Tracing the roots of the piano to the very beginning of consciousness, when man first became aware of sound.
Early 1500s, Virginal
So-called because the instrument was played predominately by ‘maids and young ladies,’ and was the fitting expression for accompanying “sweet voices singing hymns,” the virginal became an improvement on the clavicytherium, replacing its strings with steel and iron instead of catgut. It did not displace the clavichord, though its improvements were evident. Queen Elizabeth possessed several Venetian specimens.
- Victoria and Albert Museum. "'Queen Elizabeth’s Virginal,' Giovanni Baffo, 1594." Victoria and Albert Museum. Victoria and Albert Museum, 2015. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.
- Rimbault, Edward Francis. The Pianoforte, Its Origin, Process, and Construction: With Some Account of the Same Class which Preceded It; Viz. the Clavichord, the Virginal, the Spinet, the Harpsichord, etc.; to which is Added a Selection of Interesting Specimens of Music Composed for Keyed-Stringed Instruments. London: R. Crocks and Company, 1860. Google Books. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.