The piano is a musical instrument polyphonic keyboard of the family of strings hit. The piano sound is produced by the vibration of the strings stretched over a rigid horizontal (piano) or vertical (upright), placed above the soundboard. They are struck by felt covered hammers operated by the draft of the keys on the keyboard. The vibration of the strings are stopped by a damper when the key is released. The piano is most often a bracket of two or three pedals, also known as the lyre, to increase its expressive potential. The pedals are very important to speak to the piano: the left pedal is a mute (also known as "una corda") that shifts the keyboard so that the hammers strike only one string instead of three on the piano tailed, while the upright pianos the same functionality is achieved by giving a less extent by bringing the sound of hammers strings, the middle pedal is a mute to reduce its maximum so as not to disturb the upright pianos and pedal sostenuto pedal or tone on grand pianos, it can only prolong the sound of the last note played by leaving the dampers lifted it, the last is perhaps the most used pedal it allows the pianist to extend the vibration of strings, harmonies to link them. Its name comes from an abbreviation for fortepiano, the name of his ancestor of the eighteenth century, itself appointed by the opportunity he gave to those who played to qualify and play piano as well as strong; possibility that the piano was kept. In some countries, the piano is still called "pianoforte."
History of the piano
Invention of the piano-forte
Created in the early eighteenth century by the Italian Bartolomeo Cristofori in Florence, known as the piano-forte, the piano comes to the evolution of an instrument called a clavichord (fifteenth century) and the dulcimer (Middle Ages).
The date of manufacture of the first piano-forte by Bartolomeo Cristofori is uncertain, but an inventory made by his employers, the Medici family, indicates the existence of an instrument in 1698. Cristofori has built a total of twenty fortepiano before his death in 1731, and only three of them have come down to us, dated 1720.
The first piano-forte had particularly benefited from centuries of work and improvements to the clavichord, including by the refinement of methods of construction of structures (wood at that time), as well as the design of the soundboard, the bridge and the keyboard. Cristofori was himself a factor clavichords and harpsichords, familiar with the techniques of manufacture of such tools and knowledge associated with them.
The fundamental discovery of Cristofori is the resolution of a mechanical problem intrinsic to pianos: the hammers must strike the string but cease to be in contact with once they hit in order not to stifle the sound, they must also return to their initial positions without bouncing violently, and this quickly to allow notes to be repeated at a satisfactory speed.
The first factor Italian instruments were made with thin strings and for this reason much less noise than clavichords or harpsichords of their time. In two centuries there will be a complete concept of stringed instrument struck low tension strings, light and sound body hearing the table against tension of the strings, body and hearing heavy sound of the rope. However, compared to the clavichord, piano forte allowed improved dynamic nuances and sounded much stronger, with a note held longer.
This new instrument will remain unknown until an Italian writer, Scipione Maffei, wrote an enthusiastic article about it, including a diagram of its mechanisms. This article was distributed in a very large, and many of the piano-forte generations began Cristofori discoveries into practice after learning.
One of these manufacturers was Johann Gottfried Silbermann, known as an organ. The fortepiano from Silbermann were almost carbon copies of those of Cristofori, an important exception to close: they had the ancestor of the pedal, which can tackle simultaneously all the dampers on all the strings, almost all pianos built thereafter resume this innovation. Silbermann showed Bach one of his first instruments in the 1730s, but it did not like the instrument, finding that the high notes had a sound too low to allow for truly interesting dynamic. If those remarks earned him some animosity from Silbermann, it seems they were taken into account, because in 1747, Bach approve a newer and improved the instrument.
The bill fortepiano had its boom during the late eighteenth century with the work of the Viennese school, which includes members Johann Andreas Stein and his daughter Nannette Stein and Walter qu'Anton. Piano style Viennese "were made without a frame with only a wooden dam, two strings per note, and hammers covered with leather. For instruments of the type that are written concertos and sonatas of Mozart. The instrument has a softer sound and clearer than that of modern pianos, and also allowed to hold the notes longer.
Development of the piano-forte
During the long period from 1790 to 1890, the piano-forte of the classical period will undergo many changes that will lead it to its present form of "modern piano." This evolution of the instrument has been motivated by the need for composers and pianists for a more powerful and greater expressive possibilities. She was permitted by the ongoing industrial revolution, which began to provide piano factors of technological processes for producing steel strings of high quality and greater precision machining for the production of iron frames.
As of this trend, playing the piano became more and more tiring, the force required to push the buttons and the race for the draft of which had increased. The range of the piano-forte also increased accordingly, from 5 octaves at the time of Mozart to 7 octaves 1 / 3 and sometimes more modern pianos.
During the first part of this period, technological advances made to the piano-forte had a lot to the English Broadwood firm, which already had a great reputation for its powerful and majestic of its harpsichords. Over the years, the instruments produced by this factor became bigger, more powerful, and built a more robust. The firm, which sent his instruments to Haydn and Beethoven, was the first building fortepiano with a range of over 5 octaves 5 octaves 1 / 5 in the 1790s, 6 octaves in 1810 (which gave Beethoven to use the notes added to his last works) and 7 octaves in 1820. Factors Viennese also followed this trend but these two schools differ, however, by different mechanisms: the Broadwood was more robust, that of the Viennese school more sensitive.
The repertoire for classical piano starting at the end of the Baroque era with Johann Sebastian Bach and Domenico Scarlatti, although their works have generally been originally intended for the harpsichord or other keyboard instruments. The quantity of works for fortepiano will start to grow as the classical period and the major representatives of the following: Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Muzio Clementi is also sometimes considered as the first composer for piano.
It will reach its maturity with Ludwig van Beethoven and his successors, almost all major virtuosos and the greatest composers of the era: Franz Schubert, Frederic Chopin, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms ...
A little later, composers such as Gabriel Faure, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Erik Satie, Isaac Albeniz, Rachmaninov, Mussorgsky, Scriabin really composed for the instrument as we know it today.
Read also Cello