History of the Piano

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History of the PianoThe piano, a well-known musical instrument that is played with a keyboard, is said to have been invented in Padua, Italy by a man named Bartolomeo Cristofori. Piano history dates all the way back to the late 17th century when it was first invented. The piano is derrived from stringed keyboard instruments such as the clavichord and harpsichord. Although the clavichord allowed for vast tones, it was too quiet. And though the harpsichord was loud enough, it did not allow for sufficient range of tone. The piano was invented in order to combine the two instruments to make one that was both loud and allowed for tone.


The invention of Cristofori’s new piano remained relatively unknown until a widely distributed article was written about his invention. This article sparked inventors to begin working on the next generation of remodeled pianos. One man, Gottfried Silbermann, only had one innitial addition to Cristofori’s piano. Silbermann added a damper pedal that was able to unanimously lift all dampers from the strings.

In the 1730s, when Silbermann first revealed his piano to Johann Sebastian Bach, Bach said that it did not allow for a high enough range. Silbermann took into account Bach’s criticism and revealed a remodeled instrument in 1747. Bach approved of this new piano, and he even helped to sale Silbermann’s instrument.

Although piano history dates back hundreds of years, piano making flourished during the 18th century. Viennese-style pianos began to be built with wood frames and had two strings on each note. Some of these pianos had keys that were coloured the opposite of modern day pianos; natural keys were black instead of white. Mozart composed his concertos especially for these 18th century pianos. Pianos built in the 18th century generally had a softer, clearer tone than modern day pianos. Due to this difference, they were usually distinguished by being called pianofortes instead of pianos.

After the 18th century, pianos changed tremendously. Pianos were made with a more powerful sound, strings began being made with high-quality steel, and the range of tone was increased.

There are many types of modern day pianos, namely grand, upright, and digital. Grand pianos are generally the richest sounding and largest pianos. Upright pianos are more compact because strings are vertical instead of horizontal as in grand pianos. Digital pianos use digital technology to reproduce the sounds of real piano notes. On these pianos, there are no actual strings or damper pedals.

Pianos have been made popular by people in all types of music genres. From classical music to modern day rock bands, the piano serves as a fundamental instrument to all.


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