Wikipedia: Piano is a common
abbreviation for pianoforte, a musical instrument with a keyboard (see keyboard
instrument). Its sound is produced by strings stretched on a rigid frame. These
vibrate when struck by felt-covered hammers, which are activated by the
keyboard. The word pianoforte is from the Italian for soft-loud, referring to
the ability of the piano to play notes at many volumes.
As a keyboard stringed instrument, the piano is similar to the clavichord and
harpsichord. The three instruments differ in the mechanism of sound production.
In a harpsichord, strings are plucked by quills or similar material. In the
clavichord, strings are struck by tangents which remain in contact with the
string. In a piano, the strings are struck by hammers which immediately rebound,
leaving the string to vibrate freely.
"The Rhodes electric piano could arguably be the most important instrument to
come along in the 20th century. Before the synthesizer was actually available
and became an active member of the music world, the Rhodes had become a standard
in jazz, pop, rock and R&B." -- George Duke
"On live gigs, when there was a Steinway grand piano available, Chick Corea
would try to sneak it in somewhere, but Miles would stop him saying, 'The piano
is over. It's an old-fashioned instrument. I don't want to hear it any more. It
belongs to Beethoven. It's not a contemporary instrument." -- Ian Carr, author
of Miles Davis