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Music is life. When you play it, emotions come alive


Features | Spotlight, Spotlight


Padua’s Piano



30th June 2018 | India


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Silbermann was so well known for his work with the piano that he is sometimes incorrectly named its inventor; his first version seemed to have been made a year after Cristofori died.
The story of the piano started when Bartolomeo Cristofori of Padua was appointed in 1688 to the Florentine court of Grand Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici to care for its harpsichords; no one was anticipating the birth of piano at that time. However, in 1709 with hammers and dampers, two keyboards, and a range of four octaves, and an instrument resembling a harpsichord called pianoforte came into existence. Cristofori created a sophisticated pattern and solved many technical problems that continued to puzzle piano designers for the next 75 years.

It is said that Queen Maria Barbara de Braganza of Spain, patron, and student of Domenico Scarlatti, bought five pianos by Cristofori, even though initially it wasn’t such a trend in Italy to own one. Piano history, along with Cristofori’s three artful inventions, is preserved at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Museo Strumenti Musicali in Rome (1722), and at the Musikinstrumenten-Museum of Leipzig University (1726).


Drawings and descriptions of the original design were published in 1711. Designers all over Europe took a shot at recreating Cristofori’s innovative instrument, most notably Gottfried Silbermann of Germany. Silbermann was so well known for his work with the piano that he is sometimes incorrectly named its inventor; his first version seemed to have been made a year after Cristofori died. He had Johann Sebastian Bach try it out to less than glowing reviews. Bach’s criticism of the device spurred Silbermann to develop a better piano, this time attempting to copy Cristofori’s later designs from the 1720s; a close copy of the modern piano. Bach changed his tune on

The piano is a divinely inspired instrument, a mirror held up to the player’s soul that captures the light and shadow of the performer and reflects back to the listener.


– David Lanz




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