An Italian inventor and musician, Bartolomeo Cristofori, created the piano about three hundred years ago. Subsequently, it has become the world’s most popular instrument. Bartolomeo Cristofori. The Invention of the Piano.
During the beginning of the 18th century, great attempts were made to adapt the harpsichord. The goal of these efforts was to produce an instrument that gave a dynamic response. In other words, an instrument that created a sound proportionate to the force with which the key was struck.
Inventor of Piano : Bartolomeo Cristofori
It is believed that Bartolomeo Cristofori joined the many harpsichord makers, who were trying to solve this quandary, in 1700. However, it was not until the 1720s that he created an instrument that would be recognizable to the modern eye as a piano.
Unfortunately, very little is known about Cristofori’s early life. He was born in Padua, Italy, in 1655. In 1688, Cristofori was employed in Florence at the court of Prince Ferdinando de Medici. Officially hired as keeper of the instruments, it is believed by some that he was employed as an inventor.
The Invention of the Piano
Historical documents suggest that, by 1711, Cristofori had built three pianos. Two are believed to have been sold in Florence, while the third was taken to Rome and given to Cardinal Ottoboni.
It is thought that Cristofori invented a further two keyboard instruments while working at the Medici court. These instruments were both kept by Price Ferdinando.
The design of Cristofori’s later pianos, built in the 1720s, is surprisingly similar to the modern piano. In fact, in nearly three hundred years, the design of the piano has barely altered.
Bartolomeo Cristofori died in 1731. At this time, his instrument was still secondary to the clavichord and was not particularly popular among musicians or composers. Surprisingly, it was not until almost a hundred years after its invention that the piano became the principal keyboard instrument.
Portrait of Cristofori
In 1726, the only known depiction of Cristofori was painted. The picture portrayed the inventor, holding a sheet of paper, next to one of his famous creations. Sadly, during the Second World War, the portrait was destroyed and, subsequently, only photographs remain.
The Invention of the Upright Piano
Some music historians believe that P. Domenico Del Mela, who had been one of Cristofori’s assistants, developed the upright piano, in 1739. However, these were the very earliest uprights and it was not until the 1780s that Johann Schmidt, in Austria, invented the upright piano that would be recognizable today.
The design of the upright piano was subsequently adapted by placing the strings of the instrument diagonally. This design was created by Thomas Loud in London.