Even if you’re a novice or a professional pianist, learning about the origins of this beautiful instrument can help you hook more intimately with it. Discover how it developed and becomes a prominent instrument worldwide. Please read the rest so that the next time you sit down at your piano, you will envision it in a whole better perspective.
The Invention Journey
A piano is a stringed musical instrument that creates music when the strings are strikes by hammers. The player actuates the hammers by tapping the keys on a keyboard. The deeper the sound is, the heavier the pressure applied.
The origin of the piano may be traced back to medieval times when the very first string instrument, “dulcimers,” was introduced into Europe and began to be performed and played. However, there was a demand for something distinct, a string instrument that you could play with a keyboard.
To create this, it made several efforts, and as an outcome, the clavichord was created, which has strings hit by tangents, and the harpsichord, which has strings pluck by raven’s feathers, was built very prominent.
Even though all of the breakthroughs were remarkable, they were still not adequate. The harpsichord could not regulate the sound dynamics, including how loud or delicate the pianist could play. Furthermore, the clavichord sounded too dainty and was often overshadowed by the sounds from other instruments on the stage.
Cristofori – Inventor of The First Piano (1700s)
The maestros wished to have greater power over the loudness level of the music. And this is when Bartolomeo Cristofori, a native of Padua, Italy, stepped into the scene. He was a harpsichord creator appointed by Ferdinando, Grand Prince of Tuscany, to serve as his “Keeper of the Instruments.”
The actual period of the piano cannot be determined accurately, although it is recorded that the Medici clan had a piano around 1700. However, there are just three Christofori pianos constructed in the 1720s.
The Cristofori piano was visually and sonically distinct from the modern pianos we are accustomed to hearing. He asserted that plucking the strings with hammers, rather than plucked strings of the harpsichord, would provide more significant variation in the dynamics. It provides an in-depth view into the innards of an ancient piano, and you can observe the differences in instruments as the piano evolved.
The clavicembalo col piano e forte was the name given to the first instrument Cristofori created (which pertains it can play both normally and more strongly). Only within 1732, when the term pianoforte was simplified and truncated into “Piano” and become more widely used.
Cristofori was a magnificent inventor, designing an advanced and powerful initiative for his instrument’s invention. He rectified several technical faults that would plague many piano creators for the subsequent decades of the instrument’s development. Cristofori’s pianos are still in use today.
Given that his work was very complicated and costly, succeeding 18th creators discarded many of its components, which were progressively recreated and reintegrated in succeeding generations.
Born of the Modern Pianos (1800s)
Modern pianos are much more potent and louder than those from the 18th century, a boost in loudness driven in part by the overall capacity of concert venues in the nineteenth century. The piano, which was available in several forms, was very prominent throughout the mid-eighteenth century.
German piano makers developed the square piano as they preferred a lightweight, less costly piano with a smoother touch. When Mozart and Clementi started writing for the piano, they established a unique pianistic playing style and composition that has lived to this day. From that period on, the piano was the instrument of choice for cafe music, classical music, piano sonatas, and song backing.
Broadwood was notable for a great deal of early technology advancement in the 17th century. It soon established notoriety for the elegance and robustness of its tone, with Broadwood creating pianos that were grander, deeper, and more solidly built as time went on, earning them a stellar reputation.
Haydn and Beethoven received pianos from Broadwood, and the firm is credited with being the first one to create pianos with a scope greater than five octaves. Five octaves throughout the 1790s, six octaves by 1810 where Beethoven made use of the additional notes in some of his subsequent works, and seven octaves by 1820. In the same vein, the creator in Vienna adopted these trends. The two educational institutions utilized distinct piano action: Broadwoods featured strong actions while Viennese instruments featured very delicate piano actions.
Pleyel created pianos used by Chopin and the Érard invention used by Liszt. In 1821 Érard created a dual escape action with a repetition lever which allowed a note to repeat itself, even when the key still did not elevate to its most vertical position. It enabled to be played rapidly in repetitive notes, a musical technique that Liszt used. As Hertz modified the concept, the double escapement action in grand pianos eventually become common and is still included in the grand pianos manufactured in the 2000s.
By around 1860, the upright piano had practically overtaken the square piano as a primary instrument in household use. Old upright pianos were built in the style of upright harpsichords. In a sense, they were taller, and several of them were designed in exquisite forms. However, by lowering the strings all the way to the ground, Hawkins made the upright short and more adaptable for smaller rooms.
There have been many advancements in the 19th to 20th centuries. The string tension, measured in 1862 at 16 tonnes, rose to much more than 30 tonnes in modernized instruments. The outcome of this instrument is a vibrancy, sustainability, and a tonal spectrum even unfamiliar and unknown by these great composers Chopin, Beethoven, and Liszt. The emergence of an electric piano based on electro-acoustic or digital tonal production tactics and audible via a speaker and an enhancer was a significant breakthrough in the 20th century, starting in the 1930s.