I'm describing a scene in which the father picks up the kid and puts her on the piano. While doing it, a random sound comes out of the piano because some keys were randomly pressed by the kid's body. Now I want to describe the sound and the context to the reader, and put it in the text you know like a script of a play where they put contextual cues within brackets.

[The piano ........]

.... keys were randomly pressed? I don't think so. It's awkward.

  • 3
    cacophony - a harsh discordant mixture of sounds. I seriously doubt there's a specific verb meaning "to make a cacophonous sound". Oct 28, 2016 at 17:11
  • @FumbleFingers wow an interesting word. Is it OK if I adjust it like the piano plays in cocophony or something?!
    – Yuri
    Oct 28, 2016 at 17:24
  • 3
    I've never heard the adverbial clause in cacophony, so I'd advise you not to use it. Either work with the noun form, or go for some adjectival construction such as The father plonked the child down on the piano keys with a cacophonous thump. Oct 28, 2016 at 17:39
  • 1
    Native speakers don't normally use it to refer to "a kid." Oct 28, 2016 at 18:21
  • Pianists refer to this sound as a "Sonata by Rodion Shchedrin." Oct 28, 2016 at 19:13

5 Answers 5


Doing some similar research for a song I'm writing. Has "clanging" been suggested yet?

piano keys clang

From Merriam Webster:

to make a loud metallic ringing sound
anvils clanged


[The piano roars in protest.]

[The piano groans in protest.]

[The piano cries in protest.]

  • Not sure why this is voted -1. If you're looking for the equivalent of a contextual clue, these are the ones. Pianos can indeed groan, roar, and cry.
    – EllieK
    Oct 28, 2016 at 18:52

Plonk on may suggest the idea:

  • [no object] Play unskilfully on a musical instrument. ‘people plonking around on expensive instruments’


  • -1 the kid is not playing unskillfully, he's not playing at all. His body has randomly, inadvertently touched some keys. Now, what's your reason for downvoting my answer. Oct 28, 2016 at 18:51
  • Read the definition: "play unskilfully" that may apply to kids!
    – user5267
    Oct 28, 2016 at 19:04
  • A piano cannot "plonk on", but children do "plonk" on the piano. Maybe the "the sound of piano keys being plonked", or "bashed" if the resulting sound is noisy and painful to listen..
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 28, 2016 at 20:19
  • @Josh, xxxxxxx, AB a kid can play unskillfully, yes. But that is not what the question is asking. In this question the kid is not playing at all. Oct 28, 2016 at 22:30

I don't know of a verb that means exactly what you are looking for, but you could use a word like "erupted" to indicate that the noise came on quickly and violently. When combined with @FumbleFinger's suggestion of the word "cacophonous", we could have a sentence like this:

The piano erupted in cacophonous noise.

Other potential verbs are exploded, roared, burst, etc.


The piano makes a discordant noise (or sound).

1 Disagreeing or incongruous.
1.1 (of sounds) harsh and jarring because of a lack of harmony.
‘the singers continued their discordant chanting’

(Oxford dictionary)


  1. Not being in accord; conflicting.
  2. Disagreeable in sound; harsh or dissonant.

(American Heritage)


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