Origins of Piano - First Clavichord and Piano

600 years. That long ago first simple version of piano was created in late medieval Italy, during the first years after trade gates opened between very closed Europe and large amount of knowledge, history, resources and advices that was held in Middle East, Africa and Asia. Fueled by the inventions that and sophisticated tools that started arriving from those regions and spilling all over the Italy, musicians and engineers from that country had the first opportunity in trying to innovate in countless engineering fields, of which music as one of the most popular. Luthiers started springing up all over the Italy, creating long running bloodlines of musicians and luthiers who worked tirelessly on not only modifying and upgrading old medieval instruments, but also creating new ones.

Old Piano with Sheet Music Notes

Origins of piano can be found far away in the past with the creation of first harps and dulcimers more than 4 thousand years ago. These instruments were used across almost all ancient civilizations in Africa, Middle East and Asia, and they become phenomenally popular in Greece and Roman Empire. This especially enabled dulcimers to remain present in the Europe during dark medieval times, surviving with the care of the nobility, royalty and church who safeguarded many technologies and inventions that were created in by Roman Republic and Empire after its destruction in the first few centuries of the new age. It was dulcimers who provided inspiration to the Italian inventor and engineer Giovanni Spinette who in early 15th century created first clavichord, a keyboard-powered instrument who used motions of the keys to move little hammers who hit very small array of wires. This instrument proved to be very successful, remaining in use even until late 18th century.

Appearance of clavichord enabled many other engineers to start iterating of that idea of keyboard powered instrument. Several upgrades happened in the following centuries, but the true revolution happened in the first years of 18th century when again Italian engineer and musician Bartolomeo Cristofori who came from the long line of luthiers managed to create first modern piano – pianoforte. This design completely changed the landscape of keyboard-powered instrument, for the first time enabling musicians to create louder music that with large keyboards that supported many octaves of notes. Immediately after its introduction, pianoforte became instant hit across Europe and engineers strived to outdo one another in creation of more sturdy and louder designs, enabling musicians of that time to create masterpieces that will remain remembered in human history until end of time.

So that is that. From the moment when just simple dulcimers were present in Europe in the early 1400s to the early 1800s when Beethoven and Mozart managed to compose their timeless compositions, the world of music managed to completely change. This quick incorporation of piano serves as one of the most shining examples how complicated engineering, exact musical science and the innovation of music player can do wonders.

Old Piano in Abandoned Church