History of Piano Development
From ancient times till
present music has played a significant role in the culture of every
nation. Can you imagine a life without music? Everyone is involved
either passively or actively in some aspect of musical activity
almost on a daily basis. Today of course it is much easier than in
the past: more choices, better communication, technology and
(1655-1731) constructed ‘Piano et forte’ the first prototype
of the piano. Originally, only a privileged few could ever afford
one of these instruments, primarily the nobility or very wealthy
families. At that time the price of these instruments was equal to
3-4 times an average persons yearly income. Today owning a piano
certainly will not cost such an extravagant sum. Every year here in
the US over 175,000 new pianos are sold. More than 15 million
homes, institutions, and businesses are furnished with pianos. The
piano has become a very popular and integral keyboard instrument.
were manufactured before 1800. They are called also ‘Historical’
or ‘Renaissance’ pianos. Their mechanical design was
simple, mostly consisting of less than 85 keys, less strings and a
completely different mechanism of action. On the other hand the
exterior cabinetry was very ornate. Great musicians composed and
performed baroque/renaissance music on these early instruments.
Today these pianos can primarily be viewed in museums.
From 1800-1860 is the
Victorian era with its unique artful cases, candle stands and
benches. Square grand’s and giraffe pianos represent this period.
A very large segment of classical music was composed and performed
on these interval instruments.
In around 1860 started
the ‘New Piano Era’. In the piano industry this was a period
of enormous engineering progress. Thanks to a number of French,
German and some other European born engineers we have the modern
construction and amazing action of today’s acoustic piano. From
that time on almost no engineering changes have occurred till
present day. Because of the perfection of this period’s invention
we have a balanced piano with a piano action and damper system that
produces great repetition and sound.
Starting around 1900
began what is known as the ‘Golden Era’ in the industry.
Many factories started production in larger scale due to a greater
market demand and robust sales.
The rolls operated piano was first manufactured in the 1890’s. Its
inventor was Melville Clark. The electrical pneumatic players have
been around since the 1950’s. Todays modern players started in the
late 1970’s with ‘Pianocorder’, a cassette player made by
Maratz. Shortly later came the Floppy disk and the CD
player system. The innovation in these player piano systems is
that they operate with a computer CD, are MIDI-compatible and
produce ‘life-like’ music. Further, they are able to playback in
128 levels of tone expression and record a piano players