MUSIC THROUGH THE AGES

Development Of The Piano: A Timeline
Tracing the roots of the piano to the very beginning of consciousness,
when man first became aware of sound.
EVOLUTION OF THE INSTRUMENT
Page 2 of 6 pages

Hurdy Gurdy, Germanic National Museum in Nuremberg, 1700. [ 1 ]

Hurdy-gurdy, (organistrum), a medieval stringed instrument comprised of melody and drone strings, a keyboard (made of tangents), and a resin-coated wheel (performing much like a bow), refined with many variants throughout Europe to be performed by a single player, producing a constant drone and capable of sounding two or more simultaneous notes.

Omen - Guilhem Desq (Hurdy Gurdy). [ 2 ]

Hurdy Gurdy - Demonstrated & Played by Matthias Loibner. [ 3 ]

Break Your Crank - Guilhem Desq (Electric Hurdy Gurdy). [ 4 ]


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Anagoria.  "Hurdy Gurdy, 1700."  Photograph.  Original in the Germanic National Museum, Nuremberg.  Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 1 May 2013.  Web.  18 June 2015. GFDL, and CC BY 3.0
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HudryGuigui.  "'Omen' – Guilhem Desq (Hurdy Gurdy)."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 23 June 2013.  Web.  14 Oct. 2015.  Standard YouTube License.
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rayjayvids.  "HURDY GURDY Demonstrated & Played by Matthias Loibner."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 8 July 2011.  Standard YouTube License.
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HurdyGuigi.  "'Break Your Crank' – Guilhem Desq (Electric Hurdy Gurdy)."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 19 June 2015.  Web.  14 Oct. 2015.  Standard YouTube License.

Detail of The Queen Melisende Psalter, c.1139. [ 1 ]

As with many early representations of instruments, the dulcimer may be first seen in The Queen Melisende Psalter, c.1139, a “12th century carved ivory book-cover made in Byzantium for Melisende, the wife of Fulk V of Anjou, King of Jerusalem.” [ 2 ] There is some doubt regarding the claim, as no mention of the instrument is recorded for another 300 years.

California - Joni Mitchell & Dulcimer Detail. [ 3 ]

Led Zeppelin: 'Whole Lotta Love'
- On Dulcimer. [ 4 ]


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Medieval Manuscripts.  "Psalter (The ‘Melisende Psalter’)."  Scan/Photograph from Egerton MS 1139The British Library Board.  The British Library Board, 12 Aug 2013.  Web.  21 Aug 2015.  No Known Copyright Issues.
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Blanton, Nicholas.  "The Origin of the Hammered Dulcimer Finally Not Explained."  Dulcimer Players News.  Vol. 27 No. 2.  Spring 2001.  issuu.  Web. 14 Sept. 2015.
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Siquomb1.  "Joni Mitchell & Dulcimer Detail – California."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 12 June 2010.  Web.  14 Oct. 2015.  Standard YouTube License.
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ContemporaryDulcimer.  "Led Zeppelin – 'Whole Lotta Love' – on Dulcimer."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 10 May 2014.  Web. 14 Oct. 2015. Standard YouTube License.

The keyed monochord, an evolution of the ancient teaching instrument, requiring the performer to either touch, pluck, hammer or bow on a single string while manipulating keys.

 

Playing a Keyed Monochord. [ 2 ]

 

Keyed Monochord (Monocorde de Poussot), Musical Instrument Museum of Phoenix, 1883. [ 1 ]


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Meyers, Tashaila Nichole and Argon233.  "Monochord de Poussot, Located at Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix."  Photograph.  Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 26 April 2011.  Web. 14 Sept. 2015.  CC BY-SA 3.0
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ShapeChangingInstruments.  "Playing a Keyed Monochord."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 12 April 2015.  Web. 14 Oct. 2015.  Standard YouTube License.

Symphonia Cantiga 160 – Cantigas de Sta. Maria
of Alfonso X the Wise,
Codex de El Escorial, 1221-1284
. [ 1 ]

The chifonie (or symphonia), a modified Hurdy-gurdy (and variant of the solo organistrum), refined into a portable, single player instrument, and predominantly used for secular music.

 

Chifonie Médiévale. [ 2 ]

 


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Grosasm.  "Symphonia de Cantiga 160, Cantigas de Sta. María de Alfonso X El Sabio, Códice de El Escorial (1221-1284), photographed by G. Rosa."  Photograph.  Commons Wikiemdia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 17 Oct. 2006.  Web.  9 Oct. 2015.  GFDL, and CC BY-SA 3.0
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Michautable.  "Chifonie Médiévale."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 17 March 2014.  Web.  14 Oct. 2015.  Standard YouTube License.

English Citole, c. 1300, Remodelled as a Violin in the 16th Century. [ 1 ]

Unlike the psaltery and dulcimer, the citole was played with fingers instead of a plectrum. Carved from a single piece of wood and shaped like a ‘holly-leaf,’ the British Museum houses the only surviving instrument.


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Romainbehar.  "English Citole, c. 1300, Remodeled as a violin in the 16th C."  Photograph.  Original in the British Museum, London.  Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 19 May 2008.  Web.  5 Oct. 2015.  Public Domain. 

Before the emergence of the clavichord, a small oblong box called a clavicytherium appeared (the earliest surviving example of this stringed keyboard instrument arguably originated from Ulm and was adorned with elaborate decorations and carvings, c1480). Comprised of catgut strings configured in the shape of a half-triangle, it produced sounds by the use of quill-plectra crudely attached to the keys.

 

Scarlatti, 'Sonata in G, K. 260,' Played by Ryan Layne Whitney on a Sørli Clavicytherium. [ 2 ]

 

Clavicytherium by Albert Delin in the Musical Instruments Museum, Brussels, 1751. [ 1 ]


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chibicode.  “Clavicytherium by Albert Delin, Located in the Musical Instruments Museum, Brussels, 1751.”  Photograph.  Flickr.  Flickr, a Yahoo Company 30 May 2015.  Web.  9 Oct. 2015.  CC BY-SA 2.0
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teafruitbat.  “Ryan Layne Whitney: Sacrlatti, Sonata in G, K. 260, on Sørli Clavicytherium.”  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 13 Oct. 2010.  Web.  14 Sept. 2015.  Standard YouTube License.
Additional References:
  • Wells, Elizabeth.  "Museum of Instruments: Catalogue, Part II Keyboard Instruments."  Center for Performance History.  Royal College of Music, 2005 – 2007.  Web.  14 Sept. 2015.

The 'Lépante' Clavichord - Musée de la Musique - Paris. [ 1 ]

From the monochord comes the small, delicate-sounding keyboard called the clavichord, or clavicordium, at first comprised of no more than 10 fretted strings serving multiple keys (with non-fretted models arriving later). Highly portable but unable to project sound effectively, it was used as an intimate private or practice instrument.

 

From the Clavichord to the Modern Piano - Part 1 of 2. [ 2 ]

 
To produce a tone, each key, when depressed, caused a tangent to strike a pair of strings, which determined the pitch based on their distance from the bridge. Since more than one tangent might utilize a pair of strings, only one note could be played at a time. Known for its soft tone, the instrument’s dynamic range offered the performer exquisite control and expressiveness of sound.


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Janot, Gérard.  "The ‘Lépante’ Clavichord, Musée de la Musique – Paris."  Photograph.  Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 25 Feb. 2005.  Web.  14 Sept. 2015.  CC BY-SA 3.0
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BaroqueBand.  "From the Clavichord to the Modern Piano – Part 1 of 2."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 8 March 2010.  Web.  14 Sept. 2015.  Standard YouTube License.

 

Clavicymbalum a Martelli. [ 1 ]

 
Another of the earliest ancestors of the harpsichord, the clavicymbalum had attached keys but no dampers. It was referred to as a monochordium by Johanness de Muris in a latin treatise, Musica Speculativa, as having the familiar triangular form with one curved side.


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Bartoccini, Marius.  "‪Arnault de Zwolle: Clavicymbalum a Martelli."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 20 June 2015.  Web.  13 Oct. 2015.  Standard YouTube License.

The chekker appears, an unidentified English stringed keyboard instrument, debatably a clavichord or upright harpsichord, regarded in some circles as myth.

The large organ in Halberstadt, Germany, was the first instrument to implement a "chromatic key layout across its three manuals and pedalboard."

Page 2 of 6 pages

[ CLOSE ]
 

Additional References:
  • Mastehead Image: O’Donnell, Dylan.  "Piano Strings."  Photograph.  Deography.  Dylan O’Donnell, 1 Nov. 2010.  Web.  18 June 2015.  Public Domain.
  • Mandalatrece, Jim Doney.  "History of an Ascended Master, His Connection with Essenes, and The Secrecy of The Kanon."  ThaKanon.  Jim Doney Mandalatrece, n.d.  Web.  18 June 2015.
  • Blaise, Gary.  "The Early String Keyboards."  Gary Blaise.  Gary Blaise Early Keyboard Instruments, n.d.  Web.  18 June 2015.
  • "History of Classical Music."  Naxos.  Naxos Digital Services Ltd., n.d.  Web.  18 June 2015.
  • "History of the Piano."  Piano Technicians Guild.  Piano Technicians Guild, Inc. n.d.  Web.  18 June 2015.
  • "Development of the Piano."  Bluebook of Piano.  Bluebook of Pianos, 1933 – 2015.  18 June 2015.
  • Estrella, Steven G.  "Stylistic Timeline of Music History."  Steven Estrella.  Steven G. Estrella, 2013.  Web.  18 June 2015.
  • "The History of Graphical Music Notation."  Block Museum.  Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, n.d.  Web.  18 June 2015.
  • "The Piano Time Line: A Chronological History."  Concert Pitch Piano.  Concert Pitch Piano Services, 2000 – 2015.  Web.  18 June. 2015.
  • "History of the Piano."  Piano Tuners.  The UK Piano Pages, 1996 – 2015.  Web.  18 June. 2015.
  • Weinstock, Ron.  "A Personal List of Ten Great Blues Pianists."  In a Blue Mood.  In a Blue Mood, 25 Sept. 2009.  Web.  18 June 2015.
  • "Romantic Music."  Essential Humanities.  Essential Humanities, 2008 – 2013.  Web.  19 June 2015.
  • "List of Romantic-Era Composers."  Wikipedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 15 Sept. 2015.  Web.  18 Sept. 2015.
  • Duchen, Jessica.  "Top 20: The World’s Greatest Pianists."  Sinfini Music.  Sinfini Music, 23 April 2014.  Web.  18 June 2015.
  • Solomon, Jon.  "The Ten Best Jazz Pianists of All Time."  Westword.  Denver Westword, LLC., 27 Aug. 2013.  18 June 2015.
  • Sturm, Connie Arrau, Debra Brubaker Burs, and Anita Jackson, eds.  "Annotated Bibliography of Sources on the History of Piano Technique and Piano Pedagogy."  Piano Technique.  Piano Technique.Net, n.d.  Web.  18 June 2015.
  • Groves Music Online for Music Research.  Oxford Music Online.  Oxford University Press, 2007 – 2015.  Web.  June – December 2015.
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