The Creation of the Piano
The piano is the most common instrument alongside guitar and drums that most people learn to play. Many people start playing the piano as children and continue to learn new techniques. Piano is also a great therapeutic instrument to help people express creativity and de-stress. However, not many people know the history of how the piano was created.
It begins in Padua, Italy in 1709, in a shop of a harpsichord maker named, Bartolomeo di Francesco Cristofori. Cristofori was the first maker to create the first piano instrument and named it, gravicembalo col piano e forte ,“soft and loud keyboard instrument.” It was then shortened to fortepiano or pianoforte and then just piano. The piano was developed so that artists could alter loudness and tone the force of one’s finger. It comes from a family of keyboard instruments like dulcimer, spinet, clavacin, gravicembalo in the 14th-15th century. It had one varying volume which made it hard for artists to know if it played loud or soft.
The square piano invented by Zumpe and was sold to England, France, Germany, France, and America by 1775. The square piano allowed tone and sound to resonate louder. The next piano instrument is the upright piano which was made by unconventionally-minded inventors during the 1770s. The upright piano defies the laws of acoustics and physics by squeezing sound and tone in between the front and back of the wooden case while sending the sounds towards the face of the player. The upright piano and square piano were at competition with one another in market sale, but the upright piano sold better in Europe and America. Their sales were due to low cost and the fact that it was perfect for tight places such as home, studios and cafes.
Robert Stoddard developed the grand piano in London, England in 1777. Nicknamed the “Grand Pianoforte,” this design was favored for the wind form it had. The wind form had an advantage for superior sound quality, volume, and engineering. Manufacturers tried to create their own set combinations and change the construction of the grand piano to make it sell economically and guarantee consistency. For example, Sebastian Erard in 1838, manufactured a capo tasto that help improve tone, which is on all grand pianos today. Now, this is the preferred piano for all concert settings and for artists who want superior sound.
Pianos have improved as technology has advanced. Today, a lot of pianos have started to evolve again. Acoustic pianos can take floppy disk, CDs, or internal memory systems and play the notes of the piano all by itself. It helps capture live piano performances and play them back accurately. Digital pianos are software driven that help home musicians connect to other instruments for arranging and orchestration. Memory storage is simple in computers which can allow users to download and store a lot of music. There are many different types of digital pianos that provide a variety of unique functions like giving layering effects when playing by providing different preset and combo sounds.
Overall, the piano is a great instrument that comes in many styles that accommodate different types of users for tone and sound. Users can create beautiful music whether it’s for a movie, a soundtrack,or just for themselves. Hopefully, the piano will continue to make an impact on generations to come.