Tracing the roots of the piano to the very beginning of consciousness, when man first became aware of sound.
1768, Bach Zumpe Recital
In London, at the age of 33, J.C. Bach performed the first public recital on a piano, a square grand built by Johannes Zumpe.
Sébastien Érard (1752 – 1831) arrived in Paris. He apprenticed under a harpsichord-maker until his talents surpassed his master, which led to his subsequent release. He then worked for another instrument-maker who commissioned him to build an instrument that would be hailed by all of Paris. With his reputation cemented, the Duchesse de Villeroy became his patron and provided him with a workshop, fulfilling Érard’s desire to remain independent.
- "Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History." Met Museum. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000 – 2015. Web. 15 Sept. 2015.
- Centre Sébastien Erard. Centre Sébastien Erard, n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2015.
- Waller, John Francis, et al. The Imperial Dictionary of Universal Biography: A Series of Original Memoirs of Distinguished Men, of All Ages and All Nations, Part 4. Edinburgh: William Mackenzie, 1857. Google Books. Web. 15 Sept 2015.
- Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers: A Comprehensive History of the Development of the Piano from the Monochord to the Concert Grand Player Piano, Volume 1. Covina: Covina Publishing Company, 1911. Google Books. Web. 15 Sept. 2015.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827): German Composer, Pianist – Classical / Romantic Period
1771, JB Cramer
Johann Baptist Cramer (1771 – 1858): German Composer, Pianist, Publisher
- Was a pupil of Clementi.
- He owned an instrument manufacturing and music publishing firm named J.B. Cramer & Co.
- His most famous work is Studies for the Piano (Studio per il pianoforte) (1804 and 1810), “considered a cornerstone of pianistic technique.” [ 2 ]
1775, Behrent's Forte
It is believed that John Behrent (a German or Swiss immigrant) from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania built the first pianoforte in the United Colonies, soon to be United States of America. The Revolutionary War of Independence presumably preempted any further development of Mr. Behrent manufacturing musical instruments.
- Drummond, Robert Rutherford, Ph.D. Early German Music in Philadelphia. New York: University of Pennsylvania, D. Arthur & Company, publishing agents, 1910. Google Books. Web. 27 Sept. 2019.
Érard built his first five-octave bichord piano (presumably based on the Zumpe Square) for the Duchesse de Villeroy.
- Macnutt, Richard. "Erard." Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, 2007 – 2015. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.
1777, Stein Praise From Mozart
Mozart praised the Stein piano for its knee-levers, allowing the composer to operate the dampers without removing his hands from the keyboard; and also for their escapement, which the piano maker had not quite perfected.
In a letter to his father, Leopold, he wrote:
Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778 – 1837): Pressburg born Austrian Pianist Prodigy, Composer, Teacher, Conductor – Classical Period
- Student of Mozart, Haydn & probably Clementi.
- Considered a rival of Beethoven’s.
- “What kind of teacher was Hummel? They found a kind and caring teacher who could guide them through every aspect of piano performance with thoroughness, clarity, and experience. Moreover, they found in Hummel a future mentor and loyal friend. In other words, they got Hummel the artist and the man.” [ 2 ]
- His piano methods are published in the three volume work A Complete Theoretical and Practical Course of Instruction on the Art of Playing Pianoforte, From the First Elementary Instruction on to a Complete Education (Ausführliche theoretisch-practische Anweisung zum Piano-Forte-Spiel, vom ersten Elementar-Unterrichte an, bis zur vollkommensten Ausbildung.) (1828). Comprised of 2000 exercises with advice for parents and teachers as well as posture, position, note reading, finger exercises, and style, theory, “it remains one of the most important sources of information about the late Viennese style of performing…” and is considered a “pianistic bible for generations.” [ 3 ]
- As a teacher he was concerned with voice, texture and fingering, and used his own compositions for instruction.
- Some of his pupils: Ferdinand Hiller (1811 – 1885), Julius Benedict, and Eugénie Beer.
- Influenced Chopin and Mendelssohn.
- Dubal, David. The Art of the Piano: Its Performers, Literature, and Recordings. Revised and Expanded Edition. New Jersey: Amadeus Press, LLC, 2004. Google Books. Web. 15 Sept. 2015.
- "The Hummel Project." J.N. Hummel. Orpheus & Bacchus, 2009. Web. 15 Sept. 2015.
Érard built a harpsichord known as the clavecin mécanique. Soon after he started successfully marketing his five-octave pianos.
1781, House Érard
Overwhelmed by all the requests, Érard and his brother, Jean-Baptiste Érard (1749 – 1826), opened a shop together, eventually calling it Érard Fréres (also known as the house of Érard). Over the years, Érard obtained numerous patents on the pianoforte and harp.