Piano-Forte

green_fenced-evergreens_2012-07-30

2016-12-22 – I am on vacation, starting today, for the rest of the year. Actually, it is a staycation. I do this every year. I try to use the time to get a little writing done.

Today I took my son Cal to the Guitar Center. We weren’t really looking to buy something as much as we wanted to trade. A few years ago we bought Cal an 88-key electronic keyboard. But the thing is really too big. So we wanted to see if we could trade down. Guitar Center doesn’t trade.

While we were there, we tested out a variety of keyboards. Cal has something specific in mind—I guess. I didn’t. I just tried out a variety of keyboards and guitars. One of the keyboards I tried had a painfully loud and overly bright sound.

The name “piano” is short for “piano-forte” which means “soft loud.” When pianos were first invented, the keyboards of the time played at only one volume. The mechanism plucked the strings. It didn’t pluck quiet. It didn’t pluck loud. It just plucked. The innovation in the piano mechanism was a felt-covered hammer that could produce a difference in volume by hitting the string (not plucking) either hard or soft or somewhere in between.

This allowed nuance in the music that was not possible with earlier keyboard instruments.

We need someone to invent a piano-forte of politics.

The current system allows only forte (f), fortissimo (ff), and fortississimo (fff).

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