grand piano consists of several parts, including the key stick, key bushing, key lever, and key cap. The key stick is the long wooden part that extends from the front of the piano towards the back, and is where the pianist places their fingers to play the note.

The key bushing is a felt or cloth lining that surrounds the key stick and provides a smooth and quiet surface for the key to move up and down. The key lever is attached to the key stick and is responsible for transmitting the motion of the key to the rest of the action mechanism.

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When a key is pressed, the key lever pushes against the jack, which in turn pushes the hammer towards the strings. The key cap is the visible part of the key that is visible above the keyboard, and can be made of a variety of materials, such as plastic or ivory.

The Damper

The damper is a component of the piano’s action mechanism that is responsible for stopping the vibration of the strings after a key has been released.

The damper system is critical to the overall sound and tone quality of the instrument, and allows for precise control over the sustain and decay of notes.

The dampers in a grand piano are located above the strings, and consist of small felt-covered blocks called damper heads that are attached to thin metal wires or “damper wires”.

When a key is pressed, the corresponding damper wire is lifted, allowing the damper head to be lifted off the string and allowing it to vibrate freely.

When the key is released, the damper wire drops back down, causing the damper head to return to its position and stop the vibration of the string.

The damper system in a grand piano is controlled by the damper pedal, which is located to the right of the piano’s keyboard.

When the pedal is pressed down, all of the dampers are lifted off the strings, allowing them to vibrate freely and creating a sustained, resonant sound.

When the pedal is released, the dampers return to their original position, stopping the vibration of the strings and creating a shorter, more muted sound.

The quality and responsiveness of the damper system is critical to the sound and performance of the piano, and must be carefully adjusted and maintained to ensure the best possible sound quality.

The damper system can be adjusted through a process called regulation, which is performed by a skilled piano technician to optimize the playability and performance of the instrument.

The Pedals

A grand piano typically has three pedals, located at the base of the instrument:

  1. The sustain pedal: also known as the damper pedal, is the rightmost pedal on the piano. When the pedal is pressed, it lifts all the dampers from the strings, allowing them to vibrate freely and sustain their sound even after the keys have been released. The sustain pedal is used to create a richer and fuller sound, as well as to create a sense of legato and connect notes smoothly.
  2. The soft pedal: also known as the una corda pedal, is the leftmost pedal on the piano. When the pedal is pressed, the action mechanism shifts so that the hammers strike only one or two strings instead of three for each note. This creates a softer and more muted sound. On a modern grand piano, the soft pedal shifts the entire action assembly slightly to the right, so that the hammers strike a different part of the strings.
  3. The sostenuto pedal: is the middle pedal, located between the other two. This pedal is used less frequently than the others, and is primarily used in contemporary music. When the sostenuto pedal is pressed, it sustains only the notes that are being played at the time, allowing the pianist to sustain certain notes while others do not continue to ring. This is accomplished through a special mechanism that holds the dampers for the selected notes off the strings, while allowing the other notes to be damped normally.

Overview of the Main Parts of a Grand Piano

A grand piano is a large, acoustic piano with horizontal strings and a distinctive sound. It consists of several key parts, including:

  1. The frame: Also called the plate or harp, the frame is the backbone of the piano, supporting the strings and providing structural stability.
  2. The soundboard: This is a large, thin wooden board that amplifies the vibrations of the strings and gives the piano its characteristic sound.
  3. The strings: These are the thin, metal wires that produce the sound when struck by the hammers. Each key has one or more strings associated with it, with the bass notes having the longest strings.
  4. The action: This is the mechanical system that translates the motion of the keys into the striking of the strings by the hammers. It includes various components such as the hammers, dampers, keys, and pedals.
  5. The pedals: Grand pianos typically have three pedals, including the sustain pedal, the soft pedal, and the una corda pedal. The sustain pedal lifts all the dampers off the strings, creating a sustained sound. The soft pedal reduces the volume and the una corda pedal shifts the hammers slightly to strike only one or two strings instead of all three, creating a softer sound.
  6. The keys: The keys are the part of the piano that the pianist presses to create sound. There are 88 keys on a standard grand piano, with 52 white keys and 36 black keys.
  7. The lid: The lid of the grand piano can be opened and closed to control the volume and tone of the sound produced. It can be fully closed for a more muted sound or fully open for a louder and more resonant sound.

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