Evolution of the Piano

  • The first design

    The first design
    Italian instrument maker Bartolomeo Cristofori created what he called the "pianoforte." The price of his piano design was relatively cheap, making it a staple in Italian nobility and royalty households.
  • Period: to

    The model survives

    Cristofori's original piano design continues to live on, being the inspiration for many who create various instruments.
  • Manufacturing begins

    Johann Zumpe was an English engineer and musician. He was the first to begin large-scale manufacturing of sturdy and lightweight pianos in England, and also created his own version of the piano.
  • Continued expansion

    John Broadwood expanded Johann Zumpe's design of the piano by adding octaves, which covered the treble and bass.
  • A change in shape

    A change in shape
    The piano design continues to change, now having a shape of a tall box, and being referred to as the "Cabinet Piano."
  • First piano with agraffe

    First piano with agraffe
    Sebastian Erard created the first piano with agraffe strings, which allowed the more aggressive use of keyboards and hammer mechanics. Famous classical composers such as Beethoven were granted the ability to create their most famous works.
  • The grand piano

    The grand piano
    Robert Wornum invented the mechanisms of the vertical piano, more commonly known as the grand piano. This style of piano gained popularity fast and was used for household decorations due to its space considerations.
  • Pianos make it to America

    Pianos make it to America
    With the usual manufacturing of pianos starting in London, grand pianos began being made in America by the manufacture known as "Steinway & Sons." Their bodies were made from a one-cast iron frame.
  • Steinway company

    Steinway company
    The Steinway piano company was made official. The manufacture rose to popularity with their first piano design, and is still in business today.
  • Carnegie Music Hall

    Carnegie Music Hall
    Carnegie Hall was founded in New York City; a classical music hall that still holds many concerts and events today.
  • Automatic Pianos

    Automatic pianos soon grew in popularity after the first one was created by Edward H. Leveaux. Instead of a pianist, the automatic piano used electromagnetic solenoids and a hammer mechanism to press the keys.
  • A decrease in size

    A decrease in size
    The popular upright piano decreased in size, going from its more space consuming design to a smaller compact design.
  • Electric keyboards

    Electric keyboards
    Evolving from the standard key design, the first electric keyboard was created in France by Elisha Gray. The initial popularity of the invention did not reach its peak until much later due to its unusual size and function.
  • Musical keyboard

    Musical keyboard
    Christopher Donison creates the musical keyboard; with its model mainly being used as a learning tool.
  • New electric keyboards

    Electric keyboards began being manufactured in a variety of shapes and sizes; making its popularity grow due to its diversity.
  • Popularity spreads

    Popularity spreads
    Electric keyboards could now be found anywhere, with a majority of bands using them as one of their key instruments.