Piano technology refers to the science and art of building and maintaining pianos. It involves the design, construction, and repair of the various components that make up a piano, including the soundboard, strings, hammers, action, and pedals. The goal of piano technology is to create an instrument that produces a beautiful, rich, and nuanced sound, and that is responsive and easy to play. There are many different aspects of piano technology that must be considered when building or repairing a piano. For example, the soundboard must be carefully crafted to produce the best possible sound, and the strings must be tuned to the correct pitch and tension. The hammers must be shaped and voiced to produce the desired tone, and the action must be adjusted to provide the right balance between sensitivity and power. The pedals must also be designed and adjusted to provide the right level of sustain, damping, and expression. Piano technology has a long history, dating back to the invention of the piano in the early 18th century. Over the centuries, many different innovations and improvements have been made to the design and construction of pianos, resulting in the wide range of instruments that are available today. Today, piano technology continues to evolve, with new materials, technologies, and techniques being developed to improve the sound, playability, and durability of pianos.

Did you know that on this month, 368 years ago, was born the inventor of the piano?
Bartolomeo Cristofori, the Italian inventor of the piano called pianoforte, was born on May 4, 1655. (Happy 368th birthday to him this year!)

Before working on the piano near the end of the 17th century, Cristofori already invented some musical instruments including two keyboards which were documented to be kept by the music-lover Prince Ferdinando de Medici of Tuscany. Prince Ferdinando once recruited Cristofori because of his talent in creating musical instruments. Aside from the piano, he was also known to have invented instruments like spinets and harpsichords.

Because of expensiveness and the softness of sound, Cristofori's pianos did not get the deserved merit right away, especially in a time when the loud harpsichord was a competitor. It was on the prosperity of the 1760s that they became totally popular when cheaper square pianos were produced.

No record remains as to how many pianos he built, but three of his creations in the 1720s still survive today. One is displayed in the Metropolitan Museum in New York; another in Museo Nazionale degli Strumenti Musicali in Rome; and the last one is in the Musikinstrumenten-Museum of Leipzig University.

Little was recorded about the life of Bartolomeo Cristofori but thanks to him and his genius, we are now enjoying the beautiful music created by and with piano.

May 21, 2023 — Gerald DAVIES