Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A musical instrument with a manual keyboard actuating hammers that strike wire strings, producing sounds that may be softened or sustained by means of pedals.
  • adv. In a soft or quiet tone. Used chiefly as a direction.
  • n. A passage to be played softly or quietly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A keyboard musical instrument, usually ranging over seven octaves, with white and black keys, played by pressing these keys, causing hammers to strike strings.
  • adj. Soft, quiet.
  • adj. In extended use; quiet, subdued.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Soft; -- a direction to the performer to execute a certain passage softly, and with diminished volume of tone. (Abbrev. p.)
  • n. A well-known musical instrument somewhat resembling the harpsichord, and consisting of a series of wires of graduated length, thickness, and tension, struck by hammers moved by keys.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In music, soft; with little force or loudness: opposed to forte. Usually abbreviated p.
  • n. A pianoforte.
  • Softly; in a low tone or voice. Abbreviated p.
  • n. A passage or series of notes sung or played softly; a soft or gentle tone.
  • n. In Italian, a story; a floor; the French étage: in English, used only in such borrowed phrases as piano nobile, the principal story; pian' terreno, a ground floor.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. used chiefly as a direction or description in music
  • n. (music) low loudness
  • adv. used as a direction in music; to be played relatively softly
  • n. a keyboard instrument that is played by depressing keys that cause hammers to strike tuned strings and produce sounds

Etymologies

Italian, short for pianoforte; see pianoforte.
Italian, from Late Latin plānus, smooth, graceful, from Latin, flat; see pelə-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Short form of pianoforte, from Italian piano ("soft") + forte ("strong"). So named because older keyboard instruments, notably the harpsichord and the clavier, could not produce varied volumes. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • With a fine piano or a violin, whether the effect is to be _piano_ or _fortissimo, _ the touch should be only with the amount of force needed to give a clear vibration, and the ease with which a fortissimo effect is thus produced is astonishing.

    Power Through Repose

  • The computerised augmentation of the acoustic piano, the piano+, has developed from a combination of conventional and extended playing techniques, prepared piano and electronic real-time modifications of its sounds.

    The Wire

  • [5] The term piano trio is used to signify a piece for piano, violin, and 'cello, in full sonata form.

    Woman's Work in Music

  • Just as a piano is about to fall on Ed, the scientists, the Gustav Brothers, interrupt the action to tell us all about gravity.

    Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1980s — An In-Depth Review » DVDs Worth Watching

  • There's an argument to be made that the real descendant of the piano is the keyboard synthesizer, with its limitless timbral possibilities, and that the mechanical piano is just an atavism anyways.

    Archive 2007-10-01

  • I guess they only had the track and -- I don't know, I guess, what you call the piano or something.

    CNN Transcript Oct 12, 2009

  • Not everybody who paints or draws has to become a professional artist, and not everybody who plays the piano is aiming for international classical music stardom.

    March 22nd, 2005

  • In 2D NMR, the chemical "piano" is hit with pulses of varying lengths and intervals.

    The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1991 - Presentation Speech

  • Let’s say that I want to go down a discovery path about the term piano the instrument.

    m3gan / ((NLTK) (is (fun)))

  • Piano lamp will be changed to red, indicates the piano is ready for use.

    Archive 2009-05-01

Comments

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  • Spy lingo for a spy radio. The spy using it is called a pianist.

    August 26, 2009