The piano is a musical instrument with a keyboard made out of 88 keys (52 white ones and 36 black ones). Sound is made by pressing of the keys. The word piano is short for pianoforte, the Italian word for the instrument. Separately, these two words (piano and forte) mean quiet and loud respectively, which also corresponds with the strength with which the musician would press on the keys. The harder the press- the louder the sound, while the weaker the press- the quieter the sound. The instrument, as we know it today, dates from the 17th century, and is the successor of the instrument cymbal.