History Of The Piano

Tracing the roots of the piano to the very beginning of consciousness, when man first became aware of sound.

C. 1280, Citole
Early 1300s, Clavicytherium

Early 1300s, Clavichord

Clavichord instrument in the Musée de la Musique, Paris, France.
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.

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From the Clavichord to the Modern Piano. 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.

Page Sources

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
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.
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