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Interesting Facts about Piano History: The Renaissance Period


Piano history dates as far back as ancient Biblical times where the earliest piano was mentioned in the Book of Genesis. It was a harp. However, the first instrument in piano history that had a keyboard like features was the Hyrdaulis. It was first made in Greece in 220 B.C, and by the second century AD, it had gained popularity in the Roman Empire and Greece. This early keyboard was played using knees, feet, hands, and wrists. Unlike the modern day twelve-tone chromatic scale, the early keyboard used the diatonic scales (GABCDEF) up to the 13th century. It is from the technology of the early keyboard that the modern piano was developed.


There Were Varied Keyboard Types In the 14th And 15th Centuries

The 14th and 15th centuries marked the development of various types of keyboard stringed instruments. Some were plucked including the harpsichord, the virginal, and the spinet while others such as the clavichord, checker, and Dulce Melos had hammers.



The Harpsichord and the Clavichord Are the Earliest Modern Pianos

These two looked almost the same as the modern day piano with the only difference being the sound produced by each. The harpsichords’ strings were plucked using quills while tangents struck those of the clavichords. In the harpsichord, it was hard for the musician to control the dynamics of the notes and hence unable to evoke emotions. The clavichords, on the other hand, helped solve this shortcoming by allowing the strings to vibrate as long as the key was pressed.


The Modern Piano Was Invented Around 1698 Or 1700

The piano, invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori of Padua who was an expert in making the harpsichord, was different from the modern piano in that the blacks were natural while the whites’ keys served as the accidentals. This layout was later changed following the suggestion of Sebastian LeBlanc. Since the piano allowed playing of more than one key at once, they became quite popular especially during the emergence of polyphonic music.

Keep reading: “Interesting Facts About The Piano That You May Not Know”>>

Read on: “Inspiration from the Life of Ludwig van Beethoven”>>


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