A Brief History of the Piano

A Brief History of the Piano Picture Credit: Bommel2012

In many countries of the world, among a number of musical instruments, the piano has become most popular. The piano had several predecessors.

Harpsichord is one of the most beautiful and richly decorated instruments. The sophisticated shape of the body of harpsichord, reminiscent of the wing of the bird, was often adorned with magnificent painting and incrustation of precious wood, and subsequently moved to the piano.

In the 15th and 18th centuries, this instrument became very popular in England, France and Italy. In these countries there were well-developed composing and performing schools. The harpsichord sounded there as a solo and ensemble instrument. Among the harpsichord-composers are the well-known names of W. Bjord, J. Chambonier, F. Cooperien, J. F. Ramo, D. Scarlatti. At the end of the XVIII century. due to the lack of melodic, prolonged sound, the harpsichord began to go out of use.

Another forerunner of the piano was a clavichord – string strike instrument. Compared to the harpsichord, the sound of the keyboard was rather mild. The tool was distributed in the XV-XIX centuries. and was used predominantly in solo chamber music.

Today, the harpsichord and clavichord can be found in museums and hear at concerts of ancient music.
In the XVIII century, in about 1709 – 1711, the Italian master Bartolomeo Christopher created a piano. Interesting is the fact that almost simultaneously this instrument was also invented by Jean Marius in France and Gottlieb Schrieb in Germany. The very first models of the piano, in comparison with modern instruments, sound more subtle and tender. The new tool provided the opportunity to diversify the power and character of the sound depending on the quality of the impact (touch) to the key.

The demand for the piano constantly increased and this led to the appearance of the XVIII century piano factories.

Modern instruments are quite sonorous and powerful and can sometimes function as a whole orchestra. Previously, the sound was limited by the design of a wooden frame, on which the strings were attached. The tree is not as solid material as metal. Therefore, a real revolutionary invention was the use by the Americans in 1850 of a cast-iron frame that could withstand a load of 30 tons. It enriched the sound of the instrument and made it possible to make the play of pianists virtuoso.

Inventions and improvements

Picture Credit: PIRO4D

With the growing popularity of piano composers and pianists produced their own distinctive individual style. Each talented musician discovered the new sounds of this instrument.

The first musical compositions written for the piano belong to J. Haydn, VA Mozart, L. Beethoven. The true flowering of piano art dates back to the XIX – XX centuries. In different countries there are brilliant pianists, composers create a huge number of wonderful works. Sometimes the composers themselves were brilliant pianists and the first performers of their own works. Among them should be the names of L. Beethoven, F. Chopin.

It is worth noting that the piano in music practice is used not only as a solo, but also as an ensemble and orchestra instrument. With a special expressiveness, his voice sounds in the genre of the concert. After all, one of the meanings of the word translated from Latin sounds like “competition”. The classical version of the concert is “competing” the timbre diversity and colorfulness of the whole orchestra and the virtuosity of the instrument on which the solo performs. There is a lot of concerts in the musical literature, in which the instrument on which the solo performs is a piano.

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