What do Elton John, Lady GaGa, and Mozart have in common?
They all started playing the piano when they were four years old.
Let’s learn more about this magical musical machine, with 88 keys.


1. When was the piano invented?

At http://piano300.si.edu/timeline.htm, you learn that the very first piano was invented in Italy in the year 1700 — so the piano is 312 years old. You’ll also learn that “piano” means “to be played quietly” because it was the first instrument to use a special hammer mechanism so it could be played loud or soft.

2. If you dropped a piano off of a roof, would it still work?

Have a look! Every year, the students at MIT see what happens when they drop a piano off the roof. Let’s just say the answer is ‘no’.



3. How much does a new piano cost?

You can pay as little as $2 for an app like Magic Piano, or a million dollars if you’re Elton John. For $140 you can buy a 61 key Yamaha synthesizer. If you want a real piano, expect to play the same as a new car — from $10,000 to $100,000. See http://www.bluebookofpianos.com for the latest prices.


4. Can a cat play the piano?

Yes, at least if you ask the owners of Nora, the famous YouTube cat. If you’re one of the few that hasn’t seen it, heeere’s Nora!

5. How does a piano hammer work?

Watch this YouTube video that shows the mechanics of a piano hammer in action.

6. Application: When Pianos Meets Computers

Back in the 1980s, computer programmers figured out how to digitalize music, and re-invent the piano. Want to see? Visit Wayne Lytle at Animusic http://www.animusic.com to seem some sound driven digital machines, or Stephen Malinowski’s Music Animation Machine, at http://www.musanim.com. You can watch piano scores, one note as a time, below.


7. Want to learn more?Here’s more!

Tune your browser to the radio program to http://www.classicsforkids.com where you can learn more about music in general, and including a game that will test your ability to name the notes.


8. Still want more?

Visit Children’s Technology Review’s playlist (below), to view select YouTube videos based on topics in this month’s column. Note: There are six videos. After each video ends, hit the ‘play’ button again to view the next in the series.


lclogoLittleClickers.com (this page and the associated web site) is sponsored by Computer Explorers. Neither Children’s Technology Review (publisher of LittleClickers) or Computer Explorers has any vested interest in any of the sites listed on this page. Librarians and teachers are permitted to copy this page for non-profit use. To report a bad link, please contact us, or call 908-284-0404 (9 – 3 PM, EST). These links were selected by Warren Buckleitner.

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Filed in: Art and Creativity, History, Music

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