The A-Z of the piano, BBC music magazine article.


We celebrate the world’s most popular instrument with a look at 26 of its greatest features.

With its expressive range, sheer physical presence and colossal repertoire, the piano reigns supreme. From Cristofori’s early 18th-century piano prototype to today’s gargantuan Steinway grands, the piano has been a constant presence in the concert hall, pub, jazz club and pop stadium – no other instrument is as versatile or wildly thrilling. Witness Beethoven’s tempestuous sonatas, the boundless colour in Debussy’s preludes and, of course, the technical gauntlets laid down by Liszt’s almost implausibly difficult output.

But it’s the piano world’s great practitioners too that seduce, many of us flocking to see them perform as much as to hear them. From the flamboyance of Paderewski and Martha Argerich to the cool perfection of Alfred Brendel and Mitsuko Uchida, there’s a magnetic aura that surrounds a master player. 

With Institute français’s recent announcement of ‘It’s All About Piano’, a festival dedicated purely to the piano, we would like to present our special A-Z guide that celebrates the world’s most popular instrument.

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