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The Brief History of Piano

10 January 2019

Piano, or pianoforte, is a musical instrument invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori in Italy. How did this beautiful and elegant instrument become the backbone of modern day popular music? Well, hop on the board, you're about to take a closer look to the history of piano with musiconline .

The term pianoforte itself dates back to 18th century. It is a mixture of the two latin words, used to describe the velocity of the sound, "piano" and "forte". The detailed process of making a piano and its material is a huge topic itself so we will not cover that. For now, it is enough for you to know that piano is an instrument, used to produce sounds with vibrating strings by hitting buttons.

Beethoven, Chopin, Lizst, Handel, Haydn and many more... Piano was the favorite of almost every big name. Speaking of names, modern day piano owes a lot of names, not simply Cristofori.

Take Gottfried Silbermann, a well known organ producer of his era. Silbermann implemented the damper pedal to Cristofori's design and showed to Johann Sebastian Bach. However, Bach is said to be "disappointed" with the new design and told Silbermann to find a solution for higher notes. This criticism was taken into consideration by Silbermann indeed and he came with a new revision.

Modern piano is shaped mostly during 1790-1860, also described as Mozart Era. Industrial Revolution's effects reached out to music, just like any other aspect of society and life for the time. This change shaped the way music's used, produced and consumed, forever.

With relatively easier access to strong materials like iron, piano gained a new look and character and Broadwood style has come into play. Mainly influenced named after Broadwood Brothers, Broadwood pianos were sturdy against harder hits, compared to Vienna style. Vienna style pianos were known for their delicacy and ability to produce "softer" sounds.

Paris, was the center of attention about piano during 19th century. This was mainly because well known names like Frederic Chopin and Franz Liszt chose to practice and perform with French brand Pleyel.

After small tweaks and improvements made by creative geniuses, Sebastien Erard, Henri Herz, Jean-Henri Pape and Jean-Louis Boisselot; Steinway captured the main spot in 1874.

Officially called as Steinway & Sons, Steinway was founded by German piano producer Heinrich Engelhard Steinway in 1850's Manhattan. Steinway's sales and brand awareness peaked after opening facilities in New York and Hamburg.

With improved technology, electric painos and MIDI (Musical Interface Digital Interface) got more and more accessible and now it's easier than ever to play piano than ever. You don't even need a physical one, actually. What a time to be alive!

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