Do you know when was the piano invented and who invented it? How was the evolution of the instrument in terms of working mechanism and sound? Let’s read on for an overview of the history of the piano!
The Early ‘Piano’
The piano was first invented as a string instrument called hammered dulcimer or dulcimer. During the 17th century, it evolved into several stringed keyboard instruments with struck strings such as clavichord and harpsichord.
Dulcimer produces sounds when the strings are beaten by small hammers. For clavichord, sounds are produced when the strings are struck by tangents, while for harpsichord, the strings are plucked by quills. All of these instruments are not capable for good dynamic control.
The Invention of Pianoforte by Bartolomeo Cristofori
The first real piano (formerly known as pianoforte) was invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1731) in Padua, Italy around 1700. Cristofori was the Keeper of the Instruments in the court of Prince Ferdinand de Medici of Florence. He was a harpsichord maker who was well equipped with the skill and knowledge of making stringed keyboard instruments.
When the first pianoforte was invented, Cristofori named it un cimbalo di cipresso di piano e forte (“a keyboard of cypress with soft and loud”). This instrument uses hammers to strike the string, allowing the production of loud sounds and dynamic control. The mechanical problems of piano design were solved by combining the good features of both clavichord and harpsichord.
The Sustain Pedal
Pianoforte was unknown until an Italian journalist, Scipione Maffei wrote an article about it in 1711. After that, many piano builders have tried to build their piano based on Cristofori’s mechanism. Gottfried Silbermann, an organ builder has invented the sustain pedal which is able to lift all the dampers from the strings simultaneously.
The Modern Piano
Over time, the pianoforte has changed tremendously with the preference of pianists and the industrial revolution. Around 1780, upright piano was built by Johann Schmidt of Salzburg, Austria. In 1802, it was improved by Thomas Loud of London.
Nowadays, only three pianos by Cristofori survive. They are placed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (1720), the Museo Strumenti Musicali in Rome (1722), and the Musikinstrumenten-Museum of Leipzig University (1726).
Watch The Evolution of Piano From Dulcimer to Modern Piano:
Are you amazed by the process of evolution after reading the history of the piano? Share this article with your friends if you love piano! Remember to leave your comments and thoughts below too!