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.
Page 5 of 28 pages

Pianoforte by Bartolomeo Cristofori - Florence, Italy, 1720. [ 1 ]

The first piano, pianoforte, described as an ‘arpicimbalo ,’ built by Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1732) while he was appointed ‘to the Florentine court of Grand Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici in 1688,’ vastly improved upon the harpsichord and clavichord, ‘with hammers and dampers and two 8′ choirs, having a range of four octaves.’

Cristofori Piano: Sonata K.9 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performed by Dongsok Shin. [ 2 ]

The Difference Between Fortepiano and Piano (Forte). [ 3 ]

His innovations included an “escapement” mechanism to prevent the hammers from dampening the strings, a “backcheck” to ensure the hammer did not fall against the strings after being struck, and a dampening mechanism to silence strings not in use. Other technical advancements included isolating the soundboard from its stress-bearing parts and using thicker strings with increased tension. These numerous refinements expanded the range and versatility of the sound, affording the player an instrument responsive to touch, capable of dynamic gradations.


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Under License, Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY.
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  "Cristofori Piano: Sonata K.9 by Domenico Scarlatti, Performed by Dongsok Shin."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 29 July 2006.  Web.  16 Oct. 2015.  Standard YouTube License.
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ear8002.  "The Difference Between Fortepiano and Piano(Forte)."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 13 Oct. 2012.  Web.  16 Oct. 2015.  Standard YouTube License.
Additional References:
  • O’Brien, Michael.  "Cristofori, Bartolomeo."  Oxford Music Online.  Oxford University Press, 2007 – 2015.  Web.  14 Sept. 2015.
  • Robinson, J. Bradford.  "Pianoforte: History of the Instrument."  Oxford Music Online.  Oxford University Press, 2007 – 2015.  Web.  14 Sept. 2015.

Term Pianoforte ( “soft and loud” ) coined by poet/journalist Scipione Maffei; he named Cristofori’s instrument a “gravicembalo col piano, e forte.”

A Needle on a Tuning Fork Carving Sinewave-Shaped Figures on a Glass Plate
Covered with Carbon Black
. [ 1 ]

Tuning fork invented by British musician John Shore, to overcome the difficulty of tuning his lute.


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Keller, Klaus-Dieter.  "A needle on a tuning fork carved these figures on a glass plate covered with carbon black. As the plate is moved from left to right, the sinewave-shaped swinging motion appears."  Glass Plate.  Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 17 June 2011.  Web.  18 Aug. 2015.  GFDL, and CC BY-SA 3.0

Portrait of Christoph Willibald von Gluck by Joseph-Siffrein Duplessis, 1775. [ 1 ]

Christoph Willibald Ritter von Gluck (1714 – 1787) — Bohemian Composer – Late Baroque / Early Classical Period


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Duplessis, Joseph-Siffrein, and uploaded by DcoetzeeBot.  Christoph Willibald Gluck.  1775.  Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.  Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 10 Oct. 2012.  Web.  14 Sept. 2015.  Public Domain. 

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach by Franz Conrad Löhr. [ 1 ]

C. P. E. Bach (1714 – 1788) — German Composer, Harpsichordist, Organist (Son of JS Bach) – Late Baroque / Early Classical Period

  • His famous treatise Essay on the True Art of Playing the Keyboard Instruments (Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen) (1753) covers technical advice on fingering (helped to standardized the use of the thumb), position & figured bass, improvisation and ornamentation and his philosophy of performance, believing that music should “touch the heart” and “awaken the passions.” “…it was the most important work of practical musical instruction of the second half of the 18th century.” [ 2 ]
  • Mozart once said of him: “Bach is the father. We are the children!”


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Löhr , Franz Conrad, and uploaded by Phrood~commonswiki.  Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.  Gemäldegalerie der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, Berlin.  Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 10 June 2005.  Web.  14 Sept. 2015.  Public Domain.
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Leisinger, Ulrich.  "Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach."  Oxford Music Online.  Oxford University Press, 2007 – 2015.  Web.  14 Sept. 2015.
Additional References:
  • Dammann, Guy.  "CPE Bach: Like father, like son."  The Guardian.  Guardian News and Media Limited, 24 Feb. 2011.  Web.  14 Sept. 2015.
  • "Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714 – 1788)."  Early-Music.  Early~Music, n.d.  Web.  14 Sept. 2015.
  • Leisinger, Ulrich.  "Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach."  Oxford Music Online.  Oxford University Press, 2007 – 2015.  Web.  14 Sept. 2015.

Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg (1718–1795) — German Critic, Journalist, Theorist, Composer – Classical Period

  • Initially interested in discussing how music had an effect on audiences but later shifted and became more concerned about the works themselves & the composer’s relation to the work.
  • Among his many works are topics ranging from teaching keyboard performance, thoroughbass, and composition and fugue.
  • Developed Rameau’s theories.
  • His works used in the study of the history of 18th century music. He had three periodicals in which he wrote and edited: Der critische Musicus an der Spree (1749–50), Historisch-kritische Beyträge zur Aufnahme der Musik (1754–62, 1778), and Kritische Briefe über die Tonkunst (1760–64).

Portrait of Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg – Drawing by Friedrich Kauke, Engraved by Berol. [ 1 ]


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Berol engraving, original painting by Friedrich Kauke, and uploaded by FastilyClone.  Engraving of Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg.  1758.  Gallica – The Digital Library of the National Library of France, Paris.  Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 20 April 2005.  Web.  18 Aug. 2015.  Public Domain. 
Additional References:
  • Serwer, Howard.  "Marpurg, Friedrich Wilhelm."  Oxford Music Online.  Oxford University Press, 2007 – 2015.  Web.  14 Sept. 2015.
  • Johnson, Keith.  "Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg Biography."  AllMusic.  All Media Network, LLC., n.d.  Web.  14 Sept 2014.
  • Pulver, Jeffrey.  "Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg."  The Musical Times.  Vol. 53, No. 832.  1 June 1912.  JSTOR.  Web.  14 Sept. 2015.

Stein Nameboard Plaque. [ 1 ]

Johann (Georg) Andreas Stein (1728 – 1792) – German Keyboard Instrument Maker, Organist, whose many experimental contributions to the piano rival its inventor, Bartolomeo Cristofori.


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mattes.  “Frère et Soeur Stein Augsbourg à Vienne“ an einem Instrument – Basil, Musikmuseum.”  Photograph.  Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 28 Sept. 2012.  Web.  5 Feb. 2016.  CC BY 2.0 DE
Additional References:
  • Latcham, Michael.  "Stein, Johann (Georg) Andreas."  Oxford Music Online.  Oxford University Press, 2007 – 2015.  Web.  14 Sept. 2015.

Kirkman Piano. [ 1 ]

Kirkman established by German born Jacob Kirchmann (1710 – 1792) (Changed his name to Kirkman) in London – Builder of harpsichords and pianos.


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Hannay, Rob.  "Kirkman!"  Photograph.  Flickr.  Flickr, a Yahoo Company, 7 Jan. 2012.  Web.  13 Oct. 2015.  CC BY-SA 2.0
Additional References:
  • "Kirkman."  Antique Piano Shop.  Antique Piano Shop, n.d.  Web.  14 Sept 2015.
  • Palmieri, Robert, ed.  The Piano: An Encyclopedia.  2nd Edition.  New York: Routledge, June 1, 2004.  Google Books.  Web. 14 Sept. 2015.

Portrait of Franz Joseph Haydn by John Hoppner, 1791. [ 1 ]

Joseph Haydn (1732 – 1809) — Austrian Composer – Classical Period


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Hoppner, John, and uploaded by Con2tto~commonswiki.  Portrait of Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809).  1791.  Royal Collection of the United Kingdom, United Kingdom.  Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 8 May 2008.  Web.  15 Sept. 2015.  Public Domain. 

Portrait of Johann Christian Bach by Thomas Gainsborough, 1776. [ 1 ]

John Christian Bach (1735 – 1782) — German Composer (Son of J.S. Bach) – Classical Period


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Gainsborough, Thomas, and uploaded by User:Dcoetzee.  Portrait of Johann Christian Bach.  1776.  National Portrait Gallery, London.  Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 29 March 2009.  Web.  15 Sept. 2015.  Public Domain. 
Page 5 of 28 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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