Who Invented the Piano

The piano is a popular stringed instrument that is played on a keyboard with strings struck by hammers. The piano is one of the most identifiable musical instruments and was the main musical instrument used by world-famous music composers such as Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn to create musical masterpieces. The piano was also an important factor in the development of popular musical genres such as blues, rock, jazz, classical music and popular music, among others.

History of the piano

The piano takes its name from the Italian term “gravecembalo col piano and forte” or “fortepiano” which was the name given to the musical instrument in the early 18th century when it was invented. Bartolomeo di Francesco Cristofori is credited with the invention of the piano which has been modeled on other existing stringed keyboard instruments such as the harpsichord and the clavichord.

Bartolomeo di Francesco Cristofori: Early Life

Little is known of Bartolomeo’s childhood by Francesco Cristofori with the limited information available from an interview that the inventor gave to the 18 century Italian writer Scipione Maffei. It is believed that Bartolomeo di Francesco Cristofori was born in May 4, 1655, in Padua, Italy. In his youth, Bartholomew became a famous harpsichord in Padua, a skill that brought him much popularity in the region. Bartolomeo’s majestic harpsichord ability reached Prince Ferdinando de Medici, heir to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III. The Prince was also a fan of harpsichords and spinets and had about 40 of them but his musical instrument technician had just died. Thus, in 1688 as he returned from Venice, Prince Ferdinand passed through Padua where he met Bartolomeo who he recruited to replace the deceased technician. In May 1688, Bartolomeo (then aged 33) moved from his hometown of Padua and moved to Florence where he was given a house complete with equipment and tools.

Bartolomeo di Francesco Cristofori: Inventions

The prince had a liking for Bartholomew and granted him the freedom to invent his own inventions while managing the existing instruments. A disk of inventory of the musical instruments of the Grand Duke made in 1700 has a particular voice called “arpicembalo that fail piano and forte” (translated as “harpsichord that can sound quietly and loudly”), which was one of Bartolomeo’s first inventions and a forerunner of the invention of the piano. Bartolomeo further improved the drawings and in 1709 he invented what he called the “gravecembalo col piano and forte”, which was later abbreviated to piano, the first piano in history. This invention was subsequently described in the 1711 publication of Scipione Maffei ” Giornale dei letterati d’Italia”. Bartolomeo made 20 of the most pianos between 1709 and 1726 but his invention was not an immediate success with the users who defined it as “difficult to use”

Bartolomeo di Francesco Cristofori: Death and Legacy

Bartolomeo continued to work on his invention, making improvements to its characteristics and in his last years he was assisted by Giovanni Ferrini. Cristofori died in January 27, 1731, at the age of 75 years. The invention of the piano was eclipsed by the rise of opera music and therefore the use of the piano was largely obscured in Italy. Today there are only three pianos originally built by Bartolomeo, all preserved in museums.


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