adverb or adjective \pē-ˈä-(ˌ)nō\

music : quietly or softly

Full Definition of PIANO

:  at a soft volume :  soft —used as a direction in music

Origin of PIANO

Italian, from Late Latin planus smooth, from Latin, level — more at floor
First Known Use: 1683

Other Music Terms

cacophony, chorister, concerto, counterpoint, madrigal, obbligato, presto, presto, refrain, riff, segue


noun \pē-ˈa-(ˌ)nō also -ˈä-\

: a large musical instrument with a keyboard that you play by pressing black and white keys and that produces sound when small hammers inside the piano hit steel wires

plural pianos

Full Definition of PIANO

:  a musical instrument having steel wire strings that sound when struck by felt-covered hammers operated from a keyboard

Examples of PIANO

  1. Do you play the piano?
  2. He takes piano lessons on Wednesdays.

Origin of PIANO

Italian, short for pianoforte, from gravicembalo col piano e forte, literally, harpsichord with soft and loud; from the fact that its tones could be varied in loudness
First Known Use: 1803

Other Music Terms

cacophony, chorister, concerto, counterpoint, madrigal, obbligato, presto, presto, refrain, riff, segue


biographical name \pē-ˈä-(ˌ)nō\

Definition of PIANO

Renzo 1937– Ital. architect


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Each key of a piano actuates a complex mechanical system to strike a taut string and produce a …—© Merriam-Webster Inc.

Keyboard instrument with wire strings that sound when struck by hammers operated by a keyboard. It was invented in Florence by Bartolomeo Cristofori before 1720, with the particular aim of permitting note-to-note dynamic variation (lacking in the harpsichord). It differs from the older clavichord in that its hammers (rather than tangents) are thrown at the strings and bounce back, permitting the struck string to vibrate loudly. A cast-iron frame is needed to withstand the strings' tremendous tension. Pianos have taken various shapes. The original harpsichord (or wing) shape has survived in the modern grand piano; the less-expensive square (actually rectangular) piano, standard in the early 19th century, was replaced by the upright piano, in which the strings are vertical. For at least 150 years the piano was the most important instrument in Western music.

Variants of PIANO

piano or pianoforte


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