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Inventors Piano - Bartolomeo Cristofori

By Mary Bellis

History of the Piano - Bartolomeo Cristofori (di Francesco)
The piano first known as the pianoforte developed from the harpsichord around 1720, by Bartolomeo Cristofori of Padua, Italy. The instrument was already over a hundred years old by the time Beethoven was writing his last sonatas, around the time when it ousted the harpsichord as the standard keyboard instrument. The piano has had a central place in music since the middle of the eighteenth century. Around 1780, the upright piano was created by Johann Schmidt of Salzburg, Austria and later improved in 1802 by Thomas Loud of London whose upright piano had strings that ran diagonally.

UK Piano History Page
A wonderful collection of articles on piano history.
Bartolomeo Cristofori
Bartolomeo Cristofori invented the piano.
Cristofori Piano
Harpsichord manufacturers went to great lengths to try to produce a mechanism that would give them the desired dynamic response. But it was Bartolomeo Cristofali (Cristofori), of Padua, keeper of instruments in the court of Prince Ferdinand de Medici of Florence, who actually solved the problem.

Player Piano
In 1881, an early patent for a piano player was issued to John McTammany, Jr., of Cambridge, Mass. John McTammany described his invention as a  "mechanical musical instrument." It worked using narrow sheets of perforated flexible paper which triggered the notes. A later automatic piano player was the Angelus patented by Edward H. Leveaux of England on 27 February 1879, and described as an "apparatus for storing and transmitting motive power." John McTammany's invention was actually the earlier one invented (1876), however, the patents dates are in the opposite order due to filing procedures. On March 28, 1889, William Fleming received a patent for a player piano using electricity.

John McTammany - Player Piano
John McTammany, player piano pioneer, has been credited with the invention of the instrument, having patented several devices that were important to the development of automatic piano construction.

Related Innovations
Musical Instruments

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