Pianos are a grand and impressive instrument and are made up of many diverse parts. And as a result, pianos are made up of a lot of different materials. Since the first pianos in the early 1700’s, the materials that make up a piano have gradually changed over time to be more durable and produce better sound.
In the early days of piano construction, piano keys were mainly made from sugar pine. Today they use more basswood and spruce. The black keys on the piano are typically made of a dark, dense wood called ebony. For a long time, the white keys on a piano were made out of ivory. Ivory comes from the teeth and tusks of animals, usually elephants.
Modern pianos rarely use ivory anymore. This is because many elephants have become endangered as a result of poaching and ivory hunters. Nowadays, modern piano keys are made mostly of plastic. One recently invented material for pianos is ivorite. Ivorite is a plastic invented by the piano maker Yamaha that closely resembles ivory in look and feel and has become a popular substitute. It is also more durable than traditional ivory.
The outer casing of a piano is typically made using hardwoods. Popular hardwoods for this include beech and hard maple. The soundboard of a piano is typically made of spruce. Spruce is a good material for soundboards because it cuts back on acoustic impedance, which improves the sound quality. Because so much goes into creating a piano, always make sure to care for it properly.