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 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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