Pianos Throughout History

  • Jan 1, 1400

    Invention of the clavichord

    Invention of the clavichord
    The design of the clavichord later influenced how the rest of pianos would be built. Spinets came also in this year and they were designed after the clavichord; the plausible source of origination belonging to an Italian inventor named Giovanni Spinette.
  • Period: Jan 1, 1400 to

    Piano Time Span

    Time span of the innovation of the piano
  • Jan 1, 1521

    Invention of the harpsicord

    Invention of the harpsicord
    Although historians are unsure about the year and inventor of the harpsicord, it is credited to an Italian named Hieronymus Bononiensis. It had only four octaves and was light and weak.
  • Invention of the pianoforte

    Invention of the pianoforte
    The invention of the pianoforte in Italy, by Bartolomeo Cristofori, was a large effect of the Italian Renaissance. Its purpose was to improve the harpsicord. Now, many people could listen and play music in their own homes. It was often used for entertainment.
  • Johann Zumpe, the first piano builder

    Johann Zumpe moves to the other side of the English Channel and opens his own workshop for building pianos. He is credited for being the first person to do so. He designed pianos to be square shaped and very lightweight.
  • The first "grand" pianoforte

    John Broadwood created his own squared piano using Cristofori's design, but instead, he added more octaves to the treble and bass. A pedal was added and the strings were made heavier to produce more sound.
  • Moonlight Sonata

    Moonlight Sonata
    This sonata is one of the world's most famous. Composed by Ludwig von Beethoven in 1801, it still is played today with much grace as it was over two hundred years ago.
  • "Cabinet Piano"

    "Cabinet Piano"
    The "Cabinet Piano" appears to be a tall box with the front covered in silk. It was very popular for quite some time.
  • Invention of the agraffe

    Stbastien Erad invented the agraffe, which allows wires to pass through holes in the piano and allows the hammers in the back to avoid hitting the strings. This was extrememly helpful to composers, such as Beethoven, Mozart, and Liszt, as their pianos would break when they pounded on the keyboards.
  • The upright piano

    The upright piano
    A new piano was that was formed came to be called the upright piano. This was the most popular piano in most homes and it was a large source of entertainment and also displayed the abilities of young women, as they were commonly instructed to play it.
  • Change of name

    The name of pianoforte changed from "pianoforte" to just "piano". It became the more socially popular name to refer.
  • A more grand piano

    A more grand piano
    In Chicago, the company Chickering produced a piano with a one-cast iron frame, which increased the durability of the piano. Eventually, the company Steinway completed what modern day pianists would consider to be a grand piano.
  • Creation of Steinway and Sons

    Creation of Steinway and Sons
    A German immigrant, Henry Engelhard, founded the Steinway and Sons piano company in New York. This enabled American families to buy pianos near their hometown. Even today, the Steinway company is one of the most popular piano production companies-nine out of ten professional pianists prefer Steinway's pianos.
  • Steinway Music Hall

    Steinway Music Hall
    With over 2,000 seats available in the auditorium, this new music hall quickly became Manhattan's cultural and artistic center. The New York Philharmonic played here until the opening of Carnegie Hall.
  • Carnegie Hall

    Carnegie Hall
    Under the direction of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie Hall was opened in 1891. It was famous on the day of opening and still remains so today. This concert hall is the location where the world's most famous pianists perform today.
  • The player piano

    The player piano
    The player piano became extremely popular during the 1920s due to the fact that it operated on itself. It was one of the first "machines" to do so. However, once other self-operated machinery was invented, such as radios, the popularity of the piano decreased.
  • The miniature upright piano

    In order to provide variety and and increase in purchases, the upright piano was created to be smaller. Many people enjoyed the new size and uniqueness of this new take of the piano.
  • Invention of the electric keyboard

    Invention of the electric keyboard
    When the electric keyboard was invented in France in 1947, it created a new type of piano that could be done with electricity. This type of piano became extremely popular, especially in the 1980s.
  • Samick Musical Instruments

    The creation of the Samick Musical Instruments would eventually come to be the world's largest piano company as well as Korea's largest piano manufacturing company.
  • Piano's 300th Birthday

    With the piano's 300th year of production, more people than ever had access to this instrument and its birthday marked an impressive history from its origin.
  • Increase of electric pianos

    Increase of electric pianos
    With the new millenium, many new rock bands included the modern sounding electric keyboard with the rest of their music. It is still very popular today.