Bartolomeo Cristofori was the first person to create a successful hammer-action keyboard instrument and, accordingly, deserves to be credited as the inventor of the piano. This example is the oldest of the three extant pianos by Cristofori. About 1700 he began to work on an instrument on which the player could achieve changes in loudness solely by changing the force with which the keys were struck. By 1700 he had made at least one successful instrument, which he called "gravicembalo col piano e forte" (harpsichord with soft and loud). His instrument still generally resembles a harpsichord, though its case is thicker and the quill mechanism has been replaced by a hammer mechanism. Cristofori's hammer mechanism is so well designed and made that no other of comparable sensitivity and reliability was devised for another seventy-five years. In fact, the highly complex action of the modern piano may be traced directly to his original conception.
#945. Kids: Grand Piano
945. Kids: Grand Piano
Martin Souter. Sonata in G minor, K373, Presto e fugato, Domenico Scarlatti. Keyboard Classics: Period Music Performed on the World's Oldest Piano. Classical Communications CCL CD005. 1999.
Partite in A minor by Domenico Zipoli. Recorded by Susan Alexander-Max for the CD "Domenico Zipoli: Sonate d'Intavolatura per Organo e Cimbalo (1716), Band II. Albany Records, 2004. TROY669.
Preludio from Suite in B Minor by Domenico Zipoli. Recorded by Susan Alexander Max for the CD "Domenico Zipoli: Sonate d'Intavolatura per Organo e Cimbalo (1716), Band II. Albany Records, 2004. TROY669.
Dimensions:Height (Total): 34 1/16 (86.5 cm) Width (Parallel to keyboard): 37 5/8 (95.6 cm) Depth (Case length, perpendicular to keyboard): 90 in. (228.6 cm)
Credit Line:The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889
Case depth without lid: 9.25 in. (23.5 cm) 3-octave span: 19.5 in. (49.5 cm) Length of longest string: 74.25 in. (188.6 cm) Length of shortest string: 4.75 in. (12 cm) Length of c2: 11 in. (27.9 cm)
Marking: 1) (on bottom rail supporting intermediate levers) I
2) (in ink on present hammer rail, possibly originally the nameboard) BARTHOLOMAEUS DE CHRISTOPHORIS PATAVINUS INVENTOR FACIEBAT FLORENTIAE · MDCCXX
3) (in ink at left of hammer rail) Restaurato l'Anno 1875/ da Cesare Ponsicchi/ Firenze.
Dr. Fabio Mocenni ; Ernesta Mocenni ; Signor Diego Martelli ; Mary Elizabeth Adams Brown
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Keynotes: Two Centuries of Piano Design," May 29–November 29, 1985.
Stewart S. Pollens. A History of Stringed Keyboard Instruments. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, 2022, p. x, 35, 324, 335, 337,358-359 (footnote 11), 396, 510-511, , 525 (footnote 17), 526 (footnote 32), 527 (footnote 37), ill.
Stewart S. Pollens. "Bartolomeo Cristofori in Florence." The Galpin Society Journal (2013), vol. 66, p. 23, 37.
Stewart S. Pollens inThe Pianoforte in the Performance of Scarlatti's Sonatas: in Domenico Scarlatti in Spain: Proceedings of VIII Festival Internacional de Musica de Tecla Espanola Diego Fernandez 2006-2007. Chapter., Garrucha, 2009, p. 304, 308-309.
Stewart S. Pollens inCristofori and Erard: Le pianoforte en France. Chapter., Paris, 2009, vol. no. 11, p.76.
Stewart S. Pollens inA Proposal for the Conservation of the Rediscovered 1690 Cristofori Spinetta Ovale and a Few Remarks: in Restauro e conservazione degli strumenti musicali antichi: la spinetta ovale di Bartolomeo Cristofori.. Chapter., Florence, 2008.
Glenn Litton. "Mrs Brown's Instrumental Passion." Fall. Brown Brothers Harriman Communicator (2006), p. 15.
Graham Gadd. The British Art Piano and Piano Design. First Edition. G.S. Gadd. All rights reserved.. Twickenham, 2006, vol. 1, pp. 2–3, fig. 2, ill.
Susan Alexander-Max inDomenico Zipoli: Sonate d'Intavolatura per Organo e Cimbalo (1716). CD. Recording., Albany Records. 2004.
Stewart S. Pollens. "The Gatti-Kraus Piano Action Ascribed to Bartolomeo Cristofori." The Galpin Society Journal (2002), vol. LV, p. 277.
Edwin M. Good. Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos: A Technological History from Cristofori to the Modern Concert Grand. Second Edition. 2001 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University. Stanford, CA, 2001, pp. 37–39.
Michael Cole. The Pianoforte in the Classical Era. 1998 Clarendon Press. Oxford, 1998, pp. 8–11, 16, 18, 324, 325.
Stewart S. Pollens. The Early Pianoforte. Cambridge, 1995, pp. 63, 65–67, 69, 76–79, 82-84, 91, 93-95, 115-116, 153-55, see Remarks, ill.
Martha Novak Clinkscale. Makers of the Piano, 1700-1820. Oxford, UK, 1993, p. 80.
Stewart S. Pollens. "Curt Sachs and Musical Instrument Restoration
." No. 1760. The Musical Times (1989), vol. 130, p.590-591, 594.
Darcy Kuronen. "Book Review: Luisa Cervelli. "Antitchi strumenti in un moderno museo: Museo Nazionale Strumenti Musciali–Roma," 2nd ed., edited by Renato Meucci. Rome: Gela, 1986. 75 pp.; 34 black-and-white photographs, 3 illustrations.." Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society (1989), vol. XV, p. 119, cat. XV.
Laurence Libin. "Keyboard Instruments." Summer. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1989), Vol. 47, No. 1, pp. 34–35, fig. 45, ill.
Stewart S. Pollens. "Gottfried Silbermann's Pianos." The Organ Yearbook (1986), vol. 17, p. 107-108. 119, 121.
Stewart S. Pollens. "The Early Portuguese Piano." No. 1. Early Music (1985), vol. 13, p.18, 26, ill.
Laurence Libin. Keynotes: Two Centuries of Piano Design. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pp. 6–7, fig. 3, ill.
Stewart S. Pollens. "The Pianos of Bartolomeo Cristofori." Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society (1984), vol. X, pp. 32–68, figs. 1–23, ill.
Mieczyslaw Horszowski (piano), liner notes byStewart S. Pollens inSonatas for Pianoforte by Lodovico Giustini. LP. Recording., Titanic Records M1812. 1979, vol. II.
Mieczyslaw Horszowski, liner notes byEmanuel Winternitz and Laurence Libin inSonatas for the Pianoforte by Lodovico Giustini. LP. Recording., Titanic Records M1803. 1979, vol. I.
Laurence Libin. "Musical Instruments in The Metropolitan Museum." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1978), vol. XXXV, p. 7, ill.
James Bonn , keyboards, David Hart , flute, liner notes byLaurence Libin inHistoric Instruments in Performance. LP. Recording., Pleiades Records M1808. 1977.
N. E. Michel. Historical Pianos, Clavichords and Harpsichords. Pico Rivera, CA, 1970, p. 104, ill.
Emanuel Winternitz. Keyboard Instruments in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Picture Book. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1961, pp. 37–39, fig. 20, ill.
Emanuel Winternitz. "The Evolution of the Baroque Orchestra: Metropolitan Museum Bulletin, May 1954." (1954), p. 275.
Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Historical Groups, Gallery 39. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1905, p. 134.
Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Europe. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1904, vol. I, p. 91, ill.
The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments of All Nations: Catalogue of Keyboard Instruments. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1903, pp. 123, 125, ill.
Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments of All Nations: I. Europe, Galleries 25 and 26, Central Cases of Galleries 27 and 28. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1902, vol. 13, pp. 91–93, 91+, 92+, ill.
Publishing and Marketing Assistant Rachel High discusses the breadth of the Museum's collection of musical instruments with J. Kenneth Moore, Frederick P. Rose Curator in Charge of the Department of Musical Instruments.
Associate Curator Jayson Dobney says farewell to National Piano Month by showcasing five additional examples of historic instruments from the Museum's collection—including the oldest extant piano in the world.
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