Did you like watching the movie “The Piano Player” and are wondering what led to the invention of pianos?
Sounds created through vibration were nothing new to humanity. It has been witnessed from the ancient eras when strings were stuck and stretched over bows, and boxes to intensify the sound. They were affixed using ties and pins and were plucked to create sounds.
With time passing by, an entire family of stringed instruments evolved in 14th century Europe. It started with the invention of a dulcimer which was a narrow box over which the stretched wires were stuck with wooden hammers. This led to the further invention of clavichord, spinet, virginal, clavacin, gravicembalo, and ultimately the harpsichord. Its design touched the 15th century.
The harpsichord was a plucked string instrument that produced sound when the strings were plucked using plectrums, just like in a guitar. The vibration caused due to the plucking created music. The shortfalls of playing harpsichord were the variations, softness or loudness in the tones could not be generated. The artist felt limited because his musical expression was limited.
Did this lead to the invention of Piano?
Bartolomeo Cristofori was the face behind the invention of our beloved piano. The story began back in the 1700’s in Padua, Italy when Cristofori used to work as a harpsichord maker. Its invention was perhaps a step towards improvising the earlier invented harpsichord and clavichord.
With this invention, he was able to get across the problem of the hammer striking the string but not lingering to it, which resulted in diminishing the sound eventually. The hammer had to return to its original position without any ferocious bounce so to be able to repeat the notes promptly. His piano model served as a prototype for other piano builders.
The controlled desires of the artists were let loose with the invention of Piano. While playing piano, now the artist could alter the tones with creating variations in the force of their fingers. The piano could combine the oscillation of a clavichord and the loudness of the harpsichord to produce high and melodious sounds.