The grand piano has an important place in the greater history of music and musical instruments. It hasn't always been called a piano and has not always been available to everyone either. Piano history and the rise of the pianist musician crossed the years and centuries. It evolved and adapted to its time.

It enabled the revealing of artists, musicians of legend. Men who have marked the history of music, and history itself.

Do you know that the pianos are one of the oldest and fascinating musical instruments in the world? This musical instrument is so present that it is almost as though it has its soul. Because they are easy to play and learn, pianos can be played and shared by kids, family, friends, or a music class. They can also be played in places where music matters, such as churches, bars, concerts, clubs, and homes.

Since its invention in the 1700s by Bartolomeo Cristofori in Italy, pianos have gone through an incredible evolution over the years. Old pianos were a lot less advanced, but they could perform similarly to modern-day pianos. Although pianos are grand and heavy, they are surprisingly one of the most learned instruments in Canada. Many parents in Canada and other parts of the world enroll their children in piano lessons at a very tender age.

So, who invented the piano? It is very interesting to discover and analyze the great history of the piano, an instrument and new invention that came rather late in time. When the piano was not yet a piano.

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History Of The Piano Timeline: the birth of the piano

To go back to its earliest days, one must go back to the eighteenth century. With a name that will change the course of history: Bartolomeo CRISTOFORI. This Florentine piano technician invented the first piano keyboard instrument: the CLAVICORDE, or "gravecembalo col piano e forte" in Italian.

We are still quite far from the piano as we know it today, but the idea of pressing piano keys that operate hammers typing on strings to produce sound is already present. Cristofori made twenty copies of this string instrument in his life. The idea was then taken up and improved by a German: instrument technician Silbermann. He improves the plans of the keyboard and the process of hammer strikes to create the best piano.

A new family of instruments is born. And in the family, if we ask the grandfather, we will call the Piano forte.

The piano forte, or Calvicorde, was created in the 18th century in Italy
Bartolomeo Cristofori was the inventor of the piano forte.

The piano-Forte, the oldest ancestor of the modern piano

With the research on the sound, volume control and the mechanism of Silbermann, a new type of keyboard was born in the late 1770s: the piano forte. He's also the one who invented the precursor to the modern damper pedal, which lifts the dampers from all the strings at once.

Aesthetically and for the sound, the piano forte has undergone the most improvements during its stages of reproducing. The period corresponding to this chain of improvement goes from the death of Mozart (1791) to the death of Schubert (1828). Musically, we are going through the classical era.

The piano forte and the harpsichord must not be confused. The harpsichord is not considered an ancestor of keyboard instruments for two reasons. It was created after the piano and doesn't hold the same technical characteristics as the piano. For example, the sound of the harpsichord is not due to a hammer strike. Besides, the harpsichord did not have the same success as the solo piano. History proves it.

The instrument will undergo many improvements, to allow the piano player of the time to enjoy a sound much more powerful than at the origin and greater expressive capacities.

And thanks to the Industrial Revolution, progress was superior to the expectations of the virtuosos of the time:

  • Work on the accuracy of the sound
  • Perfected keyboard touch with more flexible keys
  • Production of high tone quality steel strings, more resistant and more accurate.
  • Improved machining precision on the production of new cast iron frames.

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The multiplication of piano companies

The second half of the 19th century and the industrial boom made it possible for new companies, new brands, new factories to emerge and contribute to the improvement of the piano, which was still known as the piano forte.

The leading and innovative country during this time is Germany. The Blüthner brand (born in 1853) has succeeded in developing both the technical and aesthetic aspects of its pianos by making them robust and powerful.

But it also develops the commercial aspect (i.e.piano sales), by seeking in clients not only the best pianists, but also people aiming to learn how to learn piano, or who wanted to build a prestigious image of themselves.

Blüthner will, therefore, patent 4 improvements to its models and diversify its offer. So that in 1915, the standard piano is 2m15 long, weighs 300 kg, and covers 5 octaves. The other piano brands, initially late on these changes, will then have to follow in their steps.

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Hammers have evolved since their first invention
Hammers were the main elements to take advantage of technological advances.

The piano virtuosos as brand images

As in any sector, and as in any period, a brand must be accompanied by a muse. A muse who sells the product as unique among all.

For the piano, the companies did not deviate from the rule. They went to seek the image of the best piano players to persuade the masses that their stage piano products were better than those of the competition.

Thus Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, Schubert, to name but a few (among the best pianists) lent their name to the great European piano manufacturers. Firms that are multiplying during the second half of the nineteenth century, up to more than 20 in 1885. It was at this time that the modern piano was actually born.

The main piano-making firms at the end of the 19th century were:

  • Blüthner
  • Broadwood
  • Pleyel
  • Erard
  • Steinway&sons

At the time, each piano company shared 70% of the world's piano production.

Pianos of all shapes, sound and technical characteristics... And pianos that could be found among middle-class people of the time (especially those enriched by the industrial revolution, who wanted to learn the piano) and the bourgeoisie who used pianos as well, for the sound only, for the beauty of the "furniture" that the instrument represents.

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The modern piano shows up!

With the progress in science, the advancement of industry and manufacturing techniques, the pianos changed, evolved, to become what we know of them today.

It was at the beginning of the 20th century that the piano succeeded in combining power, beauty, and perfect sound. Piano performance practice becomes more popular, with the conquest of new regions, new countries.

Just before the early 1900s, Henri Pape gave the sound of the piano a new dimension. He replaced the leather covers of the hammers. These blows which make sound with sheep's wool felt. This enhancement allows for a finer harmonization of the instrument's timbre with the strike when playing piano.

In Germany the use of steel spun with diamond from 1902 renders a mineral side to the sound. Even today, firms such as Röslau, Bechstein, Vogel or Rose are constantly improving their use.

And it is also at this period that the tune of the piano loudly invades the world.

Do you know who the best pianists in the world are?

The piano is exported to America and Asia

The US: the new piano factory giant

The piano landed in the United States in the second half of the nineteenth century, with the creation of the two firms, Steinway and Grodrian. It is these two early music companies who lead the way in the country.

The practice of the piano is still at its beginnings and is reserved for English emigrants, who have a culture of piano more developed than the premises of the new world.

Nevertheless, and as in all fields, the United States will quickly become world leaders. As they still are today, with more than 200 manufacturers, and more than 870 patents filed a hundred years ago, and instruments in piano stores across the world.

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THe Steinway & sons pianos have a great reputation and legitimacy
The American Steinway pianos represent excellence.

Asia and Japan make their way with Yamaha

Japan made its way relatively late. The national leader of the musical instrument, Yamaha, was only created in 1887 and began making pianos in 1900. It is the Meiji family that installs the Yamaha brand at the top of the piano technicians, with the very famous Disklavier.

Their research of excellence in acoustics makes the Yamaha instruments the crème de la crème at the musical level, even today. Although the Young Chang pianos have been starting to make their place in the piano market.

A know-how that has been exported to neighboring countries like South Korea and China, that stay in the background.

Can you play these ten most difficult pieces written for the piano?

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The Piano Today!

Today in 2017, the piano industry is flourishing. As in its beginnings, it went through the twentieth century by adapting to new technologies. So today we can find all types of pianos. The right pianos have become widespread, electronic pianos or vertical pianos have become true wonders of sound and perfectly supplement the heavy and cumbersome upright pianos.

Concerning piano practice too, everything has changed. Until the end of the 1950s, playing the piano was reserved to the elites. People likely to have room at home, and time to learn. The "commoners" did not have access to the piano. The price, the time, the place... Everything was missing. Today, the middle classes have access to the practice of the instrument, but can also call on teachers to take piano lessons near me.

And as in the early days of its existence, piano music sticks to the image of its virtuoso musicians and composers. These virtuosos who are the image, the representatives of this noble instrument.

An instrument found in movies, in television contests, piano tutorials on YouTube, concert halls from a century ago, among others.

This shows that for 300 years, how to play the piano has come a long way. A long and rich road.

The geniuses of the piano continue to interpret difficult pieces on the piano.

The history of the piano is rich and today we can distinguish 5 types of grand piano. To choose your piano, you must be careful to determine its level and the expectations that one carries for its next piano. Chose your brand, whether you want to go straight for a Steinway piano, a Yamaha piano, a Baldwin piano, a Mahogany, etc., or for more standard and less official piano makers.

If you're going for a classic piano, you also need to choose the material: pianos are usually made of 85 % of wood. Different types of wood are used in pianos, each chosen for its distinct properties. For example, sugar pine is chosen for soundboard ribs because of its strength and flexibility. Yellow birch is used in keypad caps and legs because of its hardness and shape retention. One piano may contain several types of wood.

Make your choice carefully according to your budget, space and desired dynamic range, if you can afford an upright piano, a baby grand piano, an electric keyboard or even go for the grand piano. If you want to buy a new piano in a piano store maybe wait for sales, or else try to find some good deals online for restored pianos. If you aren't sure of yourself, ask advice from a professional piano teacher, and maybe go for a piano rental.

It's also important to consider your purpose - do you want to get hold of a piano for sale to perform in a piano concerto or orchestra, or do you want a piano in your home so that you can work on becoming a composer? Or, do you simply want a piano for your escapement and to be able to call it 'my piano'?

Do know that piano moving is particular and requires a specific license – in the case of an upright piano or a grand piano. As for all musical instruments, it is the result of craftsmanship, however, pianos require special care: piano restoration, tuning, moving, etc., are often call for professionals.

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Learning to play the piano
You need some level of discipline to learn the piano successfully. Source: Pexels

What Should You Expect from a Piano Class?

If you have finally decided to learn the piano or give your child an opportunity to learn the piano, the next step to take is to enroll in a piano class. A piano class is a sure and effective way of learning to play the piano. However, there are amazing benefits to gain from taking a piano class. For example, your piano class can be a very fun and exciting time while learning and mastering music. However, there are a few things to expect from a piano class.

  • An assessment of your current musical skills

When you go for your first piano class, your piano teacher will ask questions to determine your musical ability. For example, some beginner students might have tried learning to play the piano by watching tutorials or learning from others. On the other hand, most beginner students have not tried playing the piano or had any musical experience before going to a piano class.

  • An analysis of basic techniques

The next thing you should expect from a piano class is to learn basic techniques to play the piano. Some basic techniques include getting the correct posture when playing the piano, hand position, finger curving, and wrist placement. Your proficiency at playing the piano in the long term will be hinged on your understanding of the basic techniques.

  • Access to method books for beginners

A method book is a perfect material that contains detailed sequential exercises that help develop the basic techniques a beginner needs to learn. It also contains an introduction to the keyboard that shows the black and white key's patterns. In addition, a method book introduces the middle C as the important first lesson staple. Method books for piano can be found in several music shops in Canada.

  • An understanding of finger numbers

In an ideal piano class, you will learn that the fingers are given numbers, which will help you learn the piano quickly. The thumbs are given number 1; the index fingers are given 2; the middle fingers represent number 3; the ring fingers, 4; and the pinky fingers, 5. Numbers are usually written next to the notes on piano scores. When the fingers correspond to the numbers written next to the notes, you can be sure of doing the right thing.

Aside from attending classes and paying attention, it would help make time for personal practice. There is an extent to which theory can give you knowledge; practicing will do more. Also, ensure to do the assignments you are given after your piano class.

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What Are the Five Benefits of Learning to Play the Piano?

Learning to play the piano offers you amazing benefits, ranging from mental and physical health to financial and psychological balance.

  • It relieves stress

Music, when played properly, can be soothing and can relieve one's stress. Research has shown that learning to play the piano can improve your mental health. Playing out sweet melodies from the piano can help you experience less anxiety and inhibit the growth of depression. Learning to play the piano can also improve your self-esteem, lower blood pressure and serve as a therapeutic tool for people diagnosed with ADD.

  • It improves concentration skills

One of the integral parts of playing the piano is split concentration skills. The piano requires you to divide your attention to play harmonies, which may be one of the best ways to sharpen an individual's concentration skills. Once you are good at splitting concentration, you will find it easy to multitask in your daily life.

  • It creates a gateway for financial inflow

You could earn some money if you teach others how to play the piano on Superprof. It’s fun, many music makers make a lot of money by playing the piano at concerts, award shows, events, and even churches. Music is a global subject; therefore, there is a 99.9% chance that everything involved in making it is global. Celebrity pianists make money playing for popular artists.

  • It strengthens hands and muscles coordination

As dumbbells are to the arms and upper body, so is the piano to the fingers and hands generally. Playing the piano is a major way to work out your fingers and hands. When learning how to play the piano, you learn basic techniques such as finger curving, wrist placement, and hand positioning in general. All these techniques further strengthen the hand muscles and finger coordination.

Can You Hire an Online Piano Teacher?

You do not have to go out to take a piano class; you can take piano lessons from the comfort of your home by hiring an online piano teacher. On Superprof, you can hire top-rated piano instructors that will guide you in your preferred style, pace, and customized lessons designed just for you. Most piano teachers on Superprof have qualifications from top music academies that matter in the world. Some also have recommendations from these music academies and platforms, making them a globally recognized learning center.

Superprof also has piano teachers who have gained quality experience over the years and can work with virtually any student. While some piano instructors can take learners at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, others are only available to teach those who have attained some level of expertise. An easy click on the Superprof website will show you top-rated online piano teachers in Canada, the amount they charge, their workable schedule, and how to prepare for their classes.

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Learning to play the piano
A piano tutor from Superprof could make your piano learning a hassle free experience. Source: Pexels

How Can You Prepare Effectively for a Piano Class?

One of the ways to show that you desire to learn is how prepared you are for it, and the same goes for an online piano class. So there's a need to prepare effectively for your piano as a student.

  • Get a stand for your laptop or mobile device.

While some find it okay to open video call apps and sign on to piano lessons without any gadget, you can make a difference by getting the right tools. For example, instead of placing your laptop or mobile device on your piano during the online class, a stand will help you get a better angle. This is because, with a stand, you can easily adjust the height to what you consider suitable, and the teacher also gets to see your posture and fingers. Additionally, ensure you get a stand that sits on a tripod - this will aid in easy placement.

  • Ensure your device is charged

This tip is majorly useful for those using a mobile phone for their online piano class. While some instructors will accept your mobile phone for the class, other online piano teachers may prefer a laptop with a wide-angle webcam. You do not want your device going off during an online class; therefore, you either have it charged or connected to a working charger.

  • Download the right video software

Before the online class, you must have agreed with your online piano teacher on the video software you will need for your online class. You do not want to spend all of your learning time downloading video software. Find out from your teacher and have it downloaded ahead of time.

  • A stable internet connection

Struggling with the internet or Wi-Fi may waste time and money. However, you must ensure that the best connection you can get is in place ahead of time. You do not want to spend most of your lesson trying to make WIFI work.

  • A functioning piano and audio

This is perhaps the most important tip to give to someone preparing for an online piano lesson. Have you ever wondered, what are piano lessons without a functioning piano and proper audio that will transmit the right sound to the piano instructor? For example, if your built-in laptop webcam does not project the right sound, you can either get a USB microphone or an external webcam with a built-in microphone.

If you put in your best effort at playing the piano, you will enjoy the amazing benefits of playing the piano. Pianos also have a good second-hand value. You can resell them, buy them second-hand or choose to keep them for vintage purposes. Interestingly, Canada is a great place to learn the piano as Superprof has qualified tutors in every region. Get a Superprof piano tutor today and get started on your journey to becoming a professional pianist.

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Marvis

Marvis Osarhenrhen is a freelance SEO writer focused on helping businesses reach their target audience, get leads and increase revenue using optimized content.