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Keyboard Instruments The Many Functions Piano The piano became an orchestral instrument in the latter part of the 19 th century and has become extensively used since the 20 th century. The piano has been used in many ways: As the soloist in a concerto;

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keyboard instruments

Keyboard Instruments

The Many Functions

piano
Piano
  • The piano became an orchestral instrument in the latter part of the 19th century and has become extensively used since the 20th century.
  • The piano has been used in many ways:
    • As the soloist in a concerto;
    • As of performer of the obbligato part;
    • As a purely orchestral instrument;
    • As a percussion instrument;
    • As a filler, covering parts where players are lacking.
piano3
Piano
  • The range is from A0 to C8.
  • The piano has three pedals:
    • The damper pedal on the right -- when depressed it allows the strings to freely vibrate;
    • The una corda pedal is on the left -- it makes the piano softer by either moving the hammers closer to the strings (upright) or moving the hammers so they hit only one or two of the strings;
    • The sostenuto pedal is in the center -- it sustains pitches that are depressed at the time the pedal is put into action. It is not available on all pianos
piano4
Piano
  • Special effects include:
    • Prepared piano -- nails, screws, bolts, and glass or metal rods, wedged between the strings or placed on top;
    • Striking the strings with various beaters or sticks;
    • Plucking the strings with fingers;
    • Special instruments such as an upright or toy piano.
  • There are reference books describing techniques to prepare a piano. As always, check with a performer to see what is possible.
celesta
Celesta
  • The celesta is a steel-bar piano which sounds like a glockenspiel.
  • The written range is from C2 to C7, sounding an octave higher.
  • Melodic lines, chords, and arpeggios are very effective.
harpsichord
Harpsichord
  • Throughout the Baroque, it was a standard member of the continuo.
  • The harpsichord produces sound by plucking the strings when a key is depressed.
  • Because of the mechanism, and the lack of a metal frame like the piano, the dynamic range is limited.
  • Some instruments have two manuals and pedals which can couple the registrations to get a variety of sounds (more or less volume, lute stop, etc.).