The History of the Modern Piano
Pianos have been around for about three millenniums, and have been redesigned hundreds- if not thousands of times! What has kept this instrument, this form of expressing deep feeling, so entwined with its owner and all those who hear it?
The piano has been around for such a lengthy period of time that it is described to have an epoch, or an age, which represents its climb into fame and ends just before the current ‘depression’ it’s going through. This is known as, “The Age of the Piano” (Bellis, About).
There are many types of pianos that can be divided into groups. The spinet piano, the console piano, and the studio piano are a few examples of these. These are called vertical pianos, because they focus on minimizing the space. These pianos have diagonal strings, and you usually see these stuffed into a corner at your grandmother’s- or older sibling’s house. To name the other genre would be the grand piano- known for the many smooth curves along its side (Barron, 2). This would be the piano you imagine high up on the stage during a concert. We’ll delve further into these two types of pianos further on, inside of the article.
I thought that this would be a good topic to make an essay on, because: it seemed like a unique topic to do, I enjoy the playing the piano on a weekly basis, and because there is so much more to learn about pianos in-general.
This topic doesn’t strike me as a ‘common’ topic, because there aren’t that many people that aren’t interested in playing piano- but in listening to the tunes. I currently take piano lessons and enjoy being able to make up a melodious beat which flows. This is like being able to draw, or paint, or any other creative skill.
The piano has had a long line of inventive people working on it. They each had their own style and their own goals in-mind. They’ve had around three hundred years to work on the pianoforte. This is why there are so many different types of pianos! Each piano has 2,500+ parts- which making assembling and developing the pianoforte complicated (Barron, 4).
The original inventor of the piano is Bartolomeo Cristofori, who was paid by Prince Ferdinand de Medici of Florence to create a musical instrument which could express sound and feeling through deep and light tones of notes (Meyer, RennerUSA). His first attempt, in 1720, was successful, in the goals he was trying to accomplish, but the music was soft and the keys were too hard to push down. We still adopt his system of 88 piano keys to create music. Some of his original pianos still exist today in the world. There are currently ten that are still kept in museums (Natural History, 5).
The piano was first designed without a strong system of ‘plucking’ the strings. This initially made the first couple attempts a failure, but some German inventors got together and developed a better system of making intricate sounds (with deep and light feeling) with hammers (The Piano, 6). These depths allowed for the...