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