The Black Keys
The piano usually has a protective wooden case surrounding the soundboard and metal strings. The metal strings are struck when the keys are pressed down. But when the particular key are released by the pianist, the strings’ vibration will come to a stop, ultimately putting a stop to the sound made by that key. The note can be prolonged by the use of the pedals attached at the bottom of the piano near the pianist’s feet.
Pressing a key on the piano's keyboard causes a padded hammer to strike steel strings. The hammers rebound, and the strings continue to vibrate at their resonant frequency. These vibrations are transmitted through a bridge to a soundboard that more efficiently couples the acoustic energy to the air. The sound would otherwise be no louder than that directly produced by the strings. When the key is released, a damper stops the string's vibration and the sound. See the article on piano key frequencies for a picture of the piano keyboard and the location of middle C. In the Hornbostel-Sachs system of instrument classification, pianos are considered chordophones.
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