The beloved musical instrument known as the piano dates back to the early 1700s, originating in an Italian harpsichord crafter’s shop in Padua. Drawing upon historical precursors involving strings stretched across boxes and other structures, the piano was part of a grouping of keyboard instruments which began to take shape across Europe.
The earliest version of what is now known as the piano was referred to as the pianoforte. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is now home to the oldest surviving example of Bartolomeo di Francesco Cristori’s creation. Even though much time has passed since its initial appearance on the musical scene, the similarities between modern instruments and the initial design are indeed striking.
Of course, there can be no discussion of the history of the piano without giving significant attention to the masters of classical music who honed their craft while playing these beautiful instruments. From Beethoven to Chopin, the influence of composers and players alike cannot be overstated. Modern virtuosos such as Bill Evans and Thelonious Monk have also made staggering contributions to the evolution of the art of the piano.
Anyone interested in truly understanding the history of music needs to devote serious time and effort to learning the piano. It is possible to evoke almost any style of music using just this one instrument, something that cannot be said of many other musical media. Mastery of the piano truly does open the world of music as a whole to those willing to dedicate themselves to the task.
The history of the piano is a rich and interesting one, and there is no shortage of useful resources for those wishing to gather more knowledge. Whether perusing online resources, studying hard copy volumes or listening to expert personal instruction, time spent discovering the glories of the piano is always time well spent.