The “piano” means “soft” in Italian. The instrument’s name is actually short for “pianoforte” (soft-loud) which is short for “gravicembalo col piano e forte” (harpsichord with soft and loud). Calling it “piano” defeats the purpose of its original name that meant to depict its dynamic sound.
After a head injury, Derek Amato was diagnosed with Acquired Musical Savant Syndrome, and suddenly could play expert level piano. When asked during an interview to perform a simple song, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. He attempted, struggled, and gave up.
Today China is experiencing piano frenzy with an estimated 40m children now learning to play. The instrument is increasingly in vogue among China’s burgeoning middle classes, who have the money to splurge on steep lessons and expensive fixtures. For many, owning a Steinway is a status symbol.
During World War II, Steinway & Sons airdropped pianos with large parachutes and complete tuning instructions into the battle for the American troops. Called the Victory Vertical or G.I. Steinways, the pianos were to provide a bit of relaxation. The pianos came in olive, blue, and gray drab.
In 2006, some guys climbed Britain’s highest mountain and discovered a piano on top of it.
Renowned concert pianist Krystian Zimerman’s personal Steinway grand piano was confiscated when he landed in New York City to give a recital at Carnegie Hall. US customs destroyed his piano, claiming the glue smelled like explosives.
The first typewriter was called the “literary piano”.