A Brief History of the Piano
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         The piano wasn't the first keyboarded instrument, in fact many keyboards preceded the piano. The earliest example of a string and hammer instrument was the Dulcimer, which consisted of many strings stretched across a box that were struck by two free hammers wielded by the musician similarly to drum sticks. This instrument led to the invention of instruments such as the clavichord and the virginal, which look very similar to modern pianos. In the 15th century, these instruments developed into the harpsichord, the final instrument before the piano. The harpsichord and its predecessors lacked the ability to vary volume, producing a constant volume for every note. This limited the musical expression capabilities of these instruments, making them unfavorable to musicians at the time. This flaw led to the invention of the piano. Invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori, the new instrument Gravicembalo col Piano e Forte (translating to roughly "soft and loud keyboard instrument") debuted in Florence in 1709. The name was shortened to pianoforte or fortepiano, and then of course just piano. The oldest surviving Cristofori pianoforte from 1720 is pictured below.

         Photos below are: Dulcimer (Left), Clavichord (Right), and Pianoforte (bottom).

         Image result for dulcimer      Image result for clavichord     

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