How Does a Piano Action Work?

piano action

The act is simple — striking a piano key — but the execution is complicated and vital. The piano action is responsible for seamlessly converting the simple key strike into the beautiful sounds that come from a quality piano. 

COMPLICATED AND PRECISE

Those are two good words to describe how the piano action works. To properly accomplish the process, all 8000+ parts of the piano action must be stable and work together perfectly. Even the smallest change in the position or size of any component part can hurt piano performance and the music produced will be less satisfying for the player and the listener.

THE BIG PICTURE

Let’s run through the chain of events to make beautiful piano music. When a key is pressed it raises the hammer to strike the string that is under a great deal of tension. The hammer causes the string to vibrate, and the energy is transferred to the soundboard through another component, the bridge. The soundboard is also mounted with tremendous tension much like the head of a drum. When the vibration or energy is received, the resonating vibrations of the soundboard create the beautiful tones that a listener hears. 

MAKING A GREAT SOUNDING PIANO IS COMPLEX

I’m not going to bore you with more details, but just know the piano action is much more complicated than our big picture description. For example, there’s also a device to make sure the hammer releases immediately. If it stays in contact with the string, it deadens the vibrations. There’s another device to allow rapid repetitions of the same note if the music calls for it. The point here is to emphasize just what a complex musical instrument the piano is.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU

SoCal Pianos want you to have at least this basic understanding of how the piano action works. Then, when you come into our showrooms in Ontario & Palm Desert, CA (appointment only at both locations) you will have a better idea of what you’re looking at. The quality and workmanship of the piano action is what differentiates a concert hall piano costing several thousand (approaching 6 figures) dollars and a piano more suitable for a beginner that a typical family can afford.

DETERMINING WHAT’S BEST FOR  YOU

When you are in our showrooms, we will be happy to show exactly how the piano action varies from model to model and work with you to determine which piano best meets your needs and budget. To learn more about the services available at our stores in Ontario & Palm Desert, CA (appointment only at both locations) be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.