Guide to Pianos
The piano is a highly versatile musical instrument played on a keyboard. The piano's sound is emitted as the keys catapult a hammer to strike a steel string with a unique frequency the resulting vibration is what causes the music.
The word piano is a short form of the Italian 'pianoforte'. A modern piano may range in form from a grand piano to a simple keyboard.
Piano.com: Piano.com is a comprehensive database of the world's leading pianists, their biographies, resources to learn how to play the piano, piano-related associations and clubs, piano dealers and listings of shops to buy piano-related accessories.
History of Pianos
The first piano is thought to have been built around the 1700s by Italian instrument maker Bartolomeo Cristofori. However the history of music notation which led to the piano started much earlier.
Piano Tuners: Piano Tuners.org starts tracing the history of the piano from 800AC. They also offer a forum where you can discuss the history of your piano or ask experts to appraise it.
Piano Technicians Guild: The Piano Technicians Guild (PTG) is a comprehensive resource for piano servicing and technology. They offer information on the history of pianos, resources on buying a piano, and tutorials for playing the piano.
Piano Collection: The Frederick Piano Collection provides images and data about some of the world's oldest pianos, their history, date of manufacture and city in which they were built.
Pianofortes History: The Metropolitan Museum of Art provides an in-depth look at the history of the first piano and the circumstances under which it was constructed. The Met also houses one of the first pianos made by Cristofori that survived into the modern day.
Piano History: This site contains sections on the ancestry of the piano, as well as the parentage, technical history and marketing history of this instrument. Perhaps the site's piece de resistance are the videos on how pianos are made a must watch!
Concert Pitch Pianos: The site of Concert Pitch Piano paints a vivid story of the history of the piano and provides piano tuning facts, regulation and piano care tips.
The Pianola Institute: The aim of the Pianola Institute is to bring piano players into the spotlight by organizing concerts, recordings, exhibitions and piano studying facilities. Their website contains in-depth sections on the history of pianos and reproducing pianos from 1843-1939.
Famous Piano Pieces and Players
Piano composers have left their mark on music and its evolution by composing brilliant pieces of classical piano literature which are used and listened to with great rapture even today. Franz Listz is credited with inventing the piano recital, while Beethoven is credited with introducing the orchestral choir as an integral part of a symphony. More modern piano composers include the likes of Ray Charles, Billy Joel and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Famous Composers: Oracle's Think Quest website has put together a searchable database of notable composers from Franz Liszt to Benjamin Britten. You can search for composers according to name, country or period they composed in. You will also learn about each composer's influences, playing style, and inspirations.
Presto Classical: This site features a composer index of 60 famous composers, their short biographies, major works, releases, compositions available on CDs, DVDs and Blu-Rays, as well as sheet music for each.
Kickass Classical: This site, as the name suggests, features the top 100 outstanding classical compositions. Not only can you download the compositions to iTunes you can also listen to a preview or order them on Amazon. The site also offers a quirky keyword that describes each composition, e.g. 'rousing' for Beethoven's Symphony #5. Composers on the site are similarly grouped, with a short bio and a 'listen' button for each composer's most famous piano piece.
Piano Lessons for Beginners and Intermediate Players
Piano lessons are a frequent favourite for kids and parents of young kids. However before starting piano lessons, you need to understand that playing the piano, like any other instrument requires commitment, consistency and constant practice.
Piano Education: Pianoeducation.org has a great section on how parents can be supportive of their kids who are learning to play the piano. The site also has a lot of information on how much pianos and lessons typically cost, what your expectations should be, how to choose a tutor or school, and why you should consider a private piano tutor.
Piano Lessons: This site offers free online piano lessons. Once you subscribe by providing your email address, you can get access to tutorials on how to play the piano by ear, lessons for beginners, how to play the jazz piano and more. Click on the Music Resources button for access to more incredible piano links and websites.
Free Piano Sheet Music: This is a great site for free resources on piano lessons, free sheet music, popular piano riffs and how to play them, a space for members to upload their piano playing files, and a funky 'groove generator' which enables you to create interesting chord patterns using your own creativity.
Music Education: About.com's Music Education section has some great links for kids learning to play the piano. Most of the lessons and tutorials listed here are free and some can be downloaded as PDF files. There is even a resource which specializes in teaching piano to toddlers.
Go Piano: Go Piano offers 223 piano lessons plans taking you from the beginner level all the way to advanced playing. The lessons are self-paced, interactive and completely free.
Buying a Piano
While your first piano as a beginner may be a simple keyboard, as you advance, you will eventually need an acoustic (traditional) piano to practice and play on. It's also a good idea to buy a piano with the help of your piano teacher so you can benefit from their expertise.
Piano Reviews: Piano Reviews is a site which attempts to provide the beginner and intermediate piano player with reviews of pianos, their pricing information and pictures. It is updated monthly and each month's review features a star-rating according to consumer reviews.
Piano Buyer: The Piano Buyer is a magazine for professionals; it proclaims itself as 'The Definitive Piano Buying Guide for Buying New, Used, or Restored Acoustic Pianos and Digital Pianos'. Each issue features articles for beginners, and a reference guide to piano brands, pricing, models and specifications.
New & Secondhand Pianos
Piano Tuning & Repairs