From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
A keyboard instrument is any musical instrument played using a musical keyboard. The most common of these is the piano, which is used in nearly all forms of western music. Other widely used keyboard instruments include various types of organs as well as other mechanical, electromechanical and electronic instruments. In common language, it is mostly used to refer to keyboard-style synthesizers.
Social history of the piano
The piano is a crucial instrument in Western classical music, jazz, film, television, and most other complex western musical genres. A large number of composers are proficient pianists—and because the piano keyboard offers an easy means of complex melodic and harmonic interplay—the piano is often used as a tool for composition.
Pianos were, and still are, popular instruments for private household ownership. Hence, pianos have gained a place in the popular consciousness, and are sometimes referred to by nicknames including: "the ivories", "the joanna", "the eighty-eight", "the black(s) and white(s)", and "the little joe(s)". Playing the piano is sometimes referred to as "tickling the ivories".