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The History Of The Piano

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The history of the piano, and his technique born, of course in close relation with the others keyboard instruments especially with the clavichord, his predecessor. The transition from the clavichord to the piano bring to us very interesting information about piano technique and the problems that the musician from that time had to confront.

The piano technique, the works for piano, the composers, recitals, auditions and all around the piano history have absolute relation with the manufacture and progress of the instrument construction and the possibilities that the piano could give to pianist and composers.

At the same time the piano was showing up, a new music style was emerging. It was the homophonic style, the Style Galant. Even though the pianoforte was invented in the early part of the eighteen-century it had to wait some decades to be widely known and accepted by musicians and manufactures. Bartolommeo Cristofori, a harpisichord-maker from Padua invented the new instrument in 1709. It constructed the device, in Florence, in which hammers activated strings and he called it a gravicembalo col piano e forte, explaining that it could play soft and loud.

Around 1730 Gottfried Silbermann builds few of them in Germany and them he could show them to Johann Sebastian Bach who didn't pay much attention thinking maybe that the instrument was no yet to compete with the clavichord for example. Of course Bach was a great clavichord, harpsichord and organ player and his point of view and his technique were from those instruments. About this and from Bach biographer and also by looking at his keyboard music we could guess that his playing must have featured complete independence of hands and fingers. His biographer adds, "Bach is said to have played with so easy and so small a motion of the fingers that it was hardly perceptible. Only the first joints of the fingers were in motion; the hand retained, even in the most difficult passages, its rounded form; the fingers rose very little from the key, hardly more that in a trill, and when one was employed the others remained quietly in position". But although we could have some information about how he played keyboard instrument in those times the piano came too late to J S Bach and also to other greats composer like Handel and Scarlatti.

The first known examples of music composed to piano or gravicembalo are a series of sonatas by Lodovico Giustini in 1732 and The first public piano recital was given by one of Bach sons, Johann Christian Bach in England in 1768 although he gave prior demonstrations. The piano had been invented in Italy but the rest of Europe would be in charge of the manufacture and development of the instrument. The first big difference from manufacturers appeared between England and Vienna's pianos. The Viennese was light in action, with relatively little carrying power, and virtually no pressure was needed to depress the keys. The English piano was bigger, more heavily strung, more brilliant and not so easily to manipulate. Also it have to be added that in German was almost unknown the use of pedal whereas in England pianist had adopted an own style where included the use of a large pedal.

During the development of the piano, it took pianist time to forgot about harpsichord or clavichord technique and concentrate on what the piano had to offer. This involved complete reorientation in fingering, in touch, in the basic philosophy of sound. J S Bach and maybe Domenico Scarlatti had probably worked out the basic principles of modern fingering, but Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Johann Christian Bach were who had a real contact with the new instrument. They composed and codified keyboard technique of their times.

Mozart knew stein's pianofortes in one of his tours in 1777 and he was very surprised, he adopted immediately starting to compose for pianoforte since that year. He had a Clavichord technique but he was fascinated with it and also he interested very much in its construction. Anton Walter of Vienna made the fist piano of Mozart around 1784 and it had no pedal but Walter built a pedal attachment to him, operated by the foot and not the knee that was common in those times. In his short life Mozart was a virtuoso who share the same feature with Clementi. Mozart was one of the first great pianists and it is said that he had a excellent clarity and he was proud about his legato but it was the playing of Clementi that was to prepare for the next generation and for the modern piano technique.

Before Clementi, for example, most passages were not played legato unless specifically marked. He broke away completely from eighteenth-century notions of binding notes together only when they were



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