How a grand piano works

The Grand Piano “uses” a series of levers to transmit the movement of a fingertip to a felt-tipped hammer that strikes the piano string to create a note.
Each key of a piano is linked to a complex system of levers called the action. Overall, the levers transmit the movement of the fingertip to the felt-tipped hammer that strikes the taut piano wire and sounds a note. The action magnifies movement so that the hammer moves a greater distance than the player’s fingertip. The system of levers is very responsive, allowing the pianist to play quickly and produce a wide range of volume.
The Levers in Action
The key raises the wippen, which forces up the jack against the hammer roller and lifts the lever carrying the hammer. The key also raises the damper and immediately after striking the wire, the hammer drops back, allowing the wire to sound. On releasing the key, the damper drops back onto the wire, cutting off the sound.
Repeating a Note
The hammer drops back after striking the wire. If the key is not released, the fall of the hammer is arrested by the check and repetition lever. The hammer is held in this position so that it is ready to strike the wire rapidly if the key is immediately pressed again.



How a grand piano works