World Piano Day: 88 keys, lots of souls

World Piano Day: 88 keys, lots of souls
Fecha de publicación: 
29 March 2022
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For it has 88 keys, in the 88th day of the calendar we all celebrate the World Piano Day.

But who, no matter what the day of the year was, hasn't been moved at some point by listening to a piano?

It does not matter if you are a connoisseur of music or not, or your age or profession. Music is a universal language that communicates with all of us…and we understand it.

In any case, the German pianist Nils Frahm had the initiative, since 2015, and it is usually celebrated on March 29th, or the 28th, on leap years.

It was at the beginning of the 18th century when the Italian Bartolomeo Cristofori gave the world what he named "Clavicémbalo col piano e forte" and which was a substitute for the harpsichord, but, unlike the latter, it allowed subtle volume and tone graduations, produced soft sounds (piano) or strong (forte), depending on how intense the pressure on the keys was.

Those first pianofortes did not have as many notes as the current ones and neither did they have such a powerful timbre, but, in any case and with good reason, they immediately prevailed due to the hitherto unimaginable possibilities they offered to performers and composers.

However, tracing back the history of these unique sonorities, it is worth saying that one of the most remote relatives of the piano was the hydraulis, in ancient Greece, while the zither is the oldest stringed instrument, whose origins date back to the Bronze Age in Africa and Southeast Asia.

The oldest stringed musical instrument related to the piano is the zither. The zither, whose origin dates back to the Bronze Age (approx. 3000 BC), comes from Africa and Southeast Asia.

The piano has undergone various transformations to become the instrument we know today and whose strings, which hold the 88 notes. In the case of a typical concert piano, it can withstand tensions equivalent to 20 tons.

The piano arrived in Cuba at the end of the 18th century together with the French immigrants who came from Haiti, and it became one of the favorites pretty quickly. To achieve it, French pianist Juan Federico Edelman contributed with his Santa Cecilia Academy, who had in Manuel Saumell one of his disciples.

Harold Gramatges, Eliseo Grenet, Ernesto Lecuona, Adolfo Guzmán, Frank Fernández, Chucho Valdés and José María Vitier are among the most famous Cuban pianists, although we can confirm the list is much longer.

There are lots of people celebrating this World Piano Day worldwide, without fuss, as the soul deserves.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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