The piano is said to have originated in Italy sometime during the 1700’s in a city called, Florence. The Italian Renaissance existed in this central region of Italy, which is also Tuscany’s capital city. In 1709, Bartolomeo (di Francesco) Cristofori, an Italian harpsichord maker, created the pianoforte. Thereafter, various stringed instruments and keyboards were invented, which led to the development of the piano that everybody knows and loves today.
Bartolomeo Cristofori invented the pianoforte based on the harpsichord, particularly the wooden frame. He employed an incomparable keyboarding device that was similar to the clavichord. In the past 300 years, the piano has had numerous manufacturers and they had done so much to help shape its functionality, sound, and appearance.
However, this does not tell you the entire history of this magnificent musical instrument. Its foundations can be traced back to the initial air-powered and stringed instruments that were used and improved in ancient development.
Back in the primeval times, it is said that a simple pulsating, tight string was able to generate sound. In the prehistoric era, tight strings were affixed and expanded over bows, gourds, and boxes to amplify the resonance. Ties, pegs, and pins fastened these strings, and to generate sounds, these strings were plucked, bowed, or struck. In the fullness of time, a remarkable group of stringed musical instruments was developed in Europe, sometime in the 14th century.
The earliest musical instrument, the dulcimer was a closed, shallow box where wires were stretched over two wooden hammers. Thereafter, you would come across the clavichord and during the 14th century, the gravicembalo, clavecin, virginal, and spinet were constructed. A century later, the harpsichord was created, but it was limited to one, homogeneous volume.
This meant that the loudness and softness were unable to be fluctuated while the instrument was played. Due to this, performing artists during that time were unable to convey the same rating of musical terms akin to other instruments.
The innovators’ creative aspiration to create a more controlled musical instrument led them to the creation of pianos. The piano, as you know, allows players to change the loudness and softness with the force of their delicate fingers. Primarily, the harpsichord was the essential instrument that led to the innovation of this magnificent instrument.
Pianos have the ability to develop tones and sounds that are louder than their forerunners. The piano’s modification in the action and touch response initiated numerous musicians, celebrities, and novices to compose and perform keyboard projects.
As mentioned above, Bartolomeo Cristofori invented the gravicembalo col piano e forte in 1709. Roughly translated, it means “soft and loud instrument,” and due to the very long name, it was simply shortened to pianoforte. As time went by, it was finally called, piano.
The initial existing piano that was invented by Cristofori happened in 1720 and it is on display at the Metropolitan Museum. Despite the many improvements made in the past hundreds of years, it is extremely surprising to observe how similar Cristofori’s musical instruments are to today’s instruments.
Variety of Pianos
Today, there are various piano types that you can choose from to suit your individual musical and space needs. The vertical and horizontal pianos are the primary types that you will find in nearly all the top music stores, conservatories, music schools, churches, and many other places. Pianos are said to be the main gateway instrument to music, and the majority of people certainly agree with this statement.
Countless people that you come across are taking piano lessons or are thinking of learning to play this amazing musical instrument. Then, there are those who are seriously considering a piano purchase, but are finding it difficult to make a decision due to the variety of piano models presented.
Here is a list of popular pianos that you can find on the market:
Vertical pianos have strings that are vertically positioned and they are typically tall pianos. You can find these pianos in vertical sizes from about 36 inches to 60 inches and they are created in four different types:
The Spinet – Spinets are typically about 36 to 38 inches tall and they are approximately 58 inches wide. They are the smallest model compared to the others that are on the market. This particular type is perfect for individuals who live in a house with limited space or in a small apartment. While spinets were highly popular, more and more piano lovers began to notice that they lack power and accuracy. They were unable to compete with other smaller pianos, particularly baby grand pianos, and largely due to this reason, spinets are no longer manufactured.
The Console – Consoles are manufactured with the measurements of 40 to 43 inches in height and about 58 inched in terms of their width. Relatively larger compared to spinets, consoles can be found in various styles and finishes. Fashionable people seek these pianos because they are able to complement any type of furnishing or home décor. Created with a direct action, consoles are able to produce more enhanced tones and sounds.
The Studio – You can find studio pianos in music conservatories, schools, churches, and studios. They stand at 45 to 48 inches in height and their width is about 58 inches. Studio pianos are popular because their longer strings and larger soundboards make it possible for them to generate a very deep, resonant tonal quality.
The Upright – Out of the vertical pianos, upright pianos are the tallest and their heights range from 50 to 60 inches, and their width is akin to studio pianos. Generally, an upright piano is also called the grandmother’s piano, because this is a piano that is often passed down from generation to generation. If an upright piano is well taken care of, the sound and aesthetic value hardly ever falter.
Piano strings are placed horizontally in these pianos and due to their finer tones, they are also known as grand pianos. Additionally, they have the most responsive key action and come in six different models:
Petite Grand – This is the smallest of all the grand pianos and its size is approximately 4 feet 5 inches to 4 feet 10 inches. Even though it is a very small musical instrument, it can produce a unique sonorous sound. You can find this model in various finishes and a large number of people purchase this piano due to its incredible aesthetic value. It tends to look absolutely stunning in the corner of a living room.
Baby Grand – Baby grand pianos are affordable, compared to the bigger grand pianos. Even though they are about 4 feet 11 inches to 5 feet 6 inches in size, they are able to generate a remarkably loud, deep tonal quality. Baby grand pianos are also beautiful and immaculate.
Medium Grand – Medium grand pianos are about 5 feet 7 inches wide and they are the favorite among intermediate and advanced pianists. The medium grand piano is suitable for homes that have large spaces to spare.
Parlor Grand – Measured at 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet 1 inch in width, the parlor grand are also called the living room piano. You can easily spot this piano in bungalows and huge mansions. Additionally, they are quite popular in hotel ballrooms.
Ballroom Grand – Standing at 6 feet 2 inches and with a width of 7 inches, you will find this particular piano in various hotel ballrooms and at concerts. Orchestra concerts utilize ballroom grand pianos often, because of their magnificent tonal quality and stunning interior.
Concert Grand – The largest model in this category, the concert grand piano is approximately 9 feet wide. This piano is used in numerous symphony concerts, music conservatories, and ballrooms. Concert grand pianos are said to be the most expensive model.
If you are thinking of taking music lessons on any instrument, you should consider learning how to play the piano. Many people think that playing the piano is a talent that they are born with, but that is not true at all. With a lot of patience and determination, you can play a piano within a short time. Piano has long been considered the easiest instrument to learn but the hardest to master.
If your child is ready to begin learning how to play the piano, we’re here to provide the teacher. Lessons in Your Home is designed around doing everything in your home. Our teachers will come right to your home for every lesson, plus we offer virtual music lessons, too. However, our online music lessons are being taught by local music teachers with live lessons tailored to your child! Contact us today to learn more.