The 1720 Cristofori piano in the Metropolitan Museum in New York
The 1722 Cristofori piano in the Museo Nazionale degli Strumenti Musicali in Rome. The 1726 Cristofori piano in the Musikinstrumenten-Museum in Leipzig The total number of pianos built by Cristofori is unknown. Only three survive today, all dating from the 1720s. A 1720 instrument is located in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. This instrument has been extensively altered by later builders: the soundboard was replaced in 1938, and the 54-note range was shifted by about half an octave, from F’, G’, A’–c”’ to C–f”. Although this piano is playable, according to builder Denzil Wraight “its original condition … has been irretrievably lost,” and it can provide no indication of what it sounded like when new. A 1722 instrument is in the Museo Nazionale degli Strumenti Musicali in Rome. It has a range of four octaves (C-c³) and includes an “una corda” stop; see below. This piano has been damaged by worms and is not playable. A 1726 instrument is in the Musikinstrumenten-Museum of Leipzig University. Four octaves (C-c³) with “una corda” stop. This instrument is not currently playable, though in the past recordings were made. The three surviving instruments all bear essentially the same Latin inscription: “BARTHOLOMAEVS DE CHRISTOPHORIS PATAVINUS INVENTOR FACIEBAT FLORENTIAE [date]”, where the date is rendered in Roman numerals. The meaning is “Bartolomeo Cristofori of Padua, inventor, made [this] in Florence in [date].” Design The piano as built by Cristofori in the 1720s boasted almost all of the features of the modern instrument. It differed in being of very light construction, lacking a metal frame; this meant that it could not produce an especially loud tone. This continued to be the rule for pianos until around 1820, when iron bracing was first introduced. Here are design details of Cristofori’s instruments: Action Piano actions are complex mechanical devices which impose very specific design requirements, virtually all of which were met by Cristofori’s action.
The 1726 Cristofori piano in the Musikinstrumenten-Museum in Leipzi
The earliest known surviving piano was created by Italian inventor Bartolomeo Cristofori di Francesco (May 4, 1655 – January 27, 1731). It is kept within the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York with two other existing creations of Cristofori.
He is credited as the inventor due to the fact that his was the first to be designed with the hammer-action keyboard. Cristofori was such a talented craftsman, that he was recruited by the Grand Dukes of Tuscany to design and build instruments.
From the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York: Dongsok Shin performing Sonata in d minor, K.9 by Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
– altered by Hystoria