History of the Piano

The creation of the piano can be traced back to Italy in 1709. Bartolomeo di Francesco Cristofori was a harpsichord maker. The harpsichord is just one of many keyboards and stringed musical instruments that came before the piano. People have known since prehistoric times that a string that is drawn taut and vibrates can create sound. These strings were attached to boxes, bows, and gourds to amplify the sound they make. These instruments were commonly fastened by pins, ties, and pegs. They were struck, plucked, and bowed to make the sound.


The harpsichord was specifically important to the development of the piano. This instrument has the ability to make a sound that’s louder than any of its other predecessors. Cristofori named the new invention he made the gravicembalo col piano e forte, which translates to “soft and loud keyboard instrument.” Over the years, the name was shortened to pianoforte or fortepiano before being ultimately shortened to piano. 


While there have been many improvements to the original invention over the past 300 years, the modern piano is remarkably similar to Cristofori’s original creation.


New Technology in Pianos


The present is an extremely exciting time for those who play, own, or want to buy a piano. Whether you’re looking for some software that can record your music or are choosing between a traditional piano or digital instrument, there has never been as many choices as there are now.


Player Pianos


Player pianos are also known as “reproducing pianos.”  This type of instrument is the updated version of the paper-roll player piano that people commonly see in old movies. Player pianos have become trendier over the past decade. They’re not digital instruments, which are also popular in today’s music community. They’re real, acoustic pianos equipped with strings and hammers that can be played but can also use their electronic technology to play themselves.


Player pianos take cues from internal memory systems, floppy discs, or specially formatted compact discs. These systems can play back recorded performances with much more accuracy and authenticity than other types of recordings.


Player pianos are extremely useful. They allow people who don’t play the piano to enjoy piano music whenever they like. More importantly, they help out those who actually do play piano. These systems allow the player to record their own music, aid in piano lessons, and interface with computers.


Digital Pianos


When some people think of digital pianos, they think of just plain keyboards. They are much more than that. Digital pianos that are produced by some of the top piano brands have sophisticated, sample piano sounds that are often taken from top models.


Digital pianos are driven by software. The software makes it interesting for young beginners who are just starting out. Some keyboards, for example, light up the keys to help you learn. Some have learning programs built-in that utilize an on-screen display to help students learn. 


The Future of Pianos


The advancements that have been happening to the piano spell out a bright future for the musical instrument. While there haven’t been any great pianists that have stood out above the rest for contemporary music, the piano is still an instrument that is loved by many and an essential part of the musical world. 

© Dave The Piano Man