History Of The Piano

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

Early 1100s, Hurdy-Gurdy
1157, Keyed Monochord

Early 1100s, Organistrum

Sculpture of an organistrum in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
Elders Playing an Organistrum, Santiago de Compostela, Spain. 1

The organistrum, an early, larger form of the hurdy-gurdy (possibly inspired by the fiddle), shaped like a guitar but with a long, wide neck for keys, requiring two players (one pulled keys in an upward motion to change the pitch of the melody string while the other cranked a small wheel to produce a continuous sound on two drone strings). Thought to be the first use of the principle of a keyboard. A 13th century treatise on the construction of an organistrum, describes an instrument having eight tangents set at intervals based on Pythagorean principles.

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The Community of Lisberg Play an Organistrum. 2
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Organistrum Concert in the Church of Santa Maria de Albarracín. 3

Page Sources

JoJan.  "Organistrumsantiago."  Photograph.  Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 14 April 2006.  Web. 14 Sept. 2015.  GFDL, and CC BY-SA 3.0.
Haynes, Richard.  "Organistrum Clip."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 7 April 2012.  Web.  14 Oct. 2015.  Standard YouTube License.
rotamundi1953.  "Organistrum."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 5 March 2009.  Web.  14 Oct. 2015.  Standard YouTube License.
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