The History Of The Piano, It Broadly Describes The History Of The Piano.

1502 words - 6 pages

The piano has seen many sights and has been a part of countless important events in the past and present. It is said to have dominated music for the past 200 years. Throughout history, inventions come along that take art away from princes and give it the people. Unlike the printing press, the piano made what was once intangible possible: the poorest of peasants could enjoy the same music that their beloved rulers did. The piano can be played by the rankest of amateurs, and the greatest of virtuosos so even if a person is not very intelligent, a simple tune can easily be learned. In addition to being a key factor in almost all western music styles, the piano has had a rich and eventful history.The piano can be directly linked to two instruments of centuries past. The first is the clavichord, a box-like structure in which strings are stretched, and struck by metal blades to produce notes and pitches. The clavichord could be manipulated to produce different chords, but even at it's best, could barely be heard by anyone other than the player. Intent upon creating a superior to the clavichord, musical engineers created the harpsichord. The harpsichord used a frame similar to modern grand pianos, but utilized a wooden bar and a quill to pluck strings (the jack), which amplified the sound of a clavichord greatly. Harpsichords were more expensive clavichords and became a fad in sixteenth and seventeenth century England. The harpsichord was a particularly important development leading to the invention of the piano.However, the harpsichord was limited to one, unvarying volume. Its softness and loudness remained the same while playing. Therefore, performing artists could not achieve the degree of musical expression of most other instruments. The artistic desire for more controlled expression led directly to the invention of the piano, on which the artist could alter the loudness and tone with the force of his/her fingers.The first piano appeared in Italy sometime around 1693, originally named the gravicembolo col piano e forte (the harpsichord with loud and soft). An Italian harpsichord-maker named Bartolomeo Cristofori replaced harpsichord's jacks with leather covered hammers, activated by a remarkable mechanical system. Where the harpsichord could only make a string produce one sound, the new piano could be played loud or soft, make dynamic accents, and could produce gradations of sounds. Even though this new invention attracted little attention at the time (because of the existing popularity of the harpsichord), the piano would captivate the world in the years to come. Cristofori made only two pianos before he died in 1731, but an article was written about the new invention, and the article made it's way to Germany. There, an organ-builder named Gottfried Silbermann read the article and became fascinated with the idea of a modified harpsichord.Additionally, Silbermann had recently seen a performance dedicated to Louis XIV which included a piece of music...

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