Who invented the piano?

The piano was invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori in 1709. The piano was first called “Gravicembalo col piano e forte” which is Italian for “harpsichord with soft and loud”.

Bartolomeo Cristofori Biography

Bartolomeo Cristofori was from Italy and lived from 1655 – 1732. From age 35 until he died, he worked in Florence, Italy for the court of Prince Ferdinand de’ Medici. The Medici family was a powerful and influential family from the 13th to the 17th century.  Cristofori was custodian of keyboard instruments and during this time he created many innovations in harpsichord construction and eventually invented the piano.

How did the piano get its name?

When Cristofori invented the piano he originally called it “Gravicembalo col piano e forte” which is Italian for “harpsichord with soft and loud”. The name “Gravicembalo col piano e forte” was then shortened to pianoforte which became the common Italian name for the piano which means soft-loud. The English name “piano” is just a shorter version of pianoforte. “Pianoforte” or “Soft-loud” refers to the ability of the piano to produce a wider range of volumes between very soft and very loud unlike the instruments the piano was developed from, the harpsichord and the clavichord.

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