MUSIC THROUGH THE AGES

Development Of The Piano: A Timeline
Tracing the roots of the piano to the very beginning of consciousness,
when man first became aware of sound.
PIANO MAKERS & BRANDS
Page 1 of 7 pages

Pianoforte by Bartolomeo Cristofori - Florence, Italy, 1720. [ 1 ]

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.’

Cristofori Piano: Sonata K.9 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performed by Dongsok Shin. [ 2 ]

The Difference Between Fortepiano and Piano (Forte). [ 3 ]

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.


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Under License, Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY.
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  "Cristofori Piano: Sonata K.9 by Domenico Scarlatti, Performed by Dongsok Shin."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 29 July 2006.  Web.  16 Oct. 2015.  Standard YouTube License.
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ear8002.  "The Difference Between Fortepiano and Piano(Forte)."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 13 Oct. 2012.  Web.  16 Oct. 2015.  Standard YouTube License.
Additional References:
  • 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.

Stein Nameboard Plaque. [ 1 ]

Johann (Georg) Andreas Stein (1728 – 1792) – German Keyboard Instrument Maker, Organist, whose many experimental contributions to the piano rival its inventor, Bartolomeo Cristofori.


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mattes.  “Frère et Soeur Stein Augsbourg à Vienne“ an einem Instrument – Basil, Musikmuseum.”  Photograph.  Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 28 Sept. 2012.  Web.  5 Feb. 2016.  CC BY 2.0 DE
Additional References:
  • Latcham, Michael.  "Stein, Johann (Georg) Andreas."  Oxford Music Online.  Oxford University Press, 2007 – 2015.  Web.  14 Sept. 2015.

Kirkman Piano. [ 1 ]

Kirkman established by German born Jacob Kirchmann (1710 – 1792) (Changed his name to Kirkman) in London – Builder of harpsichords and pianos.


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Hannay, Rob.  "Kirkman!"  Photograph.  Flickr.  Flickr, a Yahoo Company, 7 Jan. 2012.  Web.  13 Oct. 2015.  CC BY-SA 2.0
Additional References:
  • "Kirkman."  Antique Piano Shop.  Antique Piano Shop, n.d.  Web.  14 Sept 2015.
  • Palmieri, Robert, ed.  The Piano: An Encyclopedia.  2nd Edition.  New York: Routledge, June 1, 2004.  Google Books.  Web. 14 Sept. 2015.

Johann (Georg) Andreas Stein believed to have been an apprentice at the Silberman workshop in Strasbourg (1748 – 1749).


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Additional References:
  • Latcham, Michael.  "Stein, Johann (Georg) Andreas."  Oxford Music Online.  Oxford University Press, 2007 – 2015.  Web.  15 Sept. 2015.

In London, at the age of 33, J.C. Bach performed the first public recital on a piano, a square grand built by Johannes Zumpe.

Mozart praised the Stein piano for its knee-levers, allowing the composer to operate the dampers without removing his hands from the keyboard; and also for their escapement, which the piano maker had not quite perfected.

In a letter to his father, Leopold, he wrote:

In whatever way I touch the keys, the tone is always even. It never jars, it is never stronger or weaker or entirely absent; in a word, it is always even. It is true that he does not sell a pianoforte of this kind for less than three hundred gulden, but the trouble and the labour which Stein puts into the making of it cannot be paid for. [ 1 ]


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Palmieri, Robert, ed.  The Piano: An Encyclopedia.  2nd Edition.  New York: Routledge, June 1, 2004: pg. 240.  Google Books.  Web. 14 Sept. 2015.

Érard built his first five-octave bichord piano (presumably based on the Zumpe Square) for the Duchesse de Villeroy.


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Additional References:
  • Macnutt, Richard.  "Erard."  Oxford Music Online.  Oxford University Press, 2007 – 2015.  Web.  14 Sept. 2015.

Érard built a harpsichord known as the clavecin mécanique. Soon after he started successfully marketing his five-octave pianos.

“German action,” or Prellmechanik, ascribed to Johann Stein, first conceived as early as 1769 and refined during the 1770s.  By 1781, hammers mounted directly on the keys.

Overwhelmed by all the requests, Érard and his brother, Jean-Baptiste Érard (1749 – 1826), opened a shop together, eventually calling it Érard Fréres (also known as the house of Érard). Over the years, Érard obtained numerous patents on the pianoforte and harp.

Page 1 of 7 pages

[ CLOSE ]
 

Additional References:
  • Mastehead Image: O’Donnell, Dylan.  "Piano Strings."  Photograph.  Deography.  Dylan O’Donnell, 1 Nov. 2010.  Web.  18 June 2015.  Public Domain.
  • Mandalatrece, Jim Doney.  "History of an Ascended Master, His Connection with Essenes, and The Secrecy of The Kanon."  ThaKanon.  Jim Doney Mandalatrece, n.d.  Web.  18 June 2015.
  • Blaise, Gary.  "The Early String Keyboards."  Gary Blaise.  Gary Blaise Early Keyboard Instruments, n.d.  Web.  18 June 2015.
  • "History of Classical Music."  Naxos.  Naxos Digital Services Ltd., n.d.  Web.  18 June 2015.
  • "History of the Piano."  Piano Technicians Guild.  Piano Technicians Guild, Inc. n.d.  Web.  18 June 2015.
  • "Development of the Piano."  Bluebook of Piano.  Bluebook of Pianos, 1933 – 2015.  18 June 2015.
  • Estrella, Steven G.  "Stylistic Timeline of Music History."  Steven Estrella.  Steven G. Estrella, 2013.  Web.  18 June 2015.
  • "The History of Graphical Music Notation."  Block Museum.  Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, n.d.  Web.  18 June 2015.
  • "The Piano Time Line: A Chronological History."  Concert Pitch Piano.  Concert Pitch Piano Services, 2000 – 2015.  Web.  18 June. 2015.
  • "History of the Piano."  Piano Tuners.  The UK Piano Pages, 1996 – 2015.  Web.  18 June. 2015.
  • Weinstock, Ron.  "A Personal List of Ten Great Blues Pianists."  In a Blue Mood.  In a Blue Mood, 25 Sept. 2009.  Web.  18 June 2015.
  • "Romantic Music."  Essential Humanities.  Essential Humanities, 2008 – 2013.  Web.  19 June 2015.
  • "List of Romantic-Era Composers."  Wikipedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 15 Sept. 2015.  Web.  18 Sept. 2015.
  • Duchen, Jessica.  "Top 20: The World’s Greatest Pianists."  Sinfini Music.  Sinfini Music, 23 April 2014.  Web.  18 June 2015.
  • Solomon, Jon.  "The Ten Best Jazz Pianists of All Time."  Westword.  Denver Westword, LLC., 27 Aug. 2013.  18 June 2015.
  • Sturm, Connie Arrau, Debra Brubaker Burs, and Anita Jackson, eds.  "Annotated Bibliography of Sources on the History of Piano Technique and Piano Pedagogy."  Piano Technique.  Piano Technique.Net, n.d.  Web.  18 June 2015.
  • Groves Music Online for Music Research.  Oxford Music Online.  Oxford University Press, 2007 – 2015.  Web.  June – December 2015.
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