~~May 4, 2015~~
Who invented the piano?
Google doodle marks Bartolomeo Cristofori‘s 360th birthday
Google’s latest doodle celebrates the 360th birthday of Bartolomeo Cristofori, the man widely credited with inventing the piano.
Cristofori was born in Padua on this day in 1655 in what was then the Republic of Venice.
According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, the instrument Cristofori invented was referred to during his lifetime as a harpsichord that plays soft and loud, from which its name is derived. In Italian, the phrase is gravicembalo col piano e forte.
On the blog dedicated to its doodles, Google wrote that one of Cristofori’s
“biggest innovations was creating a hammer mechanism that struck the strings on a keyboard to create sound. The use of a hammer made it possible to produce softer or louder sounds depending upon how light or hard a player pressed on the keys”.
It added: “Being able to change the volume was a major breakthrough. And that’s exactly what doodler Leon Hong wanted to highlight in this interactive doodle.”
Cristofori’s entry in Encyclopaedia Britannica notes that little is known of his life and that his invention was not well known in his lifetime, even if it has since become ubiquitous.
“Cristofori apparently invented the piano around 1709, and, according to contemporary sources, four of his pianos existed in 1711.”
“As it appears in … full read/full credit”
Bartolomeo Cristofori di Francesco (May 4, 1655 – January 27, 1731) was an Italian maker of musical instruments, generally regarded as the inventor of the piano.
Cristofori was born in Padua in the Republic of Venice. Nothing is known of his early life. A tale is told that he served as an apprentice to the great violin maker Nicolò Amati, based on the appearance in a 1680 census record of a “Christofaro Bartolomei” living in Amati’s house in Cremona. However, as Stewart Pollens points out, this person cannot be Bartolomeo Cristofori, since the census records an age of 13, whereas Cristofori according to his baptismal record would have been 25 at the time. Pollens also gives strong reasons to doubt the authenticity of the cello and double bass instruments sometimes attributed to Cristofori.
Probably the most important event in Cristofori’s life is the first one of which we have any record: in 1688, at age 33, he was recruited to work for Prince Ferdinando de Medici. Ferdinando, a lover and patron of music, was the son and heir of Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany. Tuscany was at a time still a small independent state.
The evidence — all circumstantial — that Cristofori may have been hired as an inventor is as follows. According to Stewart Pollens, there were already a number of qualified individuals in Florence who could have filled the position; however, the Prince passed them over, and paid Cristofori a higher salary than his predecessor. Moreover, Pollens notes, “curiously, [among the many bills Cristofori submitted to his employer] there are no records of bills submitted for Cristofori’s pianofortes … This could mean that Cristofori was expected to turn over the fruits of his experimentation to the court.” Lastly, the Prince was evidently fascinated with machines (he collected over forty clocks, in addition to a great variety of elaborate musical instruments), and would thus be naturally interested in the elaborate mechanical action that was at the core of Cristofori’s work on the piano.
~~Who invented the piano?~~
Pianos Google Doodle
~~Published on May 3, 2015~~
Bartolomeo Cristofori 360th Birthday Google Doodle
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