Instruments #14: Piano

“Although exact dates are unknown, most history books agree that the first piano came into being around the turn of the 18th century, and the invention is widely accredited to Bartolomeo Cristofori. Cristofori’s pianos were commonly known as fortepianos.

The fortepiano designed by Cristofori is similar to the modern piano, only smaller in size than your typical modern day grand piano and with more ornate work around the legs, compared to the simple and sleek designs seen more often today. Many great classical composers, such as Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, all played on fortepianos.

Towards the turn of the 19th century, the instrument underwent a period of evolution. The fortepiano’s of Cristofori’s original design steadily became obsolete, replaced instead by the ‘modern’ piano that we know and love today. The change was in response to composers and pianists crying out for a more powerful sound and the evolution was made possible by the Industrial Revolution, which provided new materials to work with.

It’s testament to Cristofori’s original design that the grand pianos used around the world today are still very similar to his original invention. Acoustic concert pianos still have the same look to them, albeit with updated technology and new ways to improve them developing all the time.

However, as technology has developed so has the range of pianos on offer. These days, learners can purchase digital pianos. Digital pianos are far more practical for everyday use, as they’re far more compact in their design. They take up a lot less space in the average living room, dining room, or hallway than a full size grand piano.”


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