The piano – a brief history
“To some the piano is a piece of furniture, to others a musical instrument. Pianos are often taken for granted, and yet they are the most complex mechanical devices found in any home with a typical instrument containing over 10,000 parts”
Piano – The Evolution, Design and Performance.
It would seem on reflection, that the piano has been with us for an eternity. But in fact it first appeared just 300 years ago.
Cristifori designed and built the first instrument that we would recognise as a piano today. In the intervening 300 years, many people, from Gottlieb Schroter, Johann Andreas Stein and Johannes Zumpe – who made the square piano a commercial success – through to John Broadwood & Sons and Robert Wornum Jr. have contributed greatly to making the piano the instrument we all know and love.
Indeed it was Wornum who contributed more to the development of the upright piano than any other maker. Included among these contributions is his 1826 design, the blueprint for the modern piano action, diagonal stringing and the tape check action, which is used with minor modifications today.
Since Cristofori’s first piano appeared between 1694 –1700, the instrument has gone through some major developments and refinements to become what it is today and it continues to develop in parallel with growing technology, artistic and aesthetic demands.