If you are like many piano players, you might not have given too much thought to the evolution of the piano itself.
If youa€™ve got some experience with music theory, then youa€™ll know that the term a€?pianoa€™ means to play softly, and the term a€?fortea€™ means to play loudly. Since its creation in the early 18th century, the piano has gone through much evolution and improvement. A The piano is a magical instrument, capable of beautiful colour and expression in a wide variety of styles.
In fact, one of the instruments that lead into the piano, the harpsichord, had a completely different method of creating sound. Expert harpsichord maker, Bartolomeo Cristofori, created the first incarnation of the modern piano.
Many electric pianos try to replicate the feel of a traditional piano by adding a€?fakea€™ hammer actions into the case of the instrument. However, ita€™s unrivalled tonal range, ita€™s fantastic utility for composition, and ita€™s sheer beautiful sound, ensure that it will be an instrument that will last throughout the ages.


When you press a key, a felt hammer is triggered, which strikes the strings and creates the sound. It used to be called the pianoforte, due to its ability to vary in dynamics from loud to soft, which was very innovative among other keyboard-style instruments of ita€™s day. The exact date of creation is unknown, however, some historical documents created by Cristoforia€™s employers indicate that it could have been created as early as 1698. With the introduction of much larger concert venues and the need for louder instruments, electric pianos are becoming quite popular as they can be plugged into speakers to generate a much louder sound than any acoustic instrument could produce. The instrument it is today is a culmination of a few precursor instruments and much trial and error.
When you lift your finger off the key, a damper is laid back over the strings to cut off the sound. However, many purists still insist on playing acoustic pianos, and so high-quality microphones are inserted into the body of the piano, or placed around it to accurately capture the performance. While a piano creates a soft sound by striking the strings with a felt hammer, the harpsichord creates a much harsher sound by plucking the strings with a hard leather plectrum when the keys are played.


A man named Gottfried Silbermann developed the basis for the modern sustain pedal, a device to lift the damper off the strings so that the notes are sustained without having to hold the keys.
This leads us to the primary innovation that the piano brings to the table over the harpsichord, the ability to alternate playing between loud and soft.
Later in the 1700s, as a result of the industrial revolution, piano makers started using higher quality materials such as high-quality piano wire and iron frames. Later, the pianos range was expanded by about 30 keys, bring the range from what used to be roughly 5 octaves, up to around 7 and a half. Because of the pianoa€™s unique hammer-action, the hammer can strike the string at a variety of different speeds, leading to louder or softer notes depending on how hard you hit the keys.



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