Ever wonder? 1.4

Q: Why do pianos have black and white keys?
Q: Why do pianos have black and white keys?

A: The white keys, of course, are the result of a decision made long ago to cover the regular keys on the piano with ivory. Ivory was chosen because of its beauty, its durability and its high susceptibility to polish.

When it came to constructing the remaining keys – the sharps and the flats – it was decided that these should be made from a substance very close to ivory in feel and appearance and as visually distinguishable from the white keys as possible. It was found that these requirements could be met by ebony wood. It is hard, heavy, very durable, easily polished and black as pitch.

– Douglas B. Smith

‘Ever Wonder Why?’

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