"percussion musical instrument in which tones are produced by blows of hammers upon stretched strings, the hammers being operated from a keyboard," 1803, from French piano (18c.), Italian piano, shortened forms of pianoforte (q.v.).
Essentially, the pianoforte is a large dulcimer with a keyboard ; but historically it replaced the clavichord and harpsichord, which were keyboard-instruments more akin to the harp than to the dulcimer. [Century Dictionary]
Piano wire "kind of strong steel wire used for strings of pianos," is attested from 1831. Piano-case "wooden box enclosing the mechanism of a piano" is by 1844.
word-forming element meaning "one who does or makes," also used to indicate adherence to a certain doctrine or custom, from French -iste and directly from Latin -ista (source also of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian -ista), from Greek agent-noun ending -istes, which is from -is-, ending of the stem of verbs in -izein, + agential suffix -tes.
Variant -ister (as in chorister, barrister) is from Old French -istre, on false analogy of ministre. Variant -ista is from Spanish, popularized in American English 1970s by names of Latin-American revolutionary movements.