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The musical instrument now called a piano used to be called a "pianoforte." It uses felt tipped hammers driven by keys on a keyboard to strike at strings. When it was originally developed it was able to be played both softly (piano is Italian for soft, and quiet passages will be noted with a small p on sheet music) and loudly (forte is Italian for hard, and loud passages will be noted with a small f on the sheet music), so the combination became the name of the instrument.

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