When Was the Piano Invented? The History of the Piano


hi this is Robert Esther and that living

pianist calm your online piano store

with a viewer question when was the

piano invented you'd think this would be

a simple question and in fact if you

google it you probably come across the


Bartolomeo Cristofori because he is

credited with inventing the piano

however if you were to see the

instrument that he actually invented you

would think this is a piano because it

was far different from the modern piano

we all know and love so what is it that

he did where he's credited with

inventing the piano back in around the

Year 1700 at the end of the 1600s well

Christopher was actually a harpsichord

builder that's right he made

harpsichords he decided to try a new

technology which had never been done

before which is building a harpsichord

with loud and soft a trembler Forte

piano which is how we even come by the

name piano today the translation from

the Italian and the way he did it was

the harpsichord plucked the strings and

you got a very vibrant tone which is why

that was the keyboard of choice because

other keyboards other than the organ

which was a fully developed instrument

at the time instruments you know like

the virginal and the clavichord were so

delicate and toned that they really

couldn't be used in performance or with

other musicians because they weren't

loud enough well the problem would be

plucking the strings is you get no

dynamics that is to say on a harpsichord

pushing the key with great force or very

lightly produces exactly the same volume

so by using a hammer action a very

primitive mechanism but indeed a hammer

action it was possible in the very early

piano that Christopher he made or the

harpsichord whittle soft and loud you

were able to get dynamics

however the harpsichord grew over

centuries during Beethoven's lifetime it

was quite different from Beethoven's

early years to his middle years to his

later years the instrument kept

developing you can even see in his

writing how the keyboard expanded during

that time it's much like today computers

who invented the computer well of course

even go back centuries to mechanical

computers but the earliest computers

that we think of as computers were

vacuum tube computer starting in 1930s

or so by the 1950s or a room was full of

vacuum tubes with people running around

replacing a lot of burnt-out tubes yeah

that was a computer we don't think of

that as a computer today doing so it's

kind of the same thing with a piano and

had a long development it wasn't really

until the 19th century that the piano

came into its own but even in the mid

19th century composers like you know

Chopin and Liszt were writing music that

we play all the time on modern pianos

but their pianos weren't fully modern

the idea of crossing the strings hadn't

really evolved yet or began to evolve

many action parts and the whole design

of the action evolved so the modern

piano really wasn't around until the end

of the 19th century and by the 1870s and

1880s companies like Steinway they were

making fully modern pianos in fact the

models that we have today of Steinway

are virtually the same except for some

additional refinements than the ones

they were producing this basic scale

design was the same as the ones they

were making in the 1880s so a very

complex question

so the piano originally was invented the

very very first pianos around 1600 but

what you and I know and think of as a

piano with the the action with all the

the myriad parts to have the kind of

control and the tone that's possible

with the the what about 12000 parts of

the piano that really came about at the

end of the 1800s I hope this answers

your question it's actually a much more

complicated question you ever thought

right thanks for joining me again robert

estrin here at living pianos calm your

online piano store