The piano is considered to be the world’s most popular instrument. It is played not only in musical institutions and the homes of those who are privileged to own one, but also in places of business, educational, religious and residential institutions as well.
The piano, which initially can only be found exclusively in the courtly circles of the aristocratic society, found its way into the mainstream society and has played various roles as it becomes a part of its culture.
It has been at the center of almost every musical development in Western music since the last quarter of the 18th century. The greatest music ever conceived was written for the piano – Mozart’s 27 concertos, Beethoven’s sonatas, Schubert’s waltzes and impromptus, among many others considered to be classical music. Ragtime, jazz and pop music and even the cinema wouldn’t be what they are without the roles played by the piano on them.
It is, as one author puts it, the most expressive keyboard instrument yet devised. The piano has expressive powers such that it could imitate the effects of the orchestra as a whole or of the singers in an opera or a choir. But more than that, it could transport the rhetoric and drama of music-making in the opera house or church into the privacy of one’s home.
More than any other instrument, the piano became such a success not only due to its musical merits and uses but also on its acceptability as an item of furniture in homes ranging from modest ones to palaces. Almost the same care and ingenuity were taken to the making of its casing as to its mechanism.