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Google celebrates birthday of Bartolomeo Cristofori, inventor of the piano

On his 360th birthday, Google doodle celebrates Italian maker of musical instruments Bartolomeo Cristofori

Ahram Online , Monday 4 May 2015
Google doodle
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Born on 4 May 1655 in Padua, Bartolomeo Cristofori di Francesco was an Italian instrument maker, credited for inventing the piano.

Google celebrates Cristofori with an interactive doodle.

In its comment on the doodle, Google writes that the idea of presenting Cristofori was first suggested by the Google team in Italy.

"I was also astonished I had never heard of him given that he'd had such a large impact on music. We're always trying to find topics that are educational, fun, and surprising – Cristofori is an ideal topic. Hopefully after the doodle, people will think of Cristofori every time they see a piano," Google team writes.

Unlike many other doodles which are posted regionally, since they usually related to local and/or regional events and anniversaries, the Cristofori's doodle has global reach.

Many forms of string instruments existed prior to the 17th century, and some of them, such as dulcimer, are considered the first precursors of harpsichord and later piano. The dulcimer was in a shape of a box covered with stretched strings that were struck by handheld "hammers." Later on, harpsichord emerged, an instrument that resembles the piano yet it's struck strings give one, unvarying volume.

It is not known when the first piano was built, yet the records show that Prince Ferdinando de Medici, lover of music, recruited Cristofori at his court in the 1680s to take care of the many instruments that were in prince's possession. It was around this time that, in his 30s, Cristofori found freedom and inspiration that allowed him to experiment with his creativity, testing the mechanical solutions to improve sound of harpsichord.

Later records reveal that an exhibition held in Florence in 1709, showcased for the first time Cristofori’s new instrument known as gravicembalo col piano e forte (roughly “soft and loud keyboard instrument”), a name which throughout the history was reduced to pianoforte or simply piano.

Cristofori died in 1731.

 

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