Short form of pianoforte, from Italian pianoforte, from piano (“soft”) + forte (“strong”). So named because it could produce a wide range of varied volumes note-by-note, in contrast to older keyboard instruments, notably the harpsichord.
piano (plural pianos or piani)
piano (not comparable)
- (music) softly, as a musical direction (abbreviated to p. in sheet music) [from 17th c.]