Are you curious about what type of musical instrument the piano is? You space not alone! Even among music aficionados, there is no agreement as to whether the piano is a percussion or a stringed instrument.

While countless instruments loss under a details category, pianos are an enigma. Below, we describe why a piano could just it is in both a percussion and also a stringed instrument.

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Classification of musical Instruments

Over the years, societies have used assorted systems come classify music instruments. 

The early group systems

As far earlier as the 1st century B.C., the Hindus categorized instruments based upon the products they to be made of. They come up with 4 main categories consisting of percussion instruments, vibrating strings, and also vibrating columns created from steel or wood, and percussion instruments made using skin. By the 4th century B.C. The Chinese inherited this category system. 

In the 19th century, a musical instrument curator recognized as Victor Mahillon boosted on the early classification system. He created four groups: percussion instruments, string, drums, and winds. 

The Hornbostel-Sachs system

Later, Eric Moritz von Hornbostel and Curt Sachs further refined Mahillon’s system and also devised the Hornbostel-Sachs system. This system groups instruments based upon how lock vibrate to develop sound.  

The Hornbostel-Sachs system has been modification severally yet it stays the most renowned system that classifying musical instruments. The 4 main groups are: 

Electrophones: These instruments develop sound electronically. Idiophones: Idiophones vibrate us to create sound. Chordophones: this instruments develop sound through vibrating strings stretched in between two points. Membranophones: These create sound with a vibrating membrane. 

What is a Percussion Instrument?

Image: Noname Music

The word ‘percussion’ method the to mark of one object versus another to produce sound. A percussion instrument is one that is shaken, hit, or scratched to do a sound. 

In one orchestra or any type of other music setting, percussion instruments administer rhythm and include zing to a item of music. 

Examples of typical percussion instruments include the tambourine, celesta, gongs, base drum, cymbals, and also timpani simply to cite a few. 

The piano is likewise considered to it is in a percussion instrument. This is because the performer supplies their finger to struggle on the black and also white keys of the keyboard, i m sorry in turn reasons the tool to create sound. 

What Is A Stringed Instrument?

As the name suggests, a stringed instrument is any form of instrument that has, well, strings and also produces sounds once the strings space plucked through hand or scraped by an additional item such as a bow.

Many stringed instruments have a wooden body and are hole inside. This permits sound come vibrate inside the instrument. The strings are usually make of various materials through nylon and steel gift the most common ones. Instances of stringed tools are the guitar, violin, harp, cello, and also the bass. 

Interestingly, the piano is sometimes categorized together a cable instrument. This is due to the fact that when hit, the tricks lift the hammers, which subsequently strike the plenty of strings found inside the piano leading to the instrument to create its variety of sounds.

How does A Piano Work?

To recognize whether the piano is a percussion or a stringed instrument, let’s an initial understand just how it works. 

A piano has 52 white keys and also 36 black secrets to do a total of 88 keys. Within the tool are many strings whose size decreases together the performer moves from left come right across the keyboard.

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Although the piano has more than 12,000 parts, just three components are involved in transforming the force applied to the vital to into sound. These components are the wippen, hammer, and an essential assembly. 

Keys are simply the black and white plastic-covered piece of wood a pianist presses when playing the piano. The wippen relays the force of the an essential to the hammer assembly and also the hammer climate hits the string. 

The hammers inside the piano space covered in felt. Once the pianist presses the an essential softly, the hammer strikes the wire softly and the tool produces a subdued sound. Top top the various other hand, as soon as the pianist presses the an essential hard, the hammer strikes the crucial equally hard and also the piano produce a loud sound. Because that a view of the hammer-string action, examine out this interesting video of a jar pianist. 

The dimension of the strings likewise determines the key of the sound the piano produces. When the performer presses a crucial that strikes a long and thick string, the sound developed will it is in subdued. This is the situation with tricks on the left end of the instrument. 

On the various other hand, secrets on the right finish of the piano strike thin and also short strings. This in turn produces a high pitched sound. 

On one end, strings are held in ar by bridges that room attached come the soundboard. Top top the other end is a damper, i beg your pardon acts as a mute. Once the show presses a key, the damper lifts turn off the string and also the bridges deliver the string’s vibrations to the soundboard. In turn, the soundboard vibrates and also the tool produces an audible sound. 

Is The Piano a Chordophone?

Going strictly by the Hornbostel-Sachs system, a piano deserve to be classified together a chordophone. Other chordophones include the guitar, harp, harpsichord, ukulele, lyre, flute, cello, just to point out a few. 

What every these instruments, consisting of the piano, have in typical is the they have actually strings stretched between two points. However, unequal the piano, numerous chordophones produce sound as soon as the demonstrate plucks the strings through their fingers, a bow, or a quill. 


A piano produce sound once hammers struggle the strings. Together such, one would certainly argue the the piano is a percussion instrument. It can additionally be categorized as a stringed instrument since it has strings stretched between two points, and also most importantly, it produces sound as soon as these strings vibrate.

So, is the piano a percussion or a stringed instrument? We deserve to safely say: that is both!