Behind the Scenes – Grand Designs

From Story Act 2, 2017

The piano is a complex instrument. Under its lid, a grand piano houses more than 7,000 parts – including keys, strings, hammers and pedals – that contribute to the rich and unique sound of the instrument.

The piano is both string instrument, because sound is made with strings, and also a percussion instrument, because the strings makes sounds when a hammer hits them. There are more than 200 strings in a grand piano, the tension of which correlates to the pitch. The tension in a concert grand is close to 30 tons.

In the 1930s, an official international standard tuning for orchestras was established which is A=440 Hertz (or cycles per second). These days, many orchestras and ensembles tend to deviate from this standard, playing at a higher pitch. QPAC has six grand pianos tuned between 440 and 442, and stored side stage of the Concert Hall. Visiting pianists select the piano they wish to use in a performance based on its tone and tuning. All of QPAC’s 9-foot concert grands are Hamburg Steinways, so named as they were built in the Hamburg factory of Steinway & Sons.

 Image Credit: Sam Worboys

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