The piano is an acoustic, stringed musical instrument invented in Italy by Bartolomeo Cristofori around the year 1700 , in which the strings are struck by wooden hammers that are coated with a softer materials. It is played using a keyboard, which is a row of keys that the performer presses down or strikes with the fingers and thumbs of both hands to cause the hammers to strike the strings.
The word piano is a shortened form of pianoforte, the Italian term indicating soft and loud respectively. In this context the term refers to the variations in volume produced in response to a pianist's touch or pressure on the keys: the greater the velocity of a key press, the greater the force of the hammer hitting the strings, and the louder the sound of the note produced and the stronger the attack.
Pianos are heavy and powerful, yet delicate instruments. They need regular tuning to keep them on correct pitch. The hammers of pianos are voiced to compensate for gradual hardening of the felt, and other parts also need periodic regulation. Pianos need regular maintenance to ensure the felt hammers and key mechanisms are functioning properly. Aged and worn pianos can be rebuilt or reconditioned by piano rebuilders. Strings eventually must be replaced. Often, by replacing a great number of their parts, and adjusting them, old instruments can perform as well as new pianos.