Glossary 2

Action-All of the linkage between the key and the hammer striking the string. Traditionally made of hardwood, plastics are used in some Yamaha’s and Kawai’s. Agraffe-Brass piece that spaces and frets off springs. Usually found in grands; screws into the plate. Aliquot-Steel-bearing piece that frets off treble strings in some grands. Aluminum extrusions-Shaped bar stock … Read more


Una-corda. Meaning “one string,” this stop adjusts the position of the keyboard and action sideways, so that the hammer heads miss one of the trichord and bichord strings. More commonly employed on grand pianos, it is operated by the left pedal. Under-damper. A type of upright piano action where the damper operates below the hammer … Read more

Short Octave

Set-off button [escapement button, set-off screw]. A regulating button that controls the moment (the ‘set-off’) at which a jack or hopper is made to disengage from the hammer when a key is depressed. Shaping. Process of filing hammers into a proper shape to reduce the best and most consistent tone. Sharp key. Accidental raised keys … Read more

Rebuilt Piano

Querflugel [Querpianoforte] (Ger.). A small horizontal piano, usually wing-shaped with the keyboard placed at an acute angle to the spine. The wrest pins are positioned behind the keyboard as in a grand but with the strings running diagonally to the right. The type is found from at least the 1780s. Rebuilt piano. A used piano … Read more

Piano Attachment

Piano a coda (It.). GRAND PIANOFORTE. Piano a prolongement (Fr.). A piano in which sustained sounds could be produced by the simultaneous vibration of free reeds set in motion when the strings were struck in the usual way by hammers. It was made in Paris by Alexandre in the 19th century. (See also SOSTENUTO PIANO.) … Read more


Minipiano. A very small upright with a ‘drop’action (with the mechanism placed below the level of the keyboard), first produced in England in 1934. Medium-density fiberboard (MDF). High quality, fine grained, particle board frequently used in upright piano cabinets. It is chosen for its stability and flatness under veneers. Model number. Descriptive combination of numbers … Read more

In tune

In regulation. Regulation is a process in which a technician makes a dozen or so critical adjustment to each of the 88 key mechanisms. The goal is to bring each key mechanism to factory specification and to have all the key mechanisms consistent with each other. When this process has been completed satisfactorily the piano … Read more

Gap spacer

Gabel-Harmon-Pianoforte. A piano patented by Matthias Muller in 1827 in which one of the unison strings of each note is replaced by a tuning fork. Gap spacer. Any structural member crossing the gap between the wrest plank and the rest of the piano frame, common before the introduction of full-length iron bracing. German action. See … Read more

Ear training

Ear training. A term given to the aspects of beginning piano lessons that focus on teaching aural aspects of learning the pitches or sounds of the notes, how they relate to each other, and how to regulate volume at the keyboard. Electrophonic piano. A piano in which electro-magnets, replacing the soundboard, pick up the vibrations … Read more

Cabinet piano

Cabinet. The outside of the piano; the part you see when the piano is closed. Cabinet piano. A type of upright piano developed by Muller (in Vienna) and Hawkins (London and Philadelphia) in 1800. The case was placed on the floor and the strings passed down vertically behind the action, with the striking point at … Read more


Action. A collection of levers, primarily consisting if the hammers, dampers, and all other moving parts and supporting rails found above the keyboard. Agraffe. A brass string guide with a bridge that spaces and levels the string. Aliquot. Steel-bearing piece that frets off treble strings in some grands. Aliquot scaling. A system of stringing in … Read more