History Of The Piano

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

Early 1300s, Clavichord
1323, Clavicymbalum

Early 1300s, Clavicytherium

Clavicytherium instrument built by Albert Delin in 1751, in the Musical Instruments Museum, Brussels, Belgium.
Clavicytherium by Albert Delin, 1775, in the Musical Instruments Museum, Brussels. 1

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.

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Scarlatti's, 'Sonata in G, K. 260,' performed by Ryan Layne Whitney on a Sørli clavicytherium. 2

Page Sources

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.
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.
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