from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adv. Music In a loud, then suddenly soft, manner. Used chiefly as a direction.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In music, characterized by sudden but transient emphasis; loud, then immediately soft; sforzato. Abbreviated fp.
  • n. The original name of the pianoforte (which see).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a keyboard instrument that is played by depressing keys that cause hammers to strike tuned strings and produce sounds


Italian : forte, loud; see forte2 + piano, soft; see piano2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • Among the list of Professor Chua's "don'ts" during the rearing of her own children was allowing them to attend sleepovers; to get grades beneath an "A"; and to play any instrument other than the violin or piano no exclusion for the viola or forte-piano.

    Mark Steinberg: Chua, Baby

  • The next name given to it was _forte-piano_, which signified soft, with power; and this name became _piano-forte_, which it still retains.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 117, July, 1867.

  • Philadelphia, who "has invented one of the prettiest improvements in the forte-piano I have ever seen."

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 117, July, 1867.

  • You should say _forte-piano, _ not _piano-forte_: and the

    The Laws of Etiquette

  • He has here at home a harpsichord, forte-piano, harmonica, guitar, violin, and German flutes, and at Williamsburg, he has a good pipe organ.

    Colonial Children

  • Thus he wrote to Artaria in 1788: "I was obliged to buy a new forte-piano, that I might compose your clavier sonatas particularly well."

    Chopin and Other Musical Essays

  • His instrument was called _forte-piano_ or _pianoforte_, because it would strike loud or soft.

    Critical and Historical Essays Lectures delivered at Columbia University

  • She promised to give you now and then a lesson on the forte-piano; is she as good as her word?

    Memoirs of Aaron Burr

  • She must either have a forte-piano at home, or renounce learning it.

    Memoirs of Aaron Burr

  • I lived on the old homestead, man and boy, and was married and had a family of children, for forty years and rising, when my wife would send my daughters to a fashionable school in Wetherville, to learn French and darning-work and the forte-piano.

    Tales of Glauber-Spa


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