Well, both forms are used in the US and the UK. Each is asking for verification, but the given answer is usually asking whether or not the person plays the piano while the version I gave is usually asked to confirm that the person plays the piano.
My comment about the US vs. the UK concerned "playing piano" vs. "playing the piano", not the word order. As for the word order, I completely agree with you.
'Play the piano' is the British norm, 'play piano' is a little grating to British ears
Tough one, I think either would sound natural in conversation but after thinking about it with other instruments I would probably include the article (the) even if you're not referring to a specific instrument.
I have a feeling (based on personal observations and nothing else) that "to play piano" is more common in the US whereas "to play the piano" is more British.
i'm sorry, but what about the strict order of words in interrogative sentence?
The strict order in the interrogative sentence is relevant for fully-fledged questions:
Can you play the piano? - Умеете ли Вы играть на пианино? or Вы умеете играть на пианино? (Stress on "умеете")
You can play the piano? - Вы умеете играть на пианино? (Stress on "пианино") This sentence conveys an element of surprise and asks for a confirmation - see explainsthefunny's earlier comment.
Seems like it might be worth a note on use of 'can' for people learning - умеешь for being capable of, можешь for being allowed to. Please correct if not the case as I'm deducing really!
Prepositional. "На" takes accusative only when it indicates a direction of motion. The declension of пианино is non-standard (its form does not change in any of the cases) because it's a loan word.
I agree. I is not a litteral translation of this sentence but was the first to come to my mind. Although, you can have knowledge about playing piano but don't play it regularly. In that way, there is a difference between 'can you play' and 'do you play.' Still, I think it should be accepted.
Of course there is a difference. That's where the smartass comes in. Somebody asks "Do you play the piano?" Smartass answers "No, not very often." Somebody reasks "Ok, do you KNOW how to play the piano?" Happens all the time. In America being a smartass is a fine art.
Asking "Do you play the piano?" is akin to saying "I can't hear you!". Meaning "I can't hear you very well." or more to the point "I can't understand what you just said." Quite right! Literal translations are not always the most accurate...
Just a general comment, but the intonation of this sentance is wrong. It sounds like a statement, rather than a questuon. In general most of Russian sentances in this course are pronounced with incorrect intonation. There is a very clear difference in Russian language between question and statement, and unfortunately this course fails in this regard
Why should it be? Prepositions are often illogical and cannot be translated directly from one language to another. In any case, English does not use any prepositions with "play something", and why Russian uses "на" for musical instruments and "в" for games and sports cannot be explained logically either.
In English you could ask "Can you play "Stair Way to Heaven" on the piano?", as opposed to on the guitar.
Yes. But in this case you would need a direct object (as in your example) - the piece that is being played.