The word piano is a shortened form of pianoforte (PF), the Italian word for the instrument (which in turn derives from the previous terms gravicembalo col piano e forte and fortepiano). The Italian musical terms piano and forte indicate “soft” and “strong” respectively.
There has always been a recognized trinity between the mind, the body, and the therapeutic qualities of music. And the piano, specifically, has been a long-recognized source of remedy for those seeking escape and creative expression.
Pianos have entertained thousands over the last century or 2.
General Principles of Piano Technique
Sound: touch and tone
“Piano tone colour thus depends not on a single note, but on the combination and interrelation of tones”
Gauging the loudness of successive notes/chords within one harmony, according to the remaining pedal resonance, sometimes called “playing on the overtones”.
Using short washes of pedal to suggest subtle background planes of tone, adding depth and richness to the sound at key moments in a phrase.
Using the pedal progressively within a phrase, to create a resonant crescendo.
Opening the dampers completely before playing, sometimes to pick up resonance from other instruments before starting to play, e.g. in chamber music.
Rhythm and tempo
Musical rhythm is intimately related to physical rhythm, which has its origin in repetitive movements (like walking) and breathing. A good musician must be able to maintain a stable tempo, but this does not mean playing mechanically.
What makes a great pianist?
- Emotion/Expression, the ability to transfer that passion/emotion to the audience.