History of the Piano

pianoThe piano is the most popular instrument and the most complex mechanical device and is capable of fulfilling the player’s every musical desire. A piano is an instrument generally used for classical, jazz, solo performances, ensemble use or it is used in an orchestra as an accompaniment and chamber music. A piano is a popular tool for rehearsals and composing a certain music or song. The piano’s versatility made it as one of the famous familiar musical instrument in the world.

The word piano came from the Italian word “pianoforte” meaning instrument. The words “piano” and “Forte” indicate “soft” and “strong” differently. Regarding to the variation in sound and volume produced by the instrument in response to the pianist’s touch on the keys, the greater the velocity of a key press, the greater the force of the hummer hitting the strings, it will produce the louder sound of the note. The piano as the pianoforte improved from clavichord and harpsichord around 1700 to 1720 by Bartolomeo Cristofori an Italian inventor from Padua, Italy as the keeper of instrument of Ferdinando de Macidi, the grand prince of Tuscany. He was an expert harpsichord maker and was well acquainted of knowledge and versatility on stringed keyboard instrument. A harpsichord is an instrument that is likely similar to piano but the only difference is it has a strings that are plucked rather than strunk. This was way before digital and electronic pianos were available of today. Many digital piano reviews will state that they do not have the same tune of traditional pianos. The manufacturer of the harpsichord was so determined to create an instrument that can have a better dynamics than that of the harpsichord. But then Bartolomeo Cristofari had an idea and the first to solve the problem.

From 1790’s to mid 1800’s, piano technology and sound was improved due to the invention of the new high quality steel called piano wire, and the ability to precisely cast iron frames called “plate”. The iron frame sits atop the hand board. The piano was formed as an attempt to combine both loudness with control and avoiding the trades-offs of available instrument. It was his great success to solve the mechanical piano design with no prior example. The hummer must strike the string with no further contact with it. The hummer must return to its rest position without bouncing violently. The tonal range of the piano increased from the five octaves of the pianoforte to the seven and more octaves found in the modern piano.