• WordNet 3.6
    • n pianoforte a keyboard instrument that is played by depressing keys that cause hammers to strike tuned strings and produce sounds
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The word "piano" is really an abbreviation for the word "pianoforte."
    • n Pianoforte (Mus) A well-known musical instrument somewhat resembling the harpsichord, and consisting of a series of wires of graduated length, thickness, and tension, struck by hammers moved by keys.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n pianoforte A musical instrument of the percussive group, the tones being produced by blows of hammers upon stretched strings, and the hammers being operated from a keyboard. , Essentially, the pianoforte is a large dulcimer with a keyboard; but historically it replaced the clavichord and harpsichord, which were keyboard-instruments more akin to the harp than to the dulcimer. The dulcimer has been known in some form from the earliest historic times. Several attempts were made during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to combine a keyboard with it, perhaps the most important being the pantaleone of Hebenstreit. The chief esthetic motive to these attempts arose from the fact that the keyboard-instruments then known were nearly or entirely incapable of gradation in the loudness of their tone; hence the new instrument, when invented, was called a piano e forte, a fortepiano, or a pianoforte, because its main peculiarity was that its tone might be made either loud or soft at the player's will. The earliest manufacture of pianofortes of which there is certain record was by Bartolo-meo Cristofori of Padua, about 1710. Various improvements have been and are still being made in details, but the essential elements of the mechanism have not been radically changed. These elements are as follows
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Pianoforte pi-ä′no-fōr′tā generally shortened to Piano (pi-an′ō), a musical instrument furnished with wires struck by little hammers which are moved by keys, so as to produce both soft and strong sounds
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
It. piano, soft (fr. L. planus, even, smooth; see Plain (a.)) + It. forte, strong, fr. L. fortis,see Fort)
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
It., piano, soft—L. planus, plane, forte, strong—L. fortis, strong.


In literature:

His Variations for two pianofortes, op.
"Music: An Art and a Language" by Walter Raymond Spalding
He has had his pianoforte tuned, and actually proposes sending it up into one of these rooms for my use.
"Records of Later Life" by Frances Ann Kemble
I will call another day, and hear the pianoforte.
"The Complete Project Gutenberg Works of Jane Austen" by Jane Austen
Yet the decline of its popularity in comparison with the pianoforte may be accounted for on very rational grounds.
"Twentieth Century Inventions" by George Sutherland
I started up from the pianoforte.
"Weird Tales. Vol. I" by E. T. A. Hoffmann
A distinguished English amateur thus records his impressions of Chopin's style of pianoforte-playing compared with those of other masters.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 6, Slice 3" by Various
For the history of the clavicytherium considered as a forerunner of the pianoforte see PIANOFORTE.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 6, Slice 4" by Various
Some choirmasters imagine that practice with the organ or the pianoforte will cure flattening and uncertainty.
"The Boy's Voice" by J. Spencer Curwen
Your Spa doctor without a Spa is like Liszt or Herz without a pianoforte.
"Arthur O'Leary" by Charles James Lever
His voice, though not powerful, was clear and musical, and his touch on the pianoforte was perfect.
"Reminiscences, 1819-1899" by Julia Ward Howe

In poetry:

Oh, THOMSON GREEN was an auctioneer,
And made three hundred pounds a year;
And HARRIET HALE, most strange to say,
Gave pianoforte lessons at a sovereign a day.
"Thomson Green and Harriet Hale" by William Schwenck Gilbert
J--Downstairs and upstairs, every blessed minute,
There's each room with pianofortes in it.
How can I write with noises such as those?
And, being always discomposed, compose?
"Eclogue:Composed at Cannes, December 9th, 1867" by Edward Lear
Now, ever after dinnger, when the coffee-cups are brought,
Ahasuerus waileth o'er the grand pianoforte;
And, thanks to fair Cornelia, his fame hath waxen great,
And Ahasuerus Jenkins is a Power in the State!
"Army Headquarters" by Rudyard Kipling

In news:

1) Alessio Bax, piano, Oct 2, Dallas City Performance HallWinner of the prestigious Leeds Pianoforte Competition in 2000, the young Italian pianist has matured into one of the most probing and satisfying players of his generation.
The piano, or, to use its full name, pianoforte, earned its name because it can be played both quietly (piano) and loudly (forte).
RECITAL? PIANOFORTE CONCERT Kimberly Cann October 21 — Sunday at 3:00 pm $6 Museum Members.
Richard Egarr demonstrates pianoforte 's elegance with music and musings at Clarice Smith Center.
Richard Egarr demonstrates pianoforte's elegance with music and musings at Clarice Smith Center.