How Bartolomeo Cristofori, who invented the piano, changed music

Monday’s Google doodle honors the 360th birthday of Bartolomeo Cristofori, inventor of the piano. Despite the fact that Mr. Cristofori’s name is largely unknown, his greatest invention has been a hugely influential instrument in both music and society.

Cristofori was a famed musical instrument maker in Italy, who moved from Padua to Florence in 1690 to work for the powerful Medici family. It was in Florence that he invented his masterpiece. The first piano is thought to have been designed by the year 1700, although it took Cristofori an additional 17 years to create a version that had all the elements of the modern piano.

The most important challenge Cristofori had to overcome in creating the piano was designing a hammer mechanism that struck the strings within the piano’s body. This allowed the volume to be altered depending on how hard or light a player pressed the keys and proved to be a major breakthrough in music. READ MORE.