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 and letters unique to its manufacturer that usually denotes the size, cabinet style, and finish of the instrument. Often, a model with three numbers represents the centimeters of height or length of the piano. (Example: Model 122 often means the piano is 122 cm tall, or 48″.)

Moderator. A stop that places a thin strip of celeste felt between the hammers and the strings to soften the volume. Operated by the middle pedal on most upright piano’s, it can also be called the celeste or practice pedal.

Music desk. Shelf that holds the music rack.

Musical instrument digital interface (MIDI). Standardized computer connections that enable synchronized communication between computers and digital pianos.

Nachttisch (Ger.: ‘night table’). A small version of the square piano.

Nail-down. A term given to an instrument that is placed on the sales floor, not to be sold, but to sell off of.

Natural keys. A lower set of keys that equate to notes C to B including the accidental keys. Traditionally covered with ivory, they are now made from celluloid or plastic.

Nut [wrest-plank bridge]. The bridge normally positioned nearest the wrest pins and opposite the soundboard bridge.

Octave. The interval between one musical pitch and another with half or double its frequency.

Orphica. A portable piano, designed for outdoor use, patented in 1795 by K. L. Rollig. It could be played either resting on the player’s lap or strapped around his neck.

Over-damper. An upright piano action in which the damper operates above the hammer head.

Overspun string. A metal string that has a thin ductile wire wound around it, so as to increase its mass while avoiding the loss of flexibility found in a plain wire of the same mass. The bass strings of a piano is overspun with copper wire.

Overstrung. A term applied to a piano in which the strings are arranged in two nearly parallel planes, with the bass strings passing diagonally over those of the middle range.

Pedal. A foot operated device that either activates a particular component of the piano action or modifies its mode of operation so as to alter the tone-colour or volume and produce expressive effects. 18th and early 19th-century pianos often had a variety of pedals and hand stops, but on modern instruments there are usually only two or three. See SOSTENUTO PEDAL, SUSTAINING PEDAL , UNA CORDA.

Pedal-board. A keyboard played by the feet, connected either to the strings of the manual keyboard or to a separate soundboard and strings attached to the underside of the instrument.

Pedalier. (1) A pedal keyboard attached to a piano and capable of activating its hammers. (2) An independent PEDAL PIANOFORTE made by Pleyel, WOlff & Cie, to be placed underneath an ordinary grand piano.

Pedal pianoforte. A piano with a pedal-board like that of an organ. Three types of 18th-century pedal pianos are known. An instrument by Johann Schmidt (in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) has pedal-operated hammers which strike the same strings as those struck by the manual hammers; another has a separate soundboards and strings attached to the underside of the instrument. The third type has an independent pedal piano placed under a grand piano; no 18th-century for example is known, but such instruments became the standard type in the 19th century (an instrument, c1815, by Brodmann is in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna).

Phrasing. A small section of music in a larger piece.

Pianette. A very low pianino, or upright piano, introduced by Bord in 1857.

Pianino (It.: ‘small piano’). A small upright, originally designed by Pape and introduced by the Pleyel firm; it is the continental equivalent of the COTTAGE PIANO.

Piano. A volume descriptor for soft play.

Piano a claviers renverses [Piano Mangeot] (Fr.). A double grand piano, originally designed by Jozef Wieniawski and patented by E. J. Mangeot in 1876, with two keyboards, one above the other; the ascending scale of the upper one ran from right to left.


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