The History of the Piano: Early Inventions and the Evolution of the Whole Pages of Instrumental Innovation

The History of the Piano: Early Inventions and the Evolution of the Whole Pages of Instrumental Innovation

KOMPAS.com The history of the piano goes back to 3 centuries ago. During that period, this instrument was one of the most popular in the world even when it entered the fourth century of its existence.

Although the piano is now a very popular musical instrument in homes, it has the most complex mechanical equipment and is able to satisfy every style of the musician’s demand.

With each development since its invention, the piano is increasingly capable of providing infinite nuances of expression, volume, and duration.

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In the centuries before the invention of the piano, there were originally two keyboards in widespread use since the 14th century, the Clavichord and the Harpsichord.

But each instrument has its own strengths, which makes it common only to certain music venues and styles.

The harpsichord does not control the dynamics, or how loud or soft the instrument can sound.

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While the Clavichord sounds very subtle and is often overpowered by other instrument sounds. This is what eventually led to the creation of the piano.

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Three centuries ago, piano history began when Italian Harpsichord maker, Bartolomeo Cristofori, made a technological breakthrough.

Bartolomeo Christofor was a maker and preserver of the harpsichord in the Medici, a wealthy 15th century Italian noble family.

Cristofor created a new mechanism for Harpsichord, which gave him the ability to play instruments with dynamic variations.

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Decide instead of playing the strings as in Harpsichord, the instrument will create more difference in the dynamics if the strings are hit with a hammer.

His innovations led to major changes in the interior of early pianos and the subsequent development of the instrument.

Christofori’s original instrument in 1700 was called a “pianoforte” (or in Italian: clavicembalo col piano e forte, which means harpsichord that can play more naturally and more forcefully).

There are only three types of pianos made by Cristofori that have survived today, all made in the 1720s. However, the sound of the piano is still very different from the modern sound that is popular now.

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Popular Vienna Piano

The word piano was widely used in 1732 when the name piano was shortened.

Despite the interest in the piano, it took nearly 50 years for this instrument to become very popular. At the end of the eighteenth century, piano production began to spread throughout Europe.

Each country that manufactures piano has its own distinctive design. Pianos from England have a heavier mechanism and a higher volume. On the other hand, the Austrian piano has a lighter mechanism and a softer sound.

Viennese pianos are famous for their wooden frames, with two strings for each note and a leather-covered mallet.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is said to prefer playing the Viennese piano, which has a softer tone than modern ones.

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Sebastian Errard

For decades, from the late eighteenth century to the early nineteenth century, instrument makers in Europe continued to improve the mechanics and structure of their piano products.

But no single innovation had the same effect as Cristofori, until Sebastien Errard of Paris invented the “double escape” or the ring mechanism.

This revolutionary idea, patented in 1821, allowed the hammer to strike the strings again before returning the keys to their original position, enabling rapid repetition.

The expansion of venues and concert halls gave rise to larger orchestras, and thus the need for louder instruments. Toolmakers throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries continued Christofori’s search for structural answers to the problem of producing more volumes.

The strings become heavier, which increases the tension of the frame. Iron bars were added to the wooden frame, and the entire structure became stronger and heavier.

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grand piano

In 1825, an early American piano maker named Alpheus Babcock was granted a patent for inventing an entire cast-iron plate for a square piano, thus removing string tension from the wooden case.

Jonas Checkering, who opened his piano company in Boston in 1823, developed Babcock’s work with full iron frames for grand pianos.

Not all pianos have the same number of keys on the keyboard. The most common number of keys is 88, i.e. 52 white keys (natural) and 36 black keys.

The majority of old pianos are somewhat smaller than modern ones, so they only have 85 keys.

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However, some manufacturers are thinking more and have produced pianos with an additional number of keys. For example, the Imperial Bosendorfer has nine additional keys with a capacity of 8 octaves.

Their pianos often have covers that can cover the extra keys, if the pianist is not accustomed to playing such a piano, or the keys can be made in a different color.

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Another manufacturer, Stuart and Sons, makes 102 piano keys. Here, the additional keys are visually no different from the usual ones. Meanwhile, Piano Manufacturer Schoenhut specializes in producing mini pianos with 44 or 49 keys.

This version of the piano later became very popular with aspiring pianists, who wanted to enjoy all the advantages of having this instrument at home, but did not have enough space for a larger version of the piano.

Sales of piano increased from only a few thousand in 1850 to 365,000 in 1909. Then piano was produced in refined form and factories flourished.

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