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Pianoforte [piano].

A keyboard instrument distinguished by the fact that its strings are struck by rebounding
hammers rather than plucked (as in the harpsichord) or struck by tangents that remain
in contact with the strings (as in the clavichord).
The present article treats the history and technique of the instrument; for discussion of
the repertory see Keyboard music !""". Additional information on the contributions of
particular makers is given in their individual articles.
"n the #ornbostel$%achs classification of instruments the piano is reckoned as a bo&
". #istory of the instrument
"". (iano playing.
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I. History of the instrument
2. "ntroduction.
4. 0rigins to 2?=C.
8. <ermany and Austria 2?=C32ACC.
:. )ngland and 6rance to 2ACC.
=. The @iennese piano from 2ACC.
;. )ngland and 6rance 2ACC3;C.
?. %pain 2?:=32A=C.
A. ,orth America to 2A;C.
B. 2A;C32B2=.
2C. 6rom 2B2=.
(ianoforte !"E #istory of the instrument
1. Introduction.
The piano has occupied a central place in professional and domestic music$making
since the third quarter of the 2Ath century. "n addition to the great capacities inherent in
the keyboard itself 3 the ability to sound simultaneously at least as many notes as one
has fingers and therefore to be able to produce an appro&imation of any work in the
entire literature of +estern music 3 the pianoFs capability of playing notes at widely
varying degrees of loudness in response to changes in the force with which the keys are
struck permitting crescendos and decrescendos and a natural dynamic shaping of a
musical phrase gave the instrument an enormous advantage over its predecessors the
clavichord and the harpsichord. (Although the clavichord was also capable of dynamic
e&pression in response to changes in touch its tone was too small to permit it to be
used in ensemble music; the harpsichord on the other hand had a louder sound but
was incapable of producing significant changes in loudness in response to changes in
touch.) The capabilities later acquired of sustaining notes at will after the fingers had left
the keys (by means of pedals) and of playing far more loudly than was possible on the
harpsichord made this advantage even greater.
The instrumentFs modern name is a shortened form of that given in the first published
description of it (2?22) by %cipione -affei where it is called Ggravecembalo col piano e
forteF (Gharpsichord with soft and loudF). 2Ath$century )nglish sources used the terms
GpianaforteF and GfortepianoF interchangeably with GpianoforteF; some scholars reserve
GfortepianoF for the 2Ath$ and early 2Bth$century instrument but the cognate is used in
%lavonic countries to refer to the modern piano as well. The <erman word
G#ammerklavierF might refer to the piano in general or alternatively to the square piano
as distinct from the grand piano (G6lHgelF).
There is no continuity between the remote 2=th$century precursors of the piano
described by #enri Arnaut de Iwolle around 2::C (see *ulce melos) and the origins of
the instrument as discussed in !4 below though references made in letters dated 2=BA
from #ippolito 9ricca of 6errara to *uke 9esare dF)ste in -odena suggest that an
instrument with dynamic fle&ibility (perhaps equipped with a striking mechanism) was
used in the dF)ste court in 6errara during the late 2;th century. These letters make
repeated reference to a special instromento pian et forte, istromento piane e forte,
instromento pian e forte and instromento piano et forte. An octave spinet (now in the
-etropolitan -useum of Art ,ew >ork) made in 2=A= by 6rancesco 5onafinis may have
been converted to a tangent piano in the 2?th century providing further evidence that
there were isolated attempts to construct string keyboard instruments with striking
mechanisms prior to 5artolomeo 9ristoforiFs invention made around 2?CC (see !4
The modern piano consists of si& maJor elementsE the strings the metal frames the
soundboard and bridges the action the wooden case and the pedals. There are three
strings for each note in the treble two for each note in the tenor and one for each note
in the bass. The massive metal frame supports the enormous tension that the strings
impose (appro&imately 2A tons or 2;:CC kg). The bridges communicate the vibrations
of the strings to the soundboard which enables these vibrations to be efficiently
converted into sound waves thereby making the sound of the instrument audible. The
action consists of the keys the hammers and the mechanism that impels the hammers
towards the strings when the keys are depressed. The wooden case encloses all of the
foregoing. The right pedal (the GloudF or GsustainingF pedal) acts to undamp all the strings
enabling them to vibrate freely regardless of what keys are depressed. The left pedal
(the Gsoft pedalF or Guna cordaF) acts to reduce the volume of tone either by moving the
hammers sideways so that they strike only two of the three strings provided for each
note in the treble and one of the two strings provided for each note in the tenor or by
bringing the hammers closer to the strings thus shortening their stroke or 3 on some
upright pianos 3 by interposing a strip of cloth between the hammers and the strings to
produce a muffled tone. The middle pedal when present acts to keep the dampers
raised on only those notes being played at the moment the pedal is depressed.
1ogically the ideal form of the piano is the GgrandF the wing$shape of which is
determined by the fact that the strings gradually lengthen from the treble at the right to
the bass at the left. Theoretically the length of the strings might be doubled for each
octave of the instrumentFs range but this would be impractical for an instrument having
a range of over seven octaves as the modern piano does and even the earliest pianos
with a range of only four octaves employed some shortening of the strings in the
e&treme bass. The rectangular GsquareF piano which like the grand has its strings in a
hori'ontal plane and which was popular in the 2Ath and 2Bth centuries has been
entirely superseded by various types of GverticalF or GuprightF piano which have their
strings in a vertical plane; the fact that uprights take up less room outweighs the
disadvantage imposed by the more comple& action they must use.
(ianoforte !"E #istory of the instrument
2. Origins to 1750.
The musical advantages initially possessed by the piano were not generally recogni'ed
at the time of its invention even though the instrument made its first appearance in a
highly developed form the work of a single individual 5artolomeo 9ristofori keeper of
instruments at the -edici court in 6lorence. *espite warmly argued claims on the part of
such other men as 9hristoph <ottlieb %chrKter and Dean -arius there now seems to be
no doubt that 9ristofori had actually constructed a working piano before any other
maker was even e&perimenting in this field. The detailed description of an Garpicimbalo
di nuova inventioneF in an inventory of the -edici instruments for 2?CC establishes that
he had by that year already completed at least one instrument of this kind. A precise
date is found in an inscription made by 6ederigo -eccoli (a court musician in 6lorence)
in a copy of <ioseffo IarlinoFs Le istitutioni harmoniche which states that the Garpi
cimbalo del piano eF forteF was invented by 9ristofori in 2?CC. 9ristoforiFs
accomplishment as seen in the three surviving pianos made by him all of which date
from the 2?4Cs would be difficult to e&aggerate. #is grasp of the essential problems
involved in creating a keyboard instrument that sounded by means of strings struck by
hammers was so complete that his action included features meeting every challenge
that would be posed to designers of pianos for well over a century. 7nfortunately the
very completeness of his design resulted in a complicated mechanism which builders
were apparently unwilling to duplicate if they could possibly devise anything that would
work and at the same time be simpler to make. As a result much of the history of the
2Ath$century piano is the history of the gradual reinvention or readoption of things that
were an integral part of 9ristoforiFs original conception; and it was only with the
introduction in the 2Bth century of increasingly massive hammers that the principles
discovered by 9ristofori could no longer provide the basis for a completely satisfactory
piano action requiring the still more complicated mechanism known today.
The essential difficulty in creating a workable instrument in which the strings are to be
struck by hammers is to provide a means whereby the hammers will strike the strings at
high speed and immediately rebound so that the hammers will not damp out the
vibrations they initiate. "n order to provide for immediate rebounding the strings must
not be lifted by the impact of the hammer and must therefore be thicker and at higher
tension than those of a harpsichord and the hammers must be tossed towards the
strings and be allowed to fly freely for at least some small part of their travel. The
smaller this distance of free flight is the more control the pianist has over the speed
with which the hammer will strike the string and accordingly over the loudness of the
sound that it will produce. 7nfortunately the smaller this distance is the more likely the
hammer is to Jam against the strings or bounce back and forth between the strings and
whatever device impelled it upwards when the key was struck; hence when the distance
of free flight is made small to permit control of loudness the hammer is likely to Jam or
bounce and damp out the tone. 9ristofori solved this problem with a mechanism that
enabled the hammer to be brought quite close to the string but caused it to fall quite far
away from it even if the key was still held down. *evices of this kind are called
escapements and they lie at the heart of all advanced piano actions. "n addition
9ristofori provided a lever system that caused the hammers to move at a high speed
and a GcheckF (or Gback checkF) which would catch the hammer after it fell so as to
eliminate all chance of its bouncing back up to restrike the strings. 6inally his action
provided for silencing the strings when the keys were not held down using slips of wood
resembling harpsichord Jacks which carried dampers and rested on the ends of the
These features are all visible in fig.2 which shows the action of the piano of 2?4; (see
fig.4) in the -usikinstrumenten$-useum of 1eip'ig 7niversity. +hen the key is
depressed the pivoted Jack mortised through it pushes upwards on a triangular block
attached to the underside of the intermediate lever which in turn bears on the hammer
shank near its point of attachment providing for a great velocity advantage. (Although
the Jack rises only about as fast as the front of the key is depressed the free end of the
intermediate lever rises appro&imately twice as fast and the hammer rises four times
more rapidly still.) The escapement is provided by the pivoted Jack which tilts forward
Just before the hammer reaches the string so that when the hammer rebounds the
block on the underside of the intermediate lever contacts the padded step at the back of
the Jack rather than the tip of the Jack. As a result even if the key is held down the
hammer falls to a point at least 2 cm below the strings. AdJustment of the point at which
the Jack tilts forward is achieved by bending the wire that supports the pad against
which the Jack is held by the spring. The further forward this pad is the earlier the Jack
slips away from the block and the sooner escapement takes place.
The construction of 9ristoforiFs pianos is similar to that of an 2Ath$century "talian
harpsichord of the thick$cased type e&cept that it employs a novel inner bentside that
supports the soundboard. The inner bentside and soundboard are structurally isolated
from the stress$bearing sections of the case rendering the soundboard more resonant.
9ristofori obviously recogni'ed the necessity of using thicker strings at higher tension.
Thus the gap between the pinblock or wrest plank and the belly rail (the stout
transverse brace that supports the front edge of the soundboard) through which the
hammers rise to strike the strings is bridged by a series of wooden braces (Ggap
spacersF) not found in "talian harpsichords. These braces contribute to preventing the
wrest plank from twisting or bending into the gap at its centre and are therefore of vital
importance in keeping the entire structure from twisting out of shape or collapsing. (The
means of ensuring the straightness and integrity of the wrest plank and case structure
continued to be one of the principal concerns of piano makers throughout the 2Ath
Two of 9ristoforiFs three surviving pianos have an inverted wrest plank in which the
tuning$pins are driven completely through with the strings attached to their lower ends
after passing across a nut attached to the underside of the wrest plank. According to
-affei this plan was adopted to provide more space for the action but it provides at
least two other advantagesE since the strings bear upwards against the nut the blow of
the hammer instead of tending to dislodge them upsetting the tuning and adversely
affecting the tone seats them even more firmly; second the inverted wrest plank
permits placement of the strings close to the top of the action so that the hammers
need not be tall to reach the strings. They can therefore be quite light an important
factor since 9ristoforiFs lever system providing for an acceleration of the hammer to
eight times the velocity with which the key is depressed automatically causes the player
to feel (at the key) the weight of the hammer multiplied eightfold.
The sound of the surviving 9ristofori pianos is very reminiscent of that of the
harpsichord owing to the thinness of the strings compared with later instruments and the
hardness of the hammers; but it is less brilliant and rather less loud than that of a firmly
quilled "talian harpsichord of the time. These points are mentioned in -affeiFs account
as reasons for the lack of universal praise for the instrument as is the fact that
contemporary keyboard players found the touch difficult to master (in <ermany where
the clavichord was used as both a teaching and a practice instrument no such obJection
seems to have been raised when the piano became known). 0n two of the surviving
9ristofori pianos it is possible to slide the keyboard sideways so that the hammers strike
only one of the two strings provided for each note. (ossibly it was the desire to include
such a device that caused 9ristofori to space his strings widely rather than placing the
unisons struck by each hammer close to one another with a wider space between. Apart
from this una corda capability 9ristoforiFs pianos make no provision for alteration of the
tone by stops or other such devices; however one would not e&pect to find such a
provision in view of the lack of any multiplicity of stops in "talian harpsichords.
There seems to have been little direct result in "taly of 9ristoforiFs monumental
achievement. -affei in his account clearly recogni'ed the important differences
between 9ristoforiFs pianos and the harpsichord (even if he had no better name for the
new instrument than Gharpsichord with soft and loudF) and an interesting collection of 24
sonatas for the instrument that includes dynamic markings implying crescendos and
decrescendos was published in 2?84 (1odovico <iustiniFs Sonate da cimbalo di piano e
forte). 5ut only a handful of other "talian instrument makers seem to have followed in
9ristoforiFs footsteps notably <iovanni 6errini and *omenico del -ela. "t was left
primarily to <erman %panish and (ortuguese builders and musicians to e&ploit his work
in the years after his death in 2?84.
A <erman translation of -affeiFs account was published in Dohann -atthesonFs Critica
musica ii (2?4=) where it was presumably seen by <ottfried %ilbermann who is
reported to have begun e&perimenting on pianos of his own in the 2?8Cs. #e is said to
have offered one for 5achFs inspection and at the composerFs adverse reaction to its
heavy touch and weak treble to have gone on to further e&periments resulting in
improved instruments a number of which were bought by 6rederick the <reat. These
are reported to have met with 5achFs complete approval when he visited (otsdam in
2?:?. The two %ilbermann pianos owned by 6rederick that have survived have actions
identical with those in the surviving 9ristofori instruments; it seems more than likely that
by the time %ilbermann made them he had seen an e&ample whereas his earlier
attempts had failed as a result of having been based on the diagram accompanying
-affeiFs description 3 which -affei admitted had been drawn from memory without the
instrument before him. %ilbermann retained 9ristoforiFs inverted wrest plank and the
equidistant spacing of the strings (see fig.8) and he used the hollow hammers made of
rolled paper found in the 2?4; instrument which together with the check replacing silk
strands evidently replaced the small blocks shown in -affeiFs diagram. As might be
e&pected from a representative of the north )uropean keyboard instrument building
tradition %ilbermann included hand stops for raising the treble and bass dampers in
addition to devices for sliding the keyboard sideways so that the hammers would strike
only one of the two strings provided for each note. Thus these two most characteristic
means of modifying the pianoFs tone integral to all modern pianos were found together
as early as the 2?:Cs.
Although <ottfried %ilbermann and his nephew Dohann #einrich %ilbermann seem to
have made direct copies of 9ristoforiFs hammer action virtually unchanged e&cept for
the addition of damper$lifting mechanisms other <erman makers some of whom may
perhaps not even have been e&plicitly informed of 9ristoforiFs work to the e&tent of
knowing of the e&istence of Ghammer harpsichordsF devised a host of less complicated
actions many adapted to the rectangular clavichord$shaped square pianos. "n an early
e&ample a hammer hinged to the back of the case is thrust upwards by a block at the
end of the key reducing 9ristoforiFs mechanism to an absolute minimum. This type of
action became known as the Stossmechanik and is the principle upon which the later
)nglish builders and their followers built their pianos (see !: below). The great period of
piano building in the <erman$speaking world is not however represented by these
developments or even by %ilbermannFs work which with the death of his son seems to
have led to no direct line of 9ristofori$inspired instrument building. .ather a different
approach evolved 3 using a type of action known as the Prellmechanik 3 which
dominated <erman piano building for the ne&t ?= years.
(ianoforte !"E #istory of the instrument
3. ermany and !ustria" 1750#1$00.
+hereas 9ristofori the %ilbermanns and the later piano makers of other schools sought
to create a harpsichord capable of dynamic e&pression the main thrust of <erman and
Austrian piano building in the later part of the century seems to have been towards
creating an instrument that would be like a louder clavichord (Austria <ermany and
%candinavia being virtually the only countries in which the clavichord was still esteemed
at this period). These <erman and Austrian pianos have a relatively clear singing tone
and an e&tremely light touch (2434C grams). The simplest of the so$called square
models with the Prellmechanik show clearly the inspiration of their originE all that
separates them from the clavichord is the addition of a nut at the rear to determine the
speaking length of the strings and the replacement of the tangent by a hammer hinged
to the back of the key. "n the simple Prellmechanik most commonly (and apparently
e&clusively) used in square models each of the hammer shanks is attached to its own
key 3 either directly to the top or side (see fig.:) or by a wooden or metal fork or block
(the Kapsel) 3 with the hammer head towards the player. A point (the GbeakF) on the
opposite end of the hammer shank e&tends beyond the end of the key. This beak is
stopped vertically either by the underside of the hitch$pin apron or by a fi&ed rail called
the PrelleisteE as the back of the key rises the hammer is thereby flipped upwards
towards the string. As the distance from the tip of the beak to the hammer shank pivot is
far shorter than the distance from the pivot to the hammer the hammer ascends much
more rapidly than does the back of the key. An adequate free$flight distance had to be
left as there was no escapement mechanism to prevent the hammers from restriking the
string or blocking and interrupting the tone. A significant number of these pianos had
uncovered hammer heads giving a harpsichord$like sound. 0thers had only a meagre
covering of leather on the hammers.
The development of an individual escapement for the Prellmechanik is credited to
Dohann Andreas %tein (2?4A3B4) a keyboard instrument maker in Augsburg. "n some of
%teinFs instruments the labels are missing altered or falsified so there has been
confusion in the dating of his earliest pianos. 5ut some of the questionable instruments
are also signed and dated with silver pencil on the underside of the soundboard
(1atcham *2BBA). The claviorgan a combination of organ and piano made by %tein in
2?A2 (now in the #istoriska -useum <Kteborg) is the oldest known dated piano with
the Prellmechanik escapement. 5y 2??? a type of action with an escapement
mechanism must have evolved sufficiently to satisfy -o'art when he visited %tein in
Augsburg (-o'art complained of hammers Jamming on other instruments). The
harpsichord$piano of the same year located now in the -useo 9ivico di 9astelvecchio
@erona has stationary mounted hammers while the individual escapement hoppers are
hinged to the keys (Zuggetriebe; see (feiffer 92B:A). The hammer heads are still
"n the developed Prellmechanik there is an individual hinged escapement hopper for
each key instead of a stationary rail serving all keys. )ach hopper has a notch into
which the beak of the hammer shank fits and each hopper has its own return spring
(see fig.=). As the key is depressed the beak is caught by the top of the notch in the
escapement hopper lifting the hammer. The combined arcs traversed by the key and
the hammer shank cause the beak to withdraw from the escapement hopper and slip
free Just before the hammer meets the string after which it is free to fall back to its rest
position. +hen the key is released the beak slides down the face of the escapement
hopper back into the notch.
An important feature in such pianos is the e&tremely small and light hammers (see
fig.2B below); their thin leather covering (instead of felt) is vital to these instrumentsF
clavichord$like delicacy of articulation and nuance. Typically the %tein action has either
round hollow hammers similar to those of the %ilbermanns but made of barberrywood
(see Koster and others 92BB:) or short solid hammers usually made of pearwood (the
Kapseln are also of felt$covered pearwood). %urviving %tein instruments from 2?A2 to
2?A8 all have the round hollow hammers as do the instruments of D.*. %chiedmayer
who worked for %tein from 2??A to 2?A2. "n %teinFs instruments each key has a post
supporting the hammer in a rest position above the level of the keys; this rest post is
provided with a soft cloth which helps absorb the shock of the returning hammers thus
preventing them from rebounding a useful function in the absence of a true back check.
To place the action in its proper position (behind the wrest plank in a grand) a GsledF or
drawer about = cm high is slipped under the action. The keyboard itself is generally of
spruce or lime with ebony key slips for the naturals and with sharps of dyed pearwood
topped with bone or ivory.
The individual dampers are fitted into a rack above the strings which the player can
raise by means of two Joined knee levers under the keyboard; the claviorganum of 2?A2
has hand stops for this purpose. %ome of %teinFs instruments have hand levers for other
stops but these are probably not original. 0n the outside the %tein case (see figs.; and
?) has a double curved bentside. "nside the liners for the soundboard are made of solid
wood and reach down to the baseboard. The frame is braced by two or three members
perpendicular to the spine (the straight side of the instrument) and two or three diagonal
supports. The case is closed at the bottom by a thick baseboard with the grain running
parallel to the straight part of the bentside and is usually veneered in plain walnut or
cherry with a band of moulding around the lower edge. The soundboards of %teinFs
instruments are of quarter$sawn spruce graduated in thickness and with a system of
ribbing glued to the underside. Typical of %teinFs ribbing systems is the position of the
long diagonal rib glued very close to the bridge. The compass of all %teinFs pianos is
five octaves FL to fLLL. %ome variations of detail and design in %teinFs late instruments
e.g. the shape of the action parts and the use of gap spacers wire$guided dampers
and slides to raise the action were continued by his children until 2AC=.
"t has not yet been discovered how knowledge of 9ristoforiFs hammer action reached
@ienna. The @iennese court account books of 2?;8 record a fee to Dohann 5aptist
%chmidt Gfor a concert on the fortipianoF the first documented usage of this term (this
may have been a square piano)E Muite a number of the oldest e&tant @iennese pianos
have the Stossmechanik rather than %teinFs Prellmechanik (#uber *2BB2); %tein was
probably not using his new mechanisms before 2?AC (1atcham *2BB8 *2BBA). A
number of piano makers came to Austria from %outh <ermany and 5ohemia in the later
2Ath century most notable among them Anton +alter (2?=432A4;). "n about 2?A4 +.A.
-o'art bought a piano from +alter (.ampe *2BB=). 9ertain alterations to the action
suggest that this piano and two other instruments of +alterLs earliest creative period
could originally have had a Stossmechanik action.
"n the mid$2?ACs +alter developed the Prellmechanik further departing significantly
from %teinLs model (1uithlein 62B=:; .Hck *2B==). The escapement hoppers are tilted
forward with the effect that the hammers which are longer and larger and rest close to
the level of the key (there are no rest posts as such) decelerate as they rise and their
beaks gradually slip out from the notches in the hoppers. A movable rail adJusts the
point at which the beak finally leaves the notch. There is a sprung back$check rail to
prevent the hammers from rebounding. After about 2?A= brass Kapseln were used in
@ienna as well as the wooden felt$covered Kapseln of the %tein action (the two types
continued in parallel use for some 4C years). The double$pointed iron a&le of the
hammer fits into two shallow sockets in a springy 7$shaped fork of brass. This
invention attributed to the @iennese piano maker Dohann Dakob %eidel N%eydelO (2?=B3
2AC;) allowed more precise and relatively frictionless movement of the hammer shank
and greater efficiency of manufacture (for illustration of a later version of this action see
!= fig.2A below). 5oth %teinFs and +alterFs actions are capable of great e&pressivity and
dynamic variation but +alterFs with its check rail could produce greater volume suiting
the fashion for virtuoso performance. "n e&pressive power subtlety and the production
of swiftly repeated notes if not in volume the Prellmechanik with back check (described
in the 2Bth century as the G@iennese actionF; see != below) was undoubtedly superior to
the various Stossmechanik actions then being built.
The cases of these pianos at first resembled those of south <erman and Austrian
harpsichords. The body was usually plain made of native woods (walnut cherry oak
yew) sometimes solid wood and sometimes veneered. The naturals usually had ebony
key slips and the sharps were dyed black with slips of bone or ivory. 6rom the mid$
2?BCs some keyboards had ivory or bone slips on the naturals as well; the cases of
these instruments were usually of mahogany and in more e&pensive instruments were
decorated with brass appliquP work partly gilded. "n some instruments (e.g. by "gnat'
Kober Dohann Dakob KKnnicke 1. <ress) the soundboard has a rose. The compass
was usually FL to fLLL or gLLL; the treble register was e&tended only towards the turn of the
century. -ost pianos were double$strung in the bass and middle registers with the
treble triple$strung from about aL to cLL while most square pianos were double$strung
throughout. %trings were usually of soft low$carbon phosphorous steel (Giron stringsF)
with brass in the lowest octave. -any makers used GcopperF (red brass) for the lowest
notes. The low notes of square pianos usually had overspun strings made of silvered
tinned or 'inc$covered copper wire on a brass or iron core. 9ontemporary sources and
significant differences in scaling as well as several preserved claviorgans provide
evidence that pianos were built (or played) in different pitchesE low chamber pitch (a' Q
c:C=34=) high chamber pitch (a' Q c:8C3:C) and choir pitch (a' Q c:=C3;=).
5oth grand and square pianos usually had one or more devices to change tone colour
known as mutations or stops. %ometimes especially in earlier instruments they were
divided into bass and treble areas. The forte stop raises all the dampers. The piano or
mute stop (or sourdine) inserts a strip of cloth between strings and hammers producing
a slightly muted colour. The lute or harp stop (rarer) presses a leather or fabric$covered
strip against the strings close to the bridge the effect being a lute$like sound that quickly
dies away. The stops could be operated by hand as on an organ or by knee levers
(square pianos usually used hand levers). At the end of the 2?BCs the so$called
bassoon stop (probably originating in (rague) became fashionable. "t was a strip of
wood supporting a roll of paper silk or e&tremely thin parchment pressed against the
bass strings to give them a bu''ing sound. The kind of sound e&pected by instrument
makers musicians and audiences was clearly not firmly established at first and tone
colours of different instruments might resemble those of the clavichord harpsichord
dulcimer harp or pantaleon. -any instruments of the period had hammer heads without
leather covers the result being a very bright harpsichord$like sound. 7ntil the end of
the 2Ath century the central concern of piano makers was clearly to build an action
which would be easy to operate subtle and capable of swift repetition of notes with a
reliable damping system and to balance a rounded bass with good tone colour against
an e&pressive not too weak treble. @olume and carrying power do not seem to have
been a priority. 5esides iconographical evidence this is indicated by the fact that a great
maJority of preserved 2Ath$century south <erman and Austrian pianos originally had no
sticks to hold their lids open. <rand pianos were usually played with the lid closed; or
when performances were given on a larger scale the entire lid was removed (#uber
<2BA?). The distributed and importance of square pianos should not be
underestimated; for average musicians and amateurs they were easier to acquire than
the far more e&pensive grand pianos which must have been largely reserved for the
aristocracy until the last quarter of the 2Ath century.
At the end of the 2Ath century some ;C piano makers and organ builders were active in
@ienna. "nstruments made in the tradition of D.A. %tein should be regarded as the typical
pianos of the early @iennese 9lassical period in particular those made by his two
children ,annette %tein (later %treicher) and -atthRus Andreas %tein (known as AndrP
%tein) who moved their workshop from Augsburg to @ienna in 2?B: (6rSre T %oeur
%tein U @ienne). <erman makers of note include %teinLs pupil D.*. %chiedmayer in
)rlangen; D.1. *ulcken (ii) in -unich; the brothers Dohann <ottfried (2?8;32ACA) and
Dohann +ilhelm <rRbner (2?8?3BA) in *resden; and 9.6.+. 1emme (2?:?32ACA) and
D.D. KKnnicke (2?=;32A22) in 5runswick (KKnnicke moved to @ienna in 2?BC). D.).
%chmidt (2?=?32AC:) who was appointed court organ builder in %al'burg in 2?A= on
the recommendation of 1eopold -o'art and 6erdinand #ofmann (2?=;32A4B) also
worked in the %tein tradition in @ienna. ,otable among the followers of Anton +alter
were his pupil Kaspar Katholnik (2?;832A4B) and -ichael .osenberger (2?;;32A84).
There was a third @iennese tradition of piano making its most important maker being
"gnat' Kober (c2?==32A28). 6eatures of his instruments include very precisely made
Stossmechanik actions and a rose on the soundboard. The oldest preserved signed and
dated @iennese piano was made in 2?A? (Kunsthistorisches -useum @ienna) by
<ottfried -allek (2?823BA).
(ianoforte !"E #istory of the instrument
%. &ng'and and (rance to 1$00.
5efore 2?;= the pianoforte did not occupy a prominent position in 6rance or 5ritain.
,evertheless scattered documentary sources indicate that as in northern <ermany
some early e&amples were heard and admired during the 2?8Cs and :Cs. +riting to his
brother Dames from 1ondon on 2? -ay 2?:C Thomas #arris (2?243A=) reported that
#andel had Gplayed finely on the (iano$forteF the day before (*unhill <2BB=). As he did
not e&plain what this instrument was we may conclude that both men had seen it
previously. 9harles Dennens #andelFs librettist for Messiah owned a G(iano$forte
#arpsichordF sent from 6lorence as early as 2?84 together with Ga book of %onatas
composFd purposely for the (iano forteF presumably <iustiniFs. "n about 2?:C %amuel
9risp (2?C;3A8) returned from "taly with a pianoforte made in .ome by an )nglishman
named +ood. "n 2?:? 9harles 5urney played it at the country home of his new patron
6ulke <reville. 1isteners were delighted by its tone and its Gmagnificent and new effectF
of light and shade produced simply Gby the fingerF. "t was however severely limited by
poor repetition. G,othing quick could be e&ecuted upon itF wrote 5urney but he
perfected the performance of slow and solemn pieces and some Gpathetic strains NfromO
"talian operasF e&citing Gwonder and delight in the hearersF. <reville liked it so much that
he prevailed on 9risp to sell it to him for 2CC guineas 3 about double the price of a new
harpsichord. .oger (lenius a 1ondon harpsichord maker made an improved version
about 2?=C but met with little encouragement; he was declared bankrupt in 2?=;. 0n 4?
Dune 2?== the .ev. +illiam -ason wrote from #anover to the poet Thomas <rayE G"
bought at #amburg such a (ianoforte and so cheapV "t is a #arpsichord too of 4
7nisons and the Dacks serve as -utes when the (ianoforte is played by the cleverest
-echanism imaginableF. The makerFs name is not known but 6riedrich ,eubauer was
advertising such combination instruments in #amburg in 2?=: as well as clavichords
and harpsichords and hammer$action instruments called Pantelong evidently inspired
by #ebenstreitFs giant dulcimer (known as pantaleon). 5y 2?=A ,eubauer had moved to
1ondon where he advertised the same instruments dropping the name G(antelongF in
favour of G(iano forteF. Thus hammer instruments of both <erman and "talian designs
were seen in 1ondon before 2?;C. ,evertheless in an environment dominated by the
harpsichord pianos were comparatively scarce and undeveloped and had little
influence on repertory or performance.
"n (aris there was a similarly slow response. "n 2?2; Dean -arius presented plans to
the AcadPmie des %ciences for a claecin ! maillets. 5ut the originality of his invention
was successfully challenged in the courts and no such instrument is known to have
been completed by -arius. "n 2?=B the academy saw another novel harpsichord made
by G+eltmanF (possibly the *utch maker Andries @eltman) containing both conventional
Jacks and a hammer action; again there was no discernible response. After <ottfried
%ilbermannFs death (*resden 2?=8) his pianoforte design was perpetuated by his
nephew Dohann #einrich %ilbermann in %trasbourg. The latterLs instruments described
in (aris in Laant coureur of ; April 2?;2 were bichord grands of five octaves with
hand$operated stops to raise the dampers. The prodigious asking price 3 2=CC livres 3
would have deterred all but the wealthiest patrons; reportedly there were only four of
these piano e forte claecins in (aris. %chobert and )ckard probably played on such
instruments when the opportunity arose. The preface of )ckardFs %onatas op.2 (2?;8)
e&plains that dynamic markings appear so as to make the music Gequally useful to
performers on the harpsichord clavichord or pianoforteF.
The tardy acceptance of the piano was soon to be rapidly accelerated by events in
1ondon. "n %eptember 2?;2 (rincess 9harlotte of -ecklenburg$%trelit' became queen
of )ngland aged 2?. #er enthusiastic harpsichord playing and penchant for modern
music led to the selection of D.9. 5ach as her music master by 2?;8. 5urney reported
that after D.9. 5achLs arrival in 1ondon to prepare works for the opera season of 2?;43
8 Gall the harpsichord makers tried their mechanical powers at piano$fortes but their
first attempts were always on the large si'e till IumpP W constructed small piano$fortes
of the shape and si'e of the virginalF. Dohannes Iumpe (2?4;3BC) emigrated to 1ondon
around 2?=C and studied instrument making with 5urkat %hudi. #e set up his own
workshop in 2?;2 at first supplying metal$strung )nglish guitars but then turned to
pianos. #is earliest surviving square pianos date from 2?;;. "n the same year on the
title page of D.9. 5achFs si& keyboard sonatas op.= 5ach first nominated the pianoforte
as an alternative to the harpsichord. IumpeFs instruments were enthusiastically
endorsed by 5ach 5urney -ason and by association the queen herself. 6or several
decades this type of square piano was much the most popular form of pianoforte
throughout )urope and ,orth America. 5urney attributed this to its sweet tone good
repetition compact si'e and low priceE the instruments sold at 2; to 2A guineas about a
third of the cost of a harpsichord.
IumpeFs standard keyboard (fig.A) has =A playing notes ("L #L3fLLL) and a distinctive
dummy sharp attached to the lowest note.The action commonly called )nglish single
action is shown in fig.B. "nstead of the Jack and intermediate lever of 9ristoforiFs action
Iumpe used a wire (the pilot) mounted on a key with a leather$covered button at its
upper e&tremity which acted directly on the hammer. There is no escapement or back
check. A sprung damper$lever is hinged to the back of the piano case above the strings.
The damper is raised by a thin wooden or whalebone rod (the sticker); the whalebone
damper spring e&pedites its return once the key is released. Though the lack of
escapement hinders subtlety of e&pression it makes the mechanism almost
indestructible and repetition very prompt. IumpeFs hammers are attached by fle&ible
leather hinges (eliminating rattling sounds) and their tiny limewood heads are covered
with one or two thin layers of smooth goatskin. An important innovation is that
compared with a clavichord the strings are much thicker and at higher tensions. This
combination of hammers and strings produces a remarkably pleasant tone. "nitially one
hand stop was provided to raise the dampers but to counter obJections that the
lingering harmonies were too intrusive Iumpe changed to separate hand stops for bass
and treblein 2?;? enabling the player to damp the bass while employing the singing
undamped tone in the treble. 6rom 2?;B the buff stop was added; this pressed soft
leather against the end of the strings so that with the full damper lift the sound
resembled the gut$strung tones of #ebenstreitFs dulcimer (though in 5ritain it was
likened to the harp). Alternatively with the buff stop on and the dampers engaged the
sound resembled the pi''icato of violins.
IumpeFs design was never patented and since demand far outstripped his ability to
supply a host of other makers soon began producing imitations. 5etween 2?;A and
2??= these included in 1ondon Dohannes (ohlman Adam 5eyer 6rederick 5eck
<eorge 6rKschle 9hristopher <aner and Thomas <arbutt; in >ork Thomas #a&by; and
in (aris 5alta'ar (Pronard and Dohann Kilian -ercken. "n (aris some makers tried an
alternative system using unleathered hammer heads and Prellmechanik (i.e. with
hammers attached to keys) among them Adrien lF)pine in 2??4 but tonally such
designs were inferior to the G)nglish pianoforteF as IumpeFs invention was known. 5y
2?A: pianos of the Iumpe type (fig.2C) were widely used in 6rance ,orth America the
1ow 9ountries %pain (ortugal "taly <ermany and Austria. -akers included Krogmann
(#amburg) %teinbrHck (<otha) #ubert (Ansbach) Duan del -Xrmol (%eville) the -eyer
brothers (Amsterdam) #enri van 9asteel (5russels) %Pbastien )rard ((aris) and
+ilhelm Iimmermann ((aris). 5eyer and <aner improved IumpeFs design enlarging
the soundboard adding a swell that worked by raising part of the lid and sometimes
fitting pedals to work the stops. "n 2??: 6rKschle introduced a brass under$damper;
other makers ignored this improvement until Dohn 5roadwood who had manufactured
square pianos from 2?AC included it in his patent of 2?A8. A still better damper was
invented by +illiam %outhwell of *ublin (see fig.22)who also managed to e&tend the
compass to cLLLL without encroaching on the soundboard or increasing the si'e of the
instrument. "n 2?A; Dohn <eib patented an escapement with an intermediate lever
(Gdouble actionF) based on the 9ristofori$%ilbermann action (fig.22). 1ongman T
5roderip who bought rights to <eibFs and %outhwellFs patents sold square pianos that
were delightful in their touch and tone and deservedly popular. The %choene brothers
who took over IumpeFs business in about 2?A8 appear to have introduced a variant
form of IumpeFs action in 2?A; using an intermediate lever without escapement; )rard
and other 6rench makers adopted it for square pianos until about 2A4C. IumpeFs single
action continued in use until at least 2A2= in pianos of inferior quality.
"n 6ebruary 2??2 Americus 5ackers announced an e&hibition in 1ondon of his Gnew$
invented original 6orte (ianoF 3 the direct ancestor of the modern grand. An e&ample
dated 2??4 with serial number 42 (at %t 9eciliaFs #all )dinburgh) resembles a Kirkman
harpsichord in appearance but its many advanced design features suggest years of
development. 5ackersFs action dispenses with 9ristoforiFs intermediate leverE the Jack
works directly on the hammer butt having a forced escapement regulated by a set$off
screw under the hammer rail. "ts great advantage was that it could be easily adJusted by
the owner with an ordinary tuning hammer. "t has a true check as invented by 9ristofori
so repetition is e&cellent. Two pedals attached to the front legs established the pattern
for modern pianosE the left works an una corda and the right is the earliest known
sustaining pedal which allows a general raising of the dampers without taking a hand
from the keys.
5ackers pianos were used by D.9. 5ach and his protPgP Dohann %amuel %chroeter for
concerto performances in 1ondon and would certainly have been known by 9lementi.
After 5ackersFs death his pioneering work was continued by %todart and Dohn
5roadwood who made the most significant advances in tone. An action from a
5roadwood grand piano of 2?BB is shown in fig.24. 5ackers and %todart had placed the
striking point at about one$twelfth of the sounding length but 5roadwood moved it to
between one$ninth and one$tenth. #e also gave the bridge a rectangular cross$section
carved in a sawtooth pattern to give all three unison strings an equal sounding length
and tension. Then about 2?BC he divided the bridge into two lengths (fig.28)
separating the brass strings in the bass from the steel ones of the treble and tenor; by
stretching the different metals to their optimum tensions he achieved a purer tone. "t
was allegedly to please *ussek that 5roadwood made his first five$and$a$half octave
grand its compass e&tended to cLLLL in about 2?B2. #aydn took a 1ongman T 5roderip
grand with this range to @ienna after his 1ondon visits. The first si&$octave 5roadwood
(CL3cLLLL) is reported to have been made in 2?B:. 5roadwoodFs innovations were swiftly
copied by other )nglish makers and then by )rard but were not generally adopted in
@ienna until about 2A4C (see != below). 5y 2?BC 6rench makers were constructing
grand pianos to various designs. #aving established a good reputation for square
pianos the )rard firm began manufacturing concert pianos in the late 2?BCs after the
return in 2?B: of %Pbastien )rard from a period in 1ondon. They used the )nglish grand
action and case construction but added e&tra mutation pedals including a moderator
and a harp or buff stop. )rard grand pianos quickly achieved international renown (see
!; below).
(ianoforte !"E #istory of the instrument
5. )he *iennese piano from 1$00.
0f the 4CC or so @iennese instrument makers listed in #auptFs study (*2B;C) for the
period 2?B232A2= at least 28= were keyboard instrument builders. -ost prominent
wereE Anton +alter who from about 2A2? to 2A4: was in partnership with his stepson
Doseph %chKffstoss (2?;?32A4:); Dohann %chant' who had taken over the workshop of
his deceased brother +en'l in 2?B2 and whose business was continued from 2A82 by
Doseph Angst (c2?A;32A:4); and ,annette %treicher and her brother -atthRus Andreas
%tein who had their own separate firms after 2AC4. After 2A48 ,annette %treicher was
in partnership with her son Dohann 5aptist who continued the business after her death
in 2A88; from the late 2A=Cs he was in partnership with his son )mil %treicher who took
over in 2A?2 and dissolved the firm in 2AB;. 0ther noteworthy makers included -atthias
-Hller (2??C32A::) the number and ingenuity of whose inventions rival those of D.A.
%tein in the 2Ath century; Doseph 5rodmann (c2??232A:A) whose workshop was taken
over by his pupil "gna' 5Ksendorfer in 2A4A and continued by his son 1udwig
5Ksendorfer from 2A=B; and 9onrad <raf who in 2AC: married the widow of the piano
builder Dacob %chelkle and in 2A22 moved his workshop to @ienna.
%everal trends of the first half of the 2Bth century were already discernible by 2ACC. The
five$octave range of the <erman and @iennese pianos was e&panded and the
keyboards were changed from black naturals and white$topped sharps to white naturals
and black sharps as on the modern keyboard. The number of tone$altering devices
increased. The case structure was made heavier to accommodate the increasing si'e of
the instruments and their heavier stringing.
6ew @iennese pianos from the first years of the 2Bth century appear to have survived
but several e&tant instruments by Anton +alter with a range of FL to gLLL may be from this
period. An early instrument by ,annette %treicher (<ermanisches ,ationalmuseum
,uremberg) with a range of five and a half octaves FL to cLLL has most of the
characteristics of a late D.A. %tein piano (see !8 above) including wooden Kapseln but
the naturals of the keyboard are ivory and the grain of the bottom is parallel to the
spine. 1ater surviving instruments by ,annette %treicher indicate that about 2AC= she
adopted the +alter action type with metal Kapseln and back checks.
The earliest known signed and dated @iennese action pianos with damper pedals
instead of knee levers are by ,annette %treicher (2A22; <ermanisches
,ationalmuseum ,uremberg) and Doseph 5rodmann (2A24; -usikinstrumenten$
-useum %taatliches "nstitut fHr -usikforschung 5erlin). +ith one (early) e&ception the
e&tant pianos by 9onrad <raf all have pedals.
5y the 2A4Cs a typical @iennese grand piano was nearly 4Y8 metres long and 2Y4=
metres wide with a range of si& or si& and a half octaves and usually with two to si&
pedals. 9ertain types of space$saving and decorative upright instruments such as the
GgiraffeF (see fig.2=) and GpyramidF pianos were popular (see 7pright pianoforte) as well
as smaller versions of the square such as the $%htisch (Gsewing tableF) the &rphica (a
tiny portable harp$shaped piano; for illustration see 0rphica) and the 'uerfl(gel
(Gcocked hatF). An invention of 2ACC by -athias -Hller had special significanceE his
)itanaclasis made at first with two keyboards opposite each other and from 2AC8 with a
single keyboard is an ancestor of the modern pianino or cottage piano (#aupt *2B;C)
its strings running from near the level of the floor rather than from keyboard level. "n the
second quarter of the century larger squares with the @iennese action were also made.
The 2A4Cs and 8Cs were also a time of many inventions and improvements in the piano
in @ienna. %oundboard structure Kapseln the keyboard and down$bearing devices for
the nut and bridge seem to have received the most attention. "n 2A48 D.5. %treicher
patented his down$striking action ((feifferFs Zuggetriebe; see !8 above) of which there
are several surviving e&amples and in 2A82 he invented an GAnglo$<ermanF action in
which the layout of the traditional @iennese action is combined with the action principle
of the )nglish piano (see fig.2;; this type of action had also appeared in some )nglish
and <erman$Austrian pianos in the late 2Ath century but was never widely adopted).
%treicher used a system of iron bars in 2A8= and 6riedrich #o&a is reputed to have
been the first Austrian to use a full iron frame in 2A8B; 6riedrich )hrbar (2A4?32BC=)
was one of the first in @ienna to use the iron frame (see !; below). 5ut these
developments were behind their )nglish counterparts by 2= or 4C years and fortunately
the basic design of the @iennese wooden instrument with its interlocking structure was
more capable than that of the )nglish of sustaining increased string tension. <raf the
most eminent @iennese builder from the early 2A4Cs until his retirement in 2A:2
remained faithful to wooden framing (see fig.2?). The relative virtues of )nglish$ and
@iennese$style pianos 3 their touch and timbre 3 were keenly debated on many
occasions. .esearch indicates that <erman composers from 5eethoven to %chumann
and 5rahms never wavered in their allegiance to the @iennese piano. 5ut as the century
progressed the demands of musical taste elsewhere and the predominant playing
technique of the period accentuated the disadvantages of the @iennese action
rendering it unable to compete in the international market. Doseph 6ischhof a Juror at
the <reat )&hibition of 2A=2 complained bitterly in his *ersuch einer "eschichte des
Claierbaues (2A=8) about the other JudgesF emphasis on volume alone which
discriminated against the already sparsely represented @iennese pianos built to satisfy
the Austrian taste for fine nuances and e&pressive playing.
Dust as the demand for more volume with a stronger fundamental tone and fewer
overtones meant heavier stringing and consequently a thicker and stronger case
structure the hammers and dampers of the @iennese piano also became heavier (see
figs.2A and 2B below) although the simplicity of the action did not change and some
@iennese makers retained until late in the century the thin layer of leather over the felt
hammer$covering that had become common by the middle of the century. "nevitably
however the heavier action destroyed that delicacy of touch and crispness of tone
which had distinguished the earlier instruments. (feiffer suggested that pianists used to
the )nglish action were disturbed by the feeling of the hammer falling back to the rest
position which is not noticeable in an action where the hammers are not attached to the
key. #e also e&plained that the key$attached hammer had another disadvantageE the
striking$point varies according to the depth of the key dip when the hammer hits the
string; therefore when the total key dip was increased as the @iennese action got
heavier this inconsistency was accentuated. #owever (feiffer (92B:A) considered that
the allegedly poor capacity for repetition of the @iennese action was much e&aggerated.
0n the same subJect Doseph 6ischhof (92A=8) had already commented that repetition
was to be performed by the pianist not the piano maker. @iennese pianos were still
produced in the second half of the 2Bth century but were discontinued as a standard
model by 5Ksendorfer in 2BCB; some were made to order by 5Ksendorfer during the
ne&t decade and a few makers of less e&pensive instruments in @ienna continued to
use the developed Prellmechanik even later. "n the end the decline of the @iennese
action was due to changing aesthetic paradigms in playing as well as building pianos.
@iennese pianos required both a sensitive sympathetic pianist of the old school and a
piano maker who was a skilful technician and worked with intuitive feeling since the
action was much harder to adJust with precision than a modern action with its many
adJusting screws.
The modern instrument which has become more of a machine is also better suited to
modern piano playing which calls for great volume and precision. "n this connection it is
worth noting that @iennese piano makers were particularly reluctant to e&pand their
firms (5Ksendorfer 62ABA) so that there was hardly any industrial manufacturing of
instruments on a large scale in Austria. @iennese piano$building stands for a traditional
craftsmanlike approach and 2Bth$century industriali'ation was foreign to it. #owever
several @iennese piano makers in the second half of the 2Bth century did endeavour to
comply with the west )uropean standard. The most important firms of this period were
D.5. %treicher T %ohn 1udwig 5Ksendorfer D.-. %chweighoferFs %Khne and 6riedrich
)hrbar. As well as making the usual @iennese instruments all these firms also built
pianos with the )nglish action and even with a double repeating action. "nnovations
such as the cross$strung solid$cast frame and the double scale deriving from the
research of the physicist #elmholt' were already being introduced in @ienna about
2A?= (%chelle 52A?8; )ie Pianoforte on Sch+eighofer 2AB4).
"n the wake of the harpsichord revival of the 4Cth century there was from +orld +ar "" a
new interest in the early models of piano with Prellmechanik as proper instruments for
the stylistic investigation and historically accurate performance of the 9lassical masters
such as #aydn -o'art and 5eethoven. .eplicas of pianos by %tein and his
contemporaries have been produced by #ugh <ough and Adlam$5urnett ()ngland)
(hilip 5elt (7%A) -artin %chol' (%wit'erland) .Hck and ,eupert (<ermany) and
others and these have promoted a widespread recognition of the virtues of the 2Ath$
century @iennese piano for its own repertory. 5y the late 2B?Cs progress in
reconstructing contemporaneous orchestral instruments and their playing techniques
made it feasible to perform a -o'art concerto with instruments resembling the originals.
"n the early 2BACs makers such as .obert %mith and -argaret #ood (7%A) and
,eupert began producing replicas of the larger @iennese pianos of <raf %treicher and
*ulcken. %ince the early 2BBCs 9hristopher 9lark (9luny 6rance) and (aul -c,ully
(*iviZor 9'ech .epublic) have also become famous for the high standard of their
instruments. -any such builders concentrate on using the same materials and
techniques as the original makers. These instruments as well as the restorations of
).-. 6rederick )dward %wenson (both 7%A) <ert #echer and Albrecht 9'ernin
(Austria) and others provide an opportunity to e&tend keyboard performing practice to
include the piano repertory of the 2Bth century.
(ianoforte !"E #istory of the instrument
+. &ng'and and (rance" 1$00#+0.
*uring the first half of the 2Bth century )nglish and 6rench instrument makers
transformed their low$tensioned light$action fortepianos of five or five and a half octaves
into massively powerful seven$octave instruments closely resembling the modern
piano. (rominent 1ondon manufacturers of the period included the firms of 5roadwood
9lementi (later 9ollard T 9ollard) Kirkman and %todart; in (aris the )rard and (leyel
firms were dominant. )rard which also ran a successful 1ondon branch was perhaps
the single most important source of innovation among these makers.
"n the quest for greater power and dynamic range which was the driving force behind
these changes string diameters and tensions were progressively increased. 0n the
grand pianos of Dohn 5roadwood about 2AC2 the iron wire used for the note cLL is under
a tension of about 2C kg per string 3 virtually the same as that used in IumpeLs square
pianos 8C years earlier. 5ut by 2A2= thicker wire was used in both grands and squares
with a tension of about 2= kg per string for cLL. Thereafter the increase was ine&orableE
4: kg by 2A4= :4 kg by 2A=C. %uch high tensions were made possible only by using
harder steel wire and ever$stronger forms of bracing in the case construction
progressing towards the full iron frame.
To match these heavier strings the weight of the hammers was more than doubled (see
fig.2B). The more powerful richer sonorities of the later pianos are directly related to
energy input which cannot be manufactured inside the instrument but must come
ultimately from the playerLs fingers. This has a profound effect on the touch illustrated
by comparing the minimum weight required to sound a note on instruments made ;C
years apart. Typically an )nglish grand of around 2ACC requires only 8: grams to sound
cLL but on a piano of 2A;C the same note requires AC grams. To ease the burden on the
player piano makers were compelled to reduce the gearing ratio between the finger and
the hammer head. 7ntil about 2A2C )nglish piano keys had a touch depth of about ?.=
mm but by 2A:= this had increased to B mm and by 2A;C to 2C mm. This depth of
movement required taller sharps while the natural key heads were lengthened from :C
mm to =C mm encouraging a more vigorous attack with e&tended fingers rather than
the quiet hand and curved finger techniques of the 2Ath century.
The e&tra tensile strength obtained from hardened steel strings together with the
physical properties of much tauter wire demanded softer and thicker hammer coverings
to suppress the undesirable inharmonicities produced by prominent upper partials.
-any materials were tried including woven cloth or matted fur applied over the
traditional layers of leather but compressed felt gave the best results. This led to the
production of specialist hammer felts and new arts of voicing (or GtoningF) the hammers.
The fortissimo became much more powerful than before and the pianissimo quieter by
contrast but there was some loss in articulation especially noticeable in the lower notes
where the tone develops more slowly.
%Pbastien )rard and his nephew (ierre introduced many successful solutions to the
problems created by the heavier and deeper touch and their numerous patents of this
period also chronicle the ways in which piano construction was modified so as to bear
hugely augmented loads. As early as 2ACA %Pbastien )rardLs patent drawings show a
downward$sloping wrest plank with agraffes (metal staples one for each note secured
to the wrest plank to provide a bearing for the strings which pass underneath and at the
same time defining one end of the speaking$length of each string). "n this arrangement
the wrest plank is stronger and the hammer blow hits the strings against their bearing
which prevents their displacement and together with the equali'ed unison string lengths
introduced by 5roadwood helps to preserve the tuning. 5ut the main focus of the 2ACA
patent was an entirely new actionE )rardLs m,canisme ! ,trier. "n this the intermediate
lever (omitted in )nglish grand actions) was reintroduced but adapted to operate a
downward$pulling action on a rear e&tension of the hammer butt. After escapement the
Gstirrup mechanismF quickly re$engages the hammer so that notes may be repeated with
small motions of the key. This ability to repeat notes when the key was only partially
returned became increasingly important as more massive hammers produced a heavier
touch. )nglish makers paid insufficient attention to these developments most preferring
the simplicity and reliability of the action invented by 5ackers. "n *ecember 2A42 Just
months before the 2ACA patent e&pired (ierre )rard filed a patent for another repetition
action (see fig.4C; the patent was approved the following year). This one with only
minor modifications provides the basis of all modern grand piano actions. After
escapement the hammer falls away by only a short distance about 2C mm below the
strings where it rests on a sprung repetition lever. As the finger releases the key the
intervention of this lever allows the hopper to re$engage the hammer quickly; so that for
repeated notes it is not necessary that the key return to its original position. 0ne of the
secondary results of higher string tensions can be seen in )rardLs change to under$
dampers which aided by a spring press firmly against the strings to quell their
energetic vibrations.
The construction of an entirely wooden case that would resist the enormous aggregate
forces of the string tension demanded ever more drastic buttressing. 6or this reason
there was much interest in down$striking actions because these allowed the case to
have bulky wooden struts passing right through the instrument behind the soundboard.
#owever the better reliability of up$striking actions was ultimately persuasive. )arly si&$
octave )nglish grands used five steel arches to bridge the gap between wrest plank and
belly rail 3 as in 5eethovenLs 5roadwood of 2A2?. That instrument may be seen as the
end of the line for piano development without metal framing. "n 2A4C Dames Thom and
+illiam Allen Jointly patented a Gcompensation frameF in which brass and steel tubes
were placed above the strings to connect the wrest plank to a metal hitch$pin plate
along the bentside. (art of their idea was to allow for slight movements of the hitch$pin
plate and to use the e&pansion and contraction of the tubes under changing
temperatures to push or pull the frame so maintaining the original string tension. Their
system was very effective in practice. <rands made under this patent by +illiam %todart
were vastly more stable at high tension than any previous piano. 0ther makers
responded with more modest schemes using three to five steel struts (see fig.42). "n
most )nglish square pianos after 2A4= a metal hitch$pin plate on the right was braced
against the wrest plank by a single strut. "n )rardLs 2A4= patent the grandLs wrest plank
is reinforced with a steel plate fastened underneath and struts bear against a metal
plate at the bentside through adJustable screws.
6acility of repetition was of paramount importance to 6rench makers yet many of their
square pianos from the early part of the 2Bth century feature a simple two$lever action
without escapement. +ith this mechanism rapid reiteration was possible with practice
but as hammers increased in weight it became more difficult to prevent rebounds and
double strikes. 1ondon makers using the more subtle escapement action of fig.22
countered this problem by adding a wire$mounted check 3 before 2A8C on e&pensive
models. )rard likewise added a check; the firm designed and patented a succession of
innovatory actions for square pianos between 2A4C and 2A:C but few of these found
their way into regular production. -any 6rench square pianos employed triple stringing
rather than augmenting the tone with heavier bichords as favoured in )ngland.
0nce again as the 2:$year term for the grand repetition action e&pired )rard applied
for another dated *ecember 2A8= effectively preventing 5ritish rivals from using a wide
selection of useful innovations. "n all this time 5roadwood had taken out only three quite
trivial patents. "t was not until the <reat )&hibition of 2A=2 in 1ondon when the Jury
awarded its most prestigious medal to )rard that 5roadwoodLs complacency was
e&posed. As the worldLs largest and most commercially successful manufacturers they
were aggrieved at the decision though many friends rallied to defend them claiming
that 5roadwoodLs tone was superior 3 a notoriously subJective matter. (A grand piano of
2A== by )rard is shown in fig.44.)
Among 5ritish manufacturers the square piano declined rapidly after 2A:C as improved
uprights won approval for domestic use. "n 2A2C more than AC[ of pianos produced in
1ondon had been squares but by 2A=C this had dwindled to less than ?[. (art of the
reason for the squareLs demise was its increasing si'eE as the compass increased from
five$octaves to seven such instruments inevitably grew not only longer but
proportionately wider and deeper becoming massively cumbersome pieces of furniture.
The upright instrument provided an alternative. -ost uprights of the period had the
soundboard and strings raised above the keys 3 chiefly for acoustical reasons. G7pright
grandsF up to AY= feet (4Y;; m) tall incorporated the structure and action of the hori'ontal
grand with minimal modification the hammers striking from the back. -ore compact
forms were basically square pianos raised vertically using diagonal stringing; for these
+illiam %outhwell designed the Gsticker actionF. The first cabinet uprights in which the
strings descend to within a small distance of the floor were five$octave instruments
patented in 2ACC by Dohn "saac #awkins an )nglishman living in (hiladelphia (see also
7pright pianoforte). Dust over four feet high his absurdly named G(ortable <rand (iano$
forteF was in some technical respects far ahead of its time. 5ut #awkins was primarily an
engineer not a musical instrument maker; he paid little attention to the touch and the
pianos were not a success. %outhwellLs sticker action (fig.48) proved useful in tall
cabinet uprights (2A4C3=C) which like #awkinsLs piano had the wrest plank at the top.
)ven with an escapement such actions were not equal to prestissimo playing but the
structural stability of the cabinet form in which the action could be placed entirely in
front of the strings was so superior that other forms were soon obsolete. The
shortcomings of the upright action were addressed most successfully by .obert
+ornum who developed the Gtape$checkF mechanism (fig.4:). A light brass spring
connected to the hammer butt by a linen tape acquires tension as the hammer
approaches the strings and tweaks it away from the strings promptly preventing
rebounds or dwelling on the string. +ith minor modifications to improve reliability in the
escapement and with relocation of the dampers +ornumLs invention became the
prototype for modern upright actions.
To reduce the height of these front$striking uprights to the absolute minimum a simple
diagonal disposition of the strings was adopted as advocated by Thomas 1oud (2AC4)
and seen in +ornumLs early instruments. 5ut in 2A4A Dean #enri (ape in (aris devised
the prophetic concept of overstringing placing the bass strings on a separate bridge in
the otherwise unused area of the soundboard at the bottom right beyond the tenor
bridge. The bass strings passed over the tenor in a system that has since worked well in
grands. "n (apeLs fashionable console pianos of around 2A:C the top of the case was
only slightly higher than the keys an arrangement made possible by having the rear of
the keys cranked downwards. #owever the compactness of such designs was
achieved at the cost of some loss in sonority and in the reliability of the action. 6rom
2A8= to 2A;C the most popular form of domestic instrument was the dependable
Gcottage pianoF a cabinet piano of modest height (one of c2A4= is shown in fig.4=).
9hanging perceptions on the use of the sustaining tone and mutation stops were partly
conditioned by the increasing power of the piano throughout this period. 5eethovenLs
)rard grand presented to him by the maker in 2AC8 had four pedals typical of 6rench
instruments up to 2A4=. The harp pedal produced a pi''icato sound that could be used
with or without sustaining effects. (+hen not sustained the tone was usually called
GluteF.) The moderator produced a muffled tone by interposing cloth tabs between the
hammers and strings. The una corda which 1ouis Adam (2AC:) recommended in
conJuction with the fourth sustaining pedal as the -eu c,leste was commended by
5eethoven to @iennese makers. (arisian square pianos often had a 5assoon stop
operating only from middle 9 downwards whose bu''ing sound added rhythmic
impulse to dance music. (ianos from 1ondon were usually equipped simply with two
pedals as found on modern instruments. 0n early 2Bth$century grands and uprights the
left pedal provided a genuine una corda or due corde throughout the compass but this
was often compromised after 2A8C when the tenor and bass were not always tricords.
The right pedal lifted the dampers. The changing use of this pedal in consequence of
the stronger reverberation of more tautly strung pianos caused many makers to seek
ways of providing selective sustaining mechanisms. The simplest was 5roadwoodsL split
pedal which could lift the bass and treble dampers separately while the most
complicated and least copied was the %ostenuto pedal pioneered by 5oisselot and
e&hibited in (aris in 2A::. "n spite of the plethora of other mechanical aids when felt$
covered hammers became the norm after 2A8C most pianos were provided only with
the keyboard$shifting GsoftF pedal and the damper$lifting %ustaining pedal.
(ianoforte !"E #istory of the instrument
7. ,pain" 17%5#1$50.
The earliest e&tant %panish piano dating from about 2?:= was made in %eville by
6rancisco (Pre' -irabal. +hilst the action resembles 9ristoforiLs 2?4C model with a
non$inverted wrest plank the case has a double$curve bentside and other features of
construction more typical of %evillian harpsichord$making. "ts compass is "'.d'''.
7nusually it possesses trichord stringing where one set of strings could be silenced with
a hand$operated stop of leather pads. Two other unsigned %panish pianos with a
6lorentine$style action are knownE a "'.g''' instrument from the (Pre' -irabal workshop
and a C.d''' instrument with bichord stringing whose case suggests a different school of
construction. The early presence of pianos in %eville may be related in some way to the
marriage of the (ortuguese infanta -aria 5Xrbara and the %panish crown prince
6ernando in 2?4B and to the %panish courtLs residence in Andalusia during the following
four and a half years. -aria 5Xrbara brought her music teacher *omenico %carlatti
with her to %pain. "t appears probable that both were familiar with the piano and during
the early years of her marriage the princess may already have owned a 6lorentine
instrument that could have inspired (Pre' -irabel to develop similar instruments. ,one
of the grand pianos built by -irabalLs successor in %eville Duan del -Xrmol is known to
have survived; however a number of his square pianos made from the 2?ACs onwards
in the )nglish style are e&tant. %ome of his instruments were e&ported to 1atin America
and a Duan de -Xrmol (father or son) emigrated to -e&ico at the end of the century as
did Adam -iller a <erman who moved to -e&ico after working in -adrid. "nformation
on piano building in -adrid prior to 2?AC is not available. As far as the royal harpsichord
maker *iego 6ernXnde' is concerned it is not clear whether he made such instruments
himself or whether a few of his harpsichords were later converted into pianos.
<rand pianos (%p. pianos de cola) were usually known as claicordios (or claes) de
piano or de martillos (i.e. Gpiano$ or hammer$harpsichordsF) during the 2Ath century.
%quare pianos were called fortepianos or pianos fortes (later known as pianos
cuadrilongos and most recently as pianos de mesa). The term fortepiano seems to have
been introduced together with the first such instruments from )ngland during the 2??Cs.
"n the following decades the most up$to$date models were imported from )ngland and
-adrid makers advertised themselves as e&ponents of the )nglish style. 6oremost of
these was 6rancisco 6l\re' a court piano maker who became familiar with the work of
)nglish makers including that of D.D. -erlin during a year$long stay in )ngland. #is
younger rival and successor in the royal favour 6rancisco 6ernXnde' at first followed
the )nglish style but later tried to found a %panish school of construction using native
woods while at the same time following developments abroad particularly in 6rance.
0ther -adrid piano makers in the first half of the 2Bth century showed little originality.
An e&ception was the immigrant Dan #osseschrueders a *utch carpenter who founded
a firm in -adrid in 2A2: later known as #a'en and still in operation today.
#osseschrueders patented a transposing piano in about 2A4:.
1ittle research has been carried out on the piano in other regions of %pain. "t appears
however that at the beginning of the 2Bth century <erman influence was uppermost in
9atalonia. -any 9atalan square pianos are to be found incorporating knee levers and a
Prellmechanik (see !!8 and =) comprising a Prelleiste hammers held in brass Kapseln
but no back checks. "n 2A:A the 6rench firm of 5oisselot opened a branch in 5arcelona
(later owned by the %panish firm of 5ernareggi). This was a symptom of the increasing
popularity of 6rench instruments in %pain. As the century progressed few %panish firms
could compete directly with the large factories in other countries and many smaller
%panish firms came to rely on cheaper parts from abroad for assembly in %pain.
(ianoforte !"E #istory of the instrument
$. -orth !merica to 1$+0.
(ianos were used and made in ,orth America by the 2??Cs. The earliest known
reference to a piano there is a notice in the $e+/0ork "a1ette and 2eekl3 Mercur3 of
2? %eptember 2??C listing a GfortepianoF for sale by the )nglishman *avid (ropert; in
5oston (ropert advertised that he taught the piano and in 2??2 performed Gsome select
pieces on the forte pianoF at the 9oncert #all. "n the same year in @irginia Thomas
Defferson and .obert 9arter bought pianos from 1ondon. "n 2??4 Dohn %cheiuble
N%heybliO announced in ,ew >ork that he made and repaired pianos and in 2??: he
advertised for sale Gone hammer spinnetF which he may have made himself. Another
<erman craftsman Dohn NDohannO 5ehrent usually credited with making the first piano
manufactured in ,orth America advertised in (hiladelphia in 2??= that he had made an
instrument Gby the name of (iano 6orte of -ahogany in the manner of an harpsichord
with hammers and several changesF. Although both manufacture and emigration
diminished during the .evolutionary +ar from the mid$2?ACs many builders emigrated
from )urope to the 7%A among them Thomas *odds (active in ,ew >ork from 2?A=)
9harles Albrecht ((hiladelphia c2?A=) 9harles Taws (,ew >ork 2?A;; (hiladelphia
2?A?) and Dohn <eib (,ew >ork 2?B?) who claimed by 2ACC to have built :B2C
pianofortes. "n -ilton -assachusetts the American$born 5enJamin 9rehore was
building pianos by the 2?BCs. The type most often played and owned by Americans was
the square piano which remained in favour until the 2AACs. The typical early square
had wooden framing a range of five to five and a half octaves (FL3cLLLL) )nglish action
(although Albrecht made some with <erman action) and changes in registration
activated by hand stops.
As early as 2?B4 *odds T 9laus noted the need to prepare their wood Gto stand the
effect of our climateF a prime concern of American builders throughout most of the 2Bth
century. Dohn "saac #awkins an )nglish civil engineer working in (hiladelphia included
an iron frame and iron bracing rods in his ingenious 2ACC patent for a small upright
piano. Although his invention did not succeed musically it represents one of the earliest
attempts to use iron to withstand climatic changes. "n 2A4= Alpheus 5abcock a 5oston
maker who had worked with 9rehore was the first to be issued a patent (2? *ecember
2A4=) for a one$piece metal frame which he claimed would be Gstronger and more
durable than a wooden frame or caseF and because the strings and metal frame would
e&pand or contract equally would prevent the instrument being Gput out of tune by any
alteration in the temperature of the airF. #e fitted this frame in a piano typical of the late
2A4Cs a mahogany square with decorative stencilling two pedals and a compass of si&
octaves (FL3fLLLL); only two 5abcock squares with an iron frame are e&tant (fig.4;). -any
builders especially in ,ew >ork and 5altimore opposed the iron frame claiming that it
resulted in a thin and nasal tone quality. "nstead many used the heavy wooden bracing
and a solid five$inch (24Y? cm) wooden bottom for stability in tuning. 5ut by the 2A:Cs
wooden framing alone was not strong enough to withstand the enormous tension
required by the pianoFs e&panded compass (seven octaves #LL3aLLLL) and the rigours of
American climatic e&tremes.
5y the 2A8Cs American makers of square pianos were using the )rard repetition action.
"n 2A:C the 5oston piano maker Donas 9hickering with whom 5abcock worked from
2A8? to 2A:4 patented a metal frame with a cast$iron bridge for a square piano and in
2A:8 he patented a one$piece metal frame for grands. #e was the first to devise a
successful method of manufacturing and selling pianos with metal frames and was the
first maJor American builder to make grand pianos for which he won special notice at
the <reat )&hibition in 1ondon (2A=2). -etal frames and felt$covered hammers made
American squares characteristically heavy and sonorous instruments. The 9hickering
factory with about 8CC workers made over 2C[ of the BCCC pianos produced in the
7%A in 2A=2. After a fire destroyed the factory in late 2A=4 the firm built a vast new
factory (fig.4?) and by the 2A;Cs it employed over =CC workers. The 9hickering firm set
the standard for the American piano industryE production of high$quality pianos with
metal frames an e&tensive steam$powered factory operation whose workers developed
highly speciali'ed skills an energetic sales programme and support for musical events
and performers.
"n 2A=8 the year of Donas 9hickeringFs death the %teinway firm was established in ,ew
>ork; within a decade it had equalled the 9hickering firm in production and prestige.
1ike 9hickering the firm designed pianos with metal frames patenting in 2A=B a new
overstringing arrangement for the grand piano which transformed the sound of the
instrument and was eventually adopted by manufacturers throughout the world (see
also !B below). The demand for pianos grew throughout the century. According to
statistics gathered by 1oesser )hrlich and *olge one in every :ACC Americans bought
a new piano in 2A4B; by 2A=2 the figure had risen to one in 4??? and by 2A?C to one in
(ianoforte !"E #istory of the instrument
.. 1$+0#1.15.
: ;
+ )
4 2
2 4
8 8
This period also saw the beginnings of the standardi'ation of what may Justly be called
the modern piano. "nnovations of earlier years such as overstringing metal frames felt
hammer$coverings refinements in actions and the e&tension of the range from five
octaves to seven or seven and a third were combined and improved. Types and shapes
of instruments were somewhat simplified as the century wore on. 1arge vertical pianos
such as cabinet pianos and GgiraffesF disappeared to be replaced by smaller uprights
standing only : to = feet (c2Y4 to 2Y= m) in height. %uch instruments were rapidly
becoming the pianos of choice in middle$class )uropean homes by the 2A;Cs and
5roadwood made its last square in 2A;;. The Americans and 9anadians retained their
affection for the square for some decades longer. +hen after 2A;= Theodore %teinway
began to concentrate production on the upright at the e&pense of the square even
workers in the factory obJected and American makers produced larger and larger
squares as the century went along. 5ut %teinway which had made its first uprights in
2A;4 produced its last square in 2AAA and in 2BC: the association of American piano
manufacturers gathered together all the squares they could find at their meeting in
Atlantic 9ity ,ew Dersey and burnt them in a bonfire. -any squares survive as relics
but as the symbolism showed their manufacture had essentially ceased.
%teinwayLs 2A=B patent for overstringing grand pianos (see fig.4A) produced what was
essentially the modern grand (see fig.4B). "t combined elements of earlier designsE the
one$piece iron frame patented for squares by 5abcock and for grands by 9hickering
(see !A above); overstringing which was pioneered by Dean #enri (ape for small
uprights in the 2A4Cs and was widely in use in squares; and the divided bridge used by
Dohn 5roadwood in the 2Ath century and refined in shape by #enry %teinway so that in
combination with overstringing the bridge was brought closer to the centre of the
soundboard where vibrating efficiency was greater. 0ther design innovations came
especially from the imagination of Theodore %teinwayE the metal action frame which
prevented the warping of the action; the Gduple& scaleF which proportioned the lengths
of non$speaking parts of strings to the speaking parts in order to enhance the partials
and the tone; and the laminated case which was stiffer and more durable and by some
accounts improved the tone with more efficient reflection of vibrations across the
soundboard. #is brother Albert %teinway patented the sostenuto pedal the middle pedal
in most modern grands which allowed the sustaining of notes whose dampers were
already up when the pedal was depressed. -any of these elements were copied by
other makers though )uropeans on the whole did not use the sostenuto pedal until
after +orld +ar "". %ome e&periments in redesigning keyboards were carried out
notably D\'ef +ieniawskiLs double$keyboard instrument with the treble on the right in
one and on the left in the other (2A?;) 6erdinand 9lutsamLs concave keyboard (2BC?)
and (aul von DankoLs si&$row paired whole$tone keyboard (2AA4). These had only
temporary success DankoLs more than the others. (See Keyboard.)
The )rard action became the most common though other types were in use.
5Ksendorfer continued to provide @iennese as well as )rard actions until about 2B2C.
%uch makers as 5roadwood 9hickering (leyel and 5lHthner used actions of their own
design for quite a time but by the early 4Cth century most of these had fallen out of use.
%ome makers especially the )nglish and 6rench companies held back from adopting
the one$piece iron frame with overstringing 5roadwood making its first overstrung
grand only in 2AB? and )rard in 2BC2. 5oth continued to make straight$strung pianos
after that. 5lHthner used (throughout the 4Cth century) aliquot stringing in the top three
octaves with a fourth string above the others which vibrates sympathetically.
The die was cast in 2A;? when at the (aris )&position the piano competition was
decisively won by the Americans. %teinway and 9hickering argued inconclusively about
which had taken the more important pri'e. 5oth were winners and the outcome was
dramatic. They were emulated especially by <erman makers and some Austrian firms.
)ncouraged by successes in other international e&hibitions such as (hiladelphia in
2A?; and Amsterdam in 2AA8 the Americans were able by shrewd marketing and
vigorous pursuit of e&port trade to persuade the public that what was widely called the
GAmerican systemF was now the norm. "t maintained quality and lowered cost by using
machinery instead of manual labour by rationali'ing the division of labour and by
standardi'ing parts. 9ottage industries had long been employed for the production of
some parts but now the system was e&tended to all parts and companies speciali'ing
in supplies multiplied. 6oundries could cast frames to order and wood could be properly
seasoned and wooden parts supplied to order in many shapes and si'es. 9ompanies
speciali'ing in actions had been known since the 2A:Cs and they certainly saved small
makers a great deal of grief and money. The action makers were probably primarily
responsible for the final victory of the )rard type of action. 5y using parts suppliers
even small companies could take advantage of economies of scale and
interchangeable parts meant that many small makers became in effect GcompilersF of
pianos rather than manufacturers. The leading companies still boasted that they
manufactured everything in their own plants but their smaller competitors met a large
need and a large market. (eople who could never afford a %teinway could buy an
instrument made by Doseph (. #ale in the 7%A and revel in the status and musical
presence of a piano. "f #aleLs instruments were not as GgoodF as %teinwayLs they
nevertheless served essential musical and social needs.
The piano began to be more than a )uropean instrument. "t spread to )uropean
colonies as colonial officials and settlers desired the cultural goods they had known at
home. After the -eiJi .estoration when in 2A;A Dapan first opened itself to the +est
the Dapanese government began an intensive overhauling of the educational system
including the widespread teaching of the piano and violin in schools. American and
)uropean firms provided the instruments though some Dapanese makers such as
,ishikawa of Tokyo began work even before the end of the 2Bth century. The American
successes of 2A;? also contributed to the e&tension of e&ports to all the world. -any
firms did not participate partly by choice but the <ermans and Americans were
especially active the <ermans simply taking the Australian market away from )nglish
makers and having large positions in %outh American markets. %teinwayLs e&pansion
into <ermany in 2AAC gave the company a strong place in )uropean and )nglish
markets and %teinway was the e&port leader in the 7%A.
5y the onset of +orld +ar " as well as being an international instrument the piano had
become universal as well; no longer found mostly in the drawing$rooms of the wealthy it
was now a nearly ubiquitous furnishing and a source of pride and pleasure in even
e&tremely modest homes. "t had also become a modern instrument manufactured by
the latest technological means designed to withstand climates of all sorts and
marketed by the most up$to$date methods. %ome strains were to be found in the
industry. The problems of labour unioni'ation had yet to be solved and the beginning of
the 4Cth century saw some consolidations among firms such as the purchase of
several piano companies including the proud old 5oston firm of 9hickering T %ons by
the American (iano 9ompany. There were new companies such as *.#. 5aldwin in the
7%A and reJuvenated old ones such as 9happell in 5ritain and "bach in <ermany.
%ome old ones dropped from sight notably %treicher in @ienna and others were bought
out such as 5rinsmead in )ngland.
(ianoforte !"E #istory of the instrument
10. (rom 1.15.
+orld +ar " effectively stopped piano manufacture in countries immediately affected by
it though American production was only restricted. After the war production soon
reached pre$war levels in )ngland 6rance and the 7%A and by 2B4? <ermany had
regained its prior capacity. (ublic demand for pianos increased mightily during the boom
years of the 2B4Cs when there was also an astounding rise in the production of
automatic pianos especially in the 7%A. Already in 2B2B their production was greater
than that of ordinary pianos; in 2B48 it reached a peak of =;[ of the entire American
output of pianos. These mechanisms invented before the war came to their flower
afterwards (see (layer piano). )arliest in general production was the (ianola of the
Aeolian (later Aeolian American) 9orporation first a Gpiano playerF set in front of the
keyboard that actually depressed the keys and later a Gplayer pianoF with the
mechanism inside the pianoLs case. "n <ermany the +elte$-ignon was first brought out
in 2BC: and the #upfeld companyLs *)A .eproducing piano in 2BC=. The maJor
American GreproducingF mechanisms were AeolianLs *uo$Art and the Ampico of the
American (iano 9ompany both released in 2B28.
"f the rise of automatic pianos tended to diminish the level of active piano playing other
advancing modes of entertainment and recreation may have accelerated decline.
*uring the 2B4Cs the radio was becoming ever more popular as a source of musical
and other entertainment 3 and it was if anything even easier to play than the player
piano. 9ompetition from the cinema and the automobile for recreational time and money
was becoming formidable. (iano playing still attracted many peopleE the number of
music teachers in the 7%A where these competing modes of entertainment flourished
to the highest degree actually rose during the 2B4Cs and 8Cs. ,onetheless during this
period the pianoLs status as a domestic instrument receded and has never been quite
+ith the *epression piano manufacture underwent a drastic decline. American
production fell to 2C[ of its pre$*epression level by 2B84 <erman production to about
;[ and )nglish to about 8C[. @arious more or less drastic remedies were tried. @ery
small grands well under 2Y= m in length and sometimes in odd shapes including
symmetrical ones were designed to appeal to families with aspirations to status but
straitened finances. As sounding instruments they were GbabiesF but not grand. The
-athushek 9ompany in ,ew >ork attempted unsuccessfully to reinstate the square in
si'es considerably smaller than those familiar in the late 2Bth century. 5eginning in
)ngland very small uprights (the Americans called them GspinetsF) barely higher than
keyboard level were made; they had small soundboards short strings and GdropF
actions all of which contributed to technological and tonal inadequacies. -any of them
were virtually untunable their touch was spongy and uncontrollable their tone an
assault on the ear. They were handsomely designed and took up little wall space and
even less floor space but they were probably responsible for a great many childrenLs
complete loss of interest in playing the piano. #owever admirable these attempts to
overcome the financial difficulties of the 2B8Cs their musical contributions were if
anything negative and they have been discontinued by almost all manufacturers.
+orld +ar "" brought an already badly depressed piano industry to a halt. )very country
involved required piano companies to stop using valuable steel iron and other materials
for such frivolities as musical entertainment. %teinway manufactured gliders and was
permitted to produce a few hundred small uprights for military use. <erman factories
almost entirely converted to war production were mostly bombed out of e&istence
(including %teinwayLs #amburg factory). )nglish and Dapanese companies likewise
contributed to the war effort. %ome technological improvements came out of the war.
The most important in materials were resin glues less susceptible to temperature and
humidity changes than hide glues and plastics of various kinds used for key coverings
(ivory becoming unusable as elephants were endangered) for bushings and more
recently for cases allowing considerable freedom in modifying if not completely altering
e&ternal shapes. -anufacture has benefited from the efficiency of automation
technologies. 0therwise there have been few advances in piano design or materials
since +orld +ar "". There were e&periments with microtonal pianos (see -icrotonal
instruments) especially in the 2B4Cs and various methods of modifying the sound by
GpreparingF the piano most famously by Dohn 9age beginning in the 2B8Cs (see
(repared piano). The actions that became standard in the late 2Bth century have
remained soE the )rard action for grands and the tape$check for uprights though small
uprights use drop actions. 0verstringing is universal and )uropean makers have given
up their antipathy to the sostenuto pedal. #ammers and dampers are still made of felt
actions of wood frames of cast iron soundboards of spruce. The range of all models
has been standardi'ed at seven and a third octaves e&cept for a few larger si'es (e.g.
5KsendorferLs "mperial <rand with eight octaves fig.8:). %i'es have also been to some
e&tent standardi'ed. The concert grand is about 4?= cm long. 5KsendorferLs "mperial is
about 2= cm longer; the 9hallen company in )ngland celebrated King <eorge @Ls silver
Jubilee in 2B8= with a grand 8=; cm long; and 6a'ioli made the largest grand in
production in the late 4Cth century 8CA cm long. 7pright si'es have been standardi'ed
to GfullF about 244 to 284 cm; GstudioF about 22: cm; GconsoleF about 2C? cm; and
GspinetF about B2 cm (the latter almost entirely abandoned).
After +orld +ar "" ,orth American and )uropean industries saw serious compressionsE
formerly vigorous companies disappeared various others combined (sometimes ending
in dissolution) and there was general retrenchment though tone quality was not
seriously affected. %ome successful American firms acquired famous )uropean onesE
5aldwin bought 5echstein in 2B;8 selling it again during hard times in 2BA?; Kimball
itself part of the Dasper 9orporation from 2B=B bought 5Ksendorfer in 2B;; and the
)nglish action manufacturer #errburger$5rooks. %teinway has had several owners not
named %teinway since 2B?4 and the companyLs stock is now traded on the ,ew >ork
%tock )&change. 0nly a few notable new enterprises emerged in +estern countries.
The firm of Alfred Knight which made impressive uprights in )ngland from 2B8= and
successfully e&ported them after +orld +ar "" was bought by 5entley (iano 9o. which
was in turn bought by +helpdale -a&well T 9odd in 2BB8. The ambitious "talian firm of
6a'ioli founded in 2BA2 concentrates on the high end of the trade; its concert grand
has received some enthusiastic reports. "n the 7%A the +alter (iano 9ompany
(founded 2B?=) in )lkhart "ndiana has produced e&cellent uprights and introduced
grands; 6andrich T %ons (founded 2BB8) in #oquiam +ashington impressed many
technicians in the mid$2BBCs with a redesigned upright action but their marketing has
not been aggressive. The great story of the postwar period was the e&pansion of and
dominance by the Dapanese piano industry followed closely by that of %outh Korea. The
vigour with which Asian countries rebounded from the devastations of the 2B:Cs and
=Cs was e&emplified in the piano industry. 5y 2B:A the leading Dapanese companies
>amaha (which had begun making uprights in 2BCC) and Kawai (established 2B4=)
were again producing pianos and by 2B;B owing in part to e&tensive and systematic
automation technologies Dapanese production of pianos outstripped that of all other
countries. "n the late 2B?Cs >amaha alone was making more pianos than all American
companies combined with an output of about 4CCCCC annually sold mostly in Dapan.
(roduction has recently slowed somewhat though it remains the largest of any
company. Two %outh Korean manufacturers >oung 9hang (founded 2B=;) and %amick
(founded 2B=A) have increased production and e&panded their facilities. The economic
difficulties e&perienced in 2BB?3A apparently damaged the )ast Asian piano industry
only temporarily. The 9hinese industry has been less forward though it has profited by
technical advice from elsewhere and 9hinese pianos are being e&ported as well as
sold domestically in increasing numbers. Though early e&ports of Asian instruments
often had structural and tonal problems considerable improvement has taken place.
A striking trend of the late 4Cth century was the spread of electronic keyboards and their
offspring (see )lectric piano and )lectronic piano). "ndeed the term GkeyboardF has
come in the 7%A to mean an electronic instrument as distinct from a piano.
%ynthesi'ers and -"*" controllers now use the keyboard format almost e&clusively and
it is a mild irony that these instruments on their stands look much like little 2Ath$century
square pianos. %everal companies have introduced computer$driven reproducing
systems attached to conventional pianos whereby the pianist can record a performance
to disk and play it back on the piano itself or play a pre$recorded performance from
computer disk or compact disc. >amaha has been in the forefront of this development
but -usic .esearch %ystems in the 7%A which owns the -ason T #amlin Knabe and
%ohmer piano brands names pioneered a digital instrument and both 5aldwin and
5Ksendorfer have produced similar systems.
(ianoforte !"E #istory of the instrument
a3 genera' 'iterature
4. ,pi''aneE 8istor3 of the #merican Pianoforte (,ew >ork 2ABC/7)
1.&.5. HardingE 9he Piano/Forte: its 8istor3 9raced to the "reat ;<hibition of =>?=
(9ambridge 2B88/7 4/2B?A/7)
&. 6'ossonE 8istoire du piano (5russels 2B::; )ng. trans. 2B:? rev. 4/2B?: by ..
!. 0oesserE Men, 2omen and Pianos: a Social 8istor3 (,ew >ork 2B=:/7)
4. 7ain8rightE 9he Piano Makers (1ondon 2B?=)
6. &hr'ichE 9he Piano: a 8istor3 (1ondon 2B?; 4/2BBC)
5. /i'sonE GThe @iennese 6ortepiano of the 1ate 2Ath 9enturyF ;Mc viii (2BAC) 2=A3
&.5. oodE "iraffes, 4lack )ragons, and other Pianos: a 9echnological 8istor3 from
Cristofori to the Modern Concert "rand (%tanford 9A 2BA4 4/4CCC)
H. ,chottE G6rom #arpsichord to (ianoE a 9hronology and 9ommentaryF ;Mc &iii
(2BA=) 4A38A
&. 1ipin and othersE Piano (,ew >ork and 1ondon 2BAA)
1. Pa'mieriE Piano @nformation "uide: an #id to 7esearch (,ew >ork and 1ondon
1. Pa'mieri" ed.E ;nc3clopedia of Ke3board @nstruments iE 9he Piano (,ew >ork 2BB:)
93 co''ections
7. Po'eE Musical @nstruments in the "reat @ndustrial ;<hibition of =>?= (1ondon 2A=2)
G.eports on -usical "nstrumentsF ;<hibition of the 2orks of @ndustr3 of #ll $ations
=>?=: 7eports b3 the 6uries i (1ondon 2A=4) ?C=38C
&. ,che''eE G-usikalische "nstrumenteF &fficieller #usstellungs/4ericht &v (@ienna
2A?8) Nreport of the @ienna 7niversal )&hibition 2A?8O
. :ins;yE Musikhistorische Museum on 2ilhelm 8e3er in CAln: Katalog i (9ologne
*. 0uith'en and :. 7egererE Katalog der Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente iE
Saitenklaiere (@ienna 2B;;)
H. ,chottE *ictoria and #lbert Museum: Catalogue of Musical @nstruments iE Ke3board
@nstruments (1ondon 2BA=)
6. !hrens" ed.E Claichord und Fortepiano: eine Musikinstrumentenausstellung der
Stadt 8erne (#erne 2BAB)
H. Hen;e'E 4esaitete 9asteninstrumente: )eutsches Museum on Meister+erken der
$atur+issenschaft und 9echnik (6rankfurt 2BB:)
<. :oster and othersE Ke3board Musical @nstruments in the Museum of Fine #rts,
4oston (5oston 2BB:)
5. 6o'eE GTafelklaviere in the <ermanisches ,ationalmuseumE some (reliminary
0bservationsF "S6 l (2BB?) 2AC34C?
c3 genera' history
<. (ischhofE *ersuch einer "eschichte des Claierbaues (@ienna 2A=8)
H. 7e'c;er =on ontershausenE )er Fl(gel (6rankfurt 2A=;)
&.(. 1im9au'tE 9he Pianoforte: its &rigin, Progress and Construction (1ondon 2A;C)
6. PonsicchiE @l pianoforte: sua origine e siluppo (6lorence 2A;?)
.(. ,ie=ersE @l pianoforte (,aples 2A;A)
O. 6omettantE La musiBue, les musicien, et les instruments de musiBue ((aris 2A;B)
&. /rinsmeadE 9he 8istor3 of the Pianoforte (1ondon 2A?C enlarged 8/2A?B/7)
H. 7e'c;er =on ontershausenE )er Claierbau in seiner 9heorie, 9echnik und
"eschichte (6rankfurt 2A?C)
!. 5armonte'E 8istoire du piano et de ses origines ((aris 2AA=)
(.5. ,mithE # $oble #rt: three Lectures on the ;olution and Construction of the Piano
(,ew >ork 2AB4)
7./. 7hiteE 9heor3 and Practice of Pianoforte 4uilding (,ew >ork 2BC;)
H.&. :reh9ie'E 9he Pianoforte and its Music (,ew >ork 2B22/7)
!. 4o'geE Pianos and their Makers (9ovina 9A 2B22328/7)
,. 7o'fendenE # 9reatise on the #rt of Pianoforte Construction (1ondon 2B2; suppl.
2B4? repr. together 2B?=)
5. de uchtenaereE Le piano: son origine, son histoire, sa facture (<hent c2B48)
6. ,achsE )as Klaier (5erlin 2B48)
H. -eupertE *om Musikstab 1um modernen Klaier (5amberg 2B4= 8/2B=4)
5.!. /'onde'E G1e piano et sa factureF ;M)C ""/iii (2B4?) 4C;23?4
&. /'omE 9he 7omance of the Piano (1ondon 2B4A/7)
!. 6ase''aE @l pianoforte (.ome 2B8? :/2B;?)
!.&. 7ierE 9he Piano: its 8istor3, Makers, Pla3ers and Music (1ondon 2B:C)
P. 0ocardE Le piano ((aris 2B:A rev. =/2B?: by .. %tricker)
7. PfeifferE *om 8ammer: 5ntersuchungen aus einem 9eilgebiet des Fl(gel/ und
Klaierbaus (%tuttgart 2B:A/7; )ng. trans. 2B?A)
-.&. 5iche'E Michel's Piano #tlas (.ivera 9A 2B=8 rev. 2C/2BB? as Pierce Piano
(.<. HirtE Meister+erke des Klaierbaus: "eschichte der Saitenklaiere on =CCD bis
=>>D (0lten 2B==; )ng. trans. 2B;A/7 as Stringed Ke3board @nstruments, =CCD.=>>D)
6. 6'uttonE GThe (ianoforteF Musical @nstruments through the #ges ed. A. 5aines
(#armondsworth 2B;2/7 4/2B;;/7) AA32C4
7.0. ,umnerE 9he Pianoforte (1ondon 2B;; 8/2B?2)
4.,. ro=erE 9he Piano: its Stor3 from Zither to "rand (1ondon 2B?;/7)
(. ,chu'>E Pianographie (.ecklinghausen 2B?A 4/2BA4)
<.1. aines" ed.E 9he Lies of the Piano (,ew >ork 2BA2)
4. i''" ed.E 9he 4ook of the Piano (0&ford 2BA2)
,.:. )ay'or" ed.E 9he Musician's Piano #tlas (-acclesfield 2BA2)
5. Pi>>iE 8istoire du Piano: de =EDD ! =F?D (9hambPry 2BA8)
4. 6rom9ieE Piano (%an 6rancisco 2BB=)
<. Para;i'as" ed.E Piano 7oles: 9hree 8undred 0ears of the Piano (,ew #aven and
1ondon 4CCC)
d3 up to 1$00
,. 5affeiE G,uova inven'ione dLun gravecembalo col piano e forte aggiunte alcune
considera'ioni sopra glLinstrumenti musicaliF "iornale de' letterati d'@talia v (@enice
2?22) 2::3=B; <er. trans. in D. -atthesonE 9ritica musica ii (#amburg 2?4=/7) 88=3
6.P.&. /achE *ersuch (ber die +ahre #rt das Claier 1u spielen i (5erlin 2?=8/7
8/2?A?/7); ii (2?;4/7 4/2?B?/7); )ng. trans. of pts i3ii (,ew >ork 2B:B 4/2B=2)
!nce'etE &bserations sur la musiBue, les musiciens et les instrumens (Amsterdam
:.6. :rauseE G,achricht Hber eine wesentliche @erbesserung der Klaviaturen der
TasteninstrumenteF #MZ &ii (2ACB32C) ;:B3=4
6.(.. )honE 5eber Klaierinstrumente: deren #nkauf, 4ehandlung und Stimmung
(%ondershausen 2A2?)
&. de /ric?ue=i''eE Le piano de MmeG )u4arr3 et le claecin de la reine Marie/
#ntoinette (@ersailles 2AB4)
!.<. Hip;insE # )escription and 8istor3 of the Pianoforte and of the &lder Ke3board
Stringed @nstruments (1ondon 2AB;/7 8/2B4B/7)
&. de /ric?ue=i''eE G1e piano U @ersailles sous -arie$AntoinetteF 7eue de l'histoire de
*ersailles et de Seine/et/&ise viii (2BC;) 2B83?
&. de /ric?ue=i''eE Les entes d'instruments de musiBue au H*@@@e siIcle ((aris 2BCA)
7.H.. ('oodE G*ublin #arpsichord and (ianoforte -akers of the )ighteenth 9enturyF
6ournal of the 7o3al Societ3 of #ntiBuaries of @reland &&&i& (2BCB) 28?3:=
P. <amesE ;arl3 Ke3board @nstruments from their 4eginnings to the 0ear =>JD (1ondon
H. /runnerE )as Klaierklangideal Mo1arts und die Klaiere seiner Zeit (Augsburg
-. /roderE G-o'art and the ]9lavier^F M' &&vii (2B:2) :44384
6. ParrishE G9riticisms of the (iano when it was ,ewF M' &&& (2B::) :4A3:C
H. oughE GThe 9lassical <rand (ianoforte 2?CC32A8CF P7M# l&&vii (2B=C3=2) :23
@. 1Ac;E G-o'arts #ammerflHgel erbaute Anton +alter +ienF M6b =F?? 4:;3;4
H. HauptE G+iener "nstrumentenbauer von 2?B2 bis 2A2=F SM+ &&iv (2B;C) 243A:
1. /entonE GThe )arly (iano in the 7nited %tatesF 8M04 &i (2B;2) 2?B3AB
6.(. 6o'tE G)arly (ianosE their #istory and 9haracterF ;Mc i (2B?8) 4?388
&. /aduraB,;odaE G(rolegomena to a #istory of the @iennese 6ortepianoF @srael
Studies in Musicolog3 ii (2BAC) ??3BB
6.(. 6o't and !. 5ia''E 9he ;arl3 Piano (1ondon 2BA2)
/. :enyon de Pascua'E G)nglish %quare (ianos in )ighteenth$9entury -adridF ML l&iv
(2BA8) 42432?
*. *ita'eE @l pianoforte a $apoli nell'ottocento (,aples 2BA8)
,. Po''ensE GThe (ianos of 5artolomeo 9ristoforiF 6#M@S & (2BA:) 843;A
*. P'easantsE GThe )arly (iano in 5ritain (c2?;C32ACC)F ;Mc &iii (2BA=) 8B3::
,. Po''ensE GThe )arly (ortuguese (ianoF ;Mc &iii (2BA=) 2A34?
7.H. 6o'eE GThe )arly (iano in 5ritain .econsideredF ;Mc &iv (2BA;) =;83;
5. HoodE G,annette %treicher and her (ianosF Continuo & (2BA;) no.B pp.43=; no.2C
!. Hu9erE G-ensurierung 5esaitung und %timmtonhKhen bei #ammerklavieren des 2A.
DhdtsF )as Musikinstrument &&&v (2BA;) no.? pp.=A3;4; no.B pp.4=3B
/. :enyon de Pascua'E G6rancisco (Pre' -irabalLs #arpsichords and the )arly %panish
(ianoF ;Mc &v (2BA?) =CA32:
&. /aduraB,;odaE GIur 6rHhgeschichte des #ammerklaviersF Florilegium
musicologicum: 8elmut Federhofer 1um E?G "eburstag ed. 9.$#. -ahling (Tut'ing
2BAA) 8?3::
!. Hu9erE G+ere the )arly "talian and (ortugese (ianofortes %trung )ntirely with
5rass_F )as Musikinstrument &&&vii/234 (2BAA) 2A:3B:
,. :'ima" . /o8ers and :.,. rant" eds.E Memoirs of )rG Charles 4urne3 (1incoln
,) 2BAA)
P. &=erettE 9he Manchester Concerto Partbooks (,ew >ork 2BAB)
!. Hu9erE G*er Ksterreichische Klavierbau im 2A. DahrhundertF )ie Klang+elt Mo1arts
Kunsthistorisches -useum 4A April 3 4? 0ct 2BB2 (@ienna 2BB2) :?3?4 Ne&hibition
<. :osterE G6oreign "nfluences in 6rench )ighteenth$9entury (iano -akingF ;arl3
Ke3board 6ournal &i (2BB8) ?38A
5. 0atchamE GThe 9heck in some )arly (ianos and the *evelopment of (iano
Technique Around the Turn of the )ighteenth 9enturyF ;Mc &&i (2BB8) 4A3:8
5. 0atchamE GThe (ianos of Dohann Andreas %teinF Zur "eschichte des
8ammerklaiers: 4lankenburg, 8ar1, =FFK 2=3:B
:. :om'CsE Fortepianos and their Music: "erman3, #ustria, and ;ngland, =ELD.=>DD
(0&ford 2BB=)
6. 0e'iE *an piano tot forte (Kampen 2BB=)
,. Po''ensE 9he ;arl3 Pianoforte (9ambridge 2BB=)
,. 1ampeE Mo1arts Claiermusik, Klang+elt und #uff(hrungspra<is: ein 8andbuch
(Kassel 2BB=)
<. :osterE GThe *ivided 5ridge due Tension and .ational %triking (oint on )arly
)nglish <rand (ianosF 6#M@S &&iii (2BB?) =3==
5. 0atchamE G-o'art and the (ianos of <abriel Anton +alterF ;Mc &&v (2BB?) 8A43
5. 6o'eE 9he Pianoforte in the Classical ;ra (0&ford 2BBA)
,.:. :'ausE G<erman %quare (ianos with Prellmechanik in -aJor American -useum
9ollectionsE *istinguishing 9haracteristics of .egional %chools in the 1ate )ighteenth
and )arly ,ineteenth 9enturiesF 6#M@S &&iv (2BBA) 4?3AC
5. 0atchamE G-o'art and the (ianos of Dohann Andreas %teinF "S6 li (2BBA) 22:3=8
1. !ngermA''er and !. Hu9er" eds.E Mo1arts 8ammerfl(gel (%al'burg 4CCC)
e3 after 1$00
G#arpsichordF 7ees's C3clopaedia (1ondon 2A2B34C)
]6eli&^E G(iano 6ortesF 9he ;uterpeiad iii (2A48) 2?B
6. :At>ingE )as 2issenschaftliche der Fortepiano/4aukunst (5erne 2A::)
6.!. !ndrDE )er Claierbau in seiner "eschichte, seiner technischen und
musikalischen 4edeutung (0ffenbach 2A==)
(.B<. (DtisE G"nstruments de musiqueF ;<position unierselle de =>LE ! Paris: 7apports
du -ur3 international ed. -. 9hevalier ii/2C ((aris 2A;A) 48?382A
!. 0e 4. de PontDcou'antE La musiBue ! l';<position unierselle de =>LE ((aris 2A;A)
O. Pau'E "eschichte des Claiers om 5rsprunge bis 1u den modernsten Formen
dieses @nstruments (1eip'ig 2A;A/7)
P. ,te=ensE G.eports upon -usical "nstrumentsF 7eports of the 5nited States
Commissioners to the Paris 5niersal ;<position 2A;? ed. +.(. 5lake (+ashington
*9 2A?C) v 232A
<. /'Athner and H. retsche'E Lehrbuch des Pianofortebaues in seiner "eschichte,
9heorie und 9echnik (+eimar 2A?4/. rev. 8/2BCB by .. #annemann as )er
Pianofortebau :/2B42)
0. -a'derE 9he Modern Piano (1ondon 2B4?)
*.!. /rad'eyE Music for the Millions: the Kimball Piano and &rgan Stor3 (9hicago
7.,. -e8manE G5eethovenLs (ianos versus his (iano "dealsF 6#MS &&iii (2B?C) :A:3
4. 5e'=i''eE G5eethovenLs (ianosF 9he 4eethoen Companion ed. *. Arnold and ,.
6ortune (1ondon 2B?2; ,ew >ork 2B?2 as 9he 4eethoen 7eader) :23;?
6.I. 7a'shE #n ;conomic and Social 8istor3 of the Pianoforte in Mid/ and Late/*ictorian
4ritain (diss. 7. of 1ondon 2B?8)
5. /i'sonE G%chubertLs (iano -usic and the (ianos of his TimeF Piano 'uarterl3
&&vii/2C: (2B?A3B) =;3;2
6.!. Hoo=erE GThe %teinways and their (ianos in the ,ineteenth 9enturyF 6#M@S vii
(2BA2) :?3AB
5. /i'sonE G5eethoven and the (ianoF Claier &&ii/A (2BA8) 2A342
1. 7interE GThe )mperorLs ,ew 9lothesE ,ineteenth$century "nstruments .evisitedF
=FCM vii (2BA83:) 4=23;=
4. 7ytheE GThe (ianos of 9onrad <rafF ;Mc &ii (2BA:) ::?3;C
1. 7interE G%triking it .ichE the %ignificance of %triking (oints in the )volution of the
.omantic (ianoF 6M vi (2BAA) 4;?3B4
,. Po''ensE G)arly ,ineteenth$9entury <erman 1anguage +orks on (iano
-aintenanceF ;arl3 Ke3board 6ournal viii (2BBC) B232CB
f3 'oca' studies
6. ,chafhEut'E )ie Pianofortebaukunst der )eutschen (5erlin 2A=:)
<.0. /ishopE # 8istor3 of #merican Manufactures from =LD> to =>LD ((hiladelphia
2A;23; enlarged 8/2A;A/7)
<. PartonE GThe (iano in the 7nited %tatesF #tlantic Monthl3 && (2A;?) A43BA
). !pp'eton and othersE GThe American (ianoforte -anufactureF Musical and Se+ing
Machine "a1ette (42 6eb 2AAC)
)ie Pianoforte on Sch+eighofer (@ienna 2AB4) NcatalogueO
7. ,tein8ayE GAmerican -usical "nstrumentsF &ne 8undred 0ears of #merican
Commerce =EF?.=>F? ed. 9.-. *epew (,ew >ork 2AB=) =CB32=
0. /FsendorferE G*as +iener KlavierF )ie "rossindustrie Msterreichs (@ienna 2ABA)
!. :rausE G"talian "nventions for "nstruments with a KeyboardF S@M" &iii (2B22324)
1.,. 6'ayE GThe 5ritish (ianoforte "ndustryF 6ournal of the 7o3al Societ3 of #rts l&vi
(2B2?32A) 2=:3;2 Nsee also general discussion 2;238O
).&. ,tein8ayE People and Pianos: a Centur3 of Serice to Music (,ew >ork 2B=8
*. 0uith'enE G*er )isenstRdter +alterflHgelF M6b =F?C 4C;3A
O. 1ind'is9acherE )er Klaierbau in der Sch+ei1 (5erne 2B?4)
H. OttnerE )er 2iener @nstrumentenbau =>=?.=>KK (Tut'ing 2B??)
-.<. roceE Musical @nstrument Making in $e+ 0ork Cit3 during the ;ighteenth and
$ineteenth Centuries (diss. 7. of -ichigan 2BA4)
4. 7ain8rightE 4road+ood b3 #ppointment: a 8istor3 (1ondon 2BA4)
O. /ar'iE La facture franNaise du piano de =>CF ! nos -ours ((aris 2BA8)
1. /urnettE G)nglish (ianos at 6inchcocksF ;Mc &iii (2BA=) :=3=2
0. 0i9inE #merican Musical @nstruments in 9he Metropolitan Museum of #rt (,ew >ork
,. Po''ensE GThe )arly (ortuguese (ianoF ;mc &iii (2BA=) 2A34?
7.H. 6o'eE GAmericus 5ackersE 0riginal 6orte (iano -akerF ;nglish 8arpsichord
Maga1ine iv/: (2BA?) ?B3A;
6. /ordas I9GHe>E G*os constructores de pianos en -adridE 6rancisco 6l\re' y
6rancisco 6ernXnde'F 7dMc &i (2BAA) AC?3=2
!. Hu9erE G%aitendrahtsysteme im +iener Klavierbau 'wischen 2?AC und 2AACF )as
Musikinstrument &&&vii/B (2BAA) A:3B:; also in Saiten und ihre 8erstellung in
*ergangenheit und "egen+art: 4lankenburg, 8ar1, =F>> ?B32C;
6. /ordas I9GHe>E 8a1en 3 el piano en ;spaOa: =E? aOos (-adrid 2BAB)
6.H. 1oeh'E 9he Piano in #merica, =>FD.=FCD (9hapel #ill ,9 2BAB)
<. Horo8it>E 9he @or3 9rade (,ew >ork 2BBC)
1. HopfnerE 2iener Musikinstrumentenmacher =ELL.=FDD (@ienna 2BBB)
g3 other studies
4. ,pi''aneE 9he Piano: Scientific, 9echnical, and Practical @nstructions relating to
9uning, 7egulating, and 9oning (,ew >ork 2AB8)
7./. 7hiteE 9he Pla3er/Piano 5p/9o/)ate (,ew >ork 2B2:)
&.<. 4entE GThe (ianoforte and its "nfluence on -odern -usicF M' ii (2B2;) 4?23B:
7. PfeifferE 9aste und 8ebeglied des Klaiers: eine 5ntersuchung ihrer 4e1iehungen
im unmittelbaren #ngriff (1eip'ig 2B4C; )ng. trans. 2B;?)
7. PfeifferE Pber )%mpfer, Federn und Spielart (6rankfurt 2B;4)
&.4. /'ac;hamE GThe (hysics of the (ianoF Scientific #merican cc&iii/; (2B;=) AA3BB
)er klangliche #spekt beim 7estaurieren on Saitenklaieren: "ra1 =FE=
:. (ordE GThe (edal (ianoE a ,ew 1ookF 9he )iapason l&&v (2BA:) no.2C pp.2C322;
no.22 p.; only; no.24 pp.2:32=
!.7.<.. OrdBHumeE Pianola: the 8istor3 of the Self/Pla3ing Piano (1ondon 2BA:)
!. Hu9erE G*eckelstHt'en und %challdeckel in #ammerklavierenF Studia &rganologica:
Festschrift f(r 6ohn 8enr3 an der Meer ed. 6. #ellwig (Tut'ing 2BA?) 44B3=4
I. /'AthnerBHaess'erE Pianofortebau: ;lementar und umfassend dargestellt on einem
Klaierbauer (6rankfurt 2BB2)
1. 4unhi''E 8andel and the 8arris Circle (#ampshire 2BB=)
1. 5aunderE Ke3board @nstrument in ;ighteenth/Centur3 *ienna (0&ford 2BBA)
II. Piano p'aying.
The history of piano playing is tied to a great many factorsE the development of the
instrument the evolution of musical styles shifts in the relationship of the performer to
the score the rise of virtuosity the idiosyncrasies of individual artists changes in
audience tastes and values and even socio$economic developments. 0n a more
practical level piano playing is concerned primarily with matters of touch fingering
pedalling phrasing and interpretation. )ven a discussion limited primarily to these can
point out only the maJor signposts along the three centuries of the instrumentFs
e&istence. -uch of the lore surrounding the history of piano playing belongs more
properly to the realm of anecdote or even myth than to scholarship; much work in this
area remains to be done.
2. 9lassical period.
4. .omantic period.
8. 4Cth century.
:. Da'' piano playing.
(ianoforte !""E (iano (laying
1. 6'assica' period.
The earliest performers brought with them well$established techniques for playing the
harpsichord and clavichord both of which were essentially domestic instruments in spite
of their cultivation at leading courts throughout )urope. The best international keyboard
repertory required considerable agility de&terity and coordination but minimal strength.
+ith a ma&imum range of five octaves coupled with long$standing resistance on the
part of composers to the fully chromatic use of the keyboard (embraced only by D.%.
5ach) there were inherent limits to the musical and technical demands a composer
might make upon a player.
-uch emphasis has been placed upon the similarity of the early fortepiano to both the
clavichord and the harpsichord. There e&ist parallels in case and in soundboard
construction; but as far as the performer was concerned the piano imposed a set of new
demands. The various escapements introduced as early as 9ristofori allowed the pianist
to e&ert more downward pressure than was feasible on a clavichord. The fortepiano
however was without the resistance encountered in pressing a plectrum past a string;
its dip was correspondingly shallower. +hile the dynamic range of the new instrument
was greater than that of a clavichord it could not achieve the clavichordFs various
gradations of piano and its ma&imum volume was still less than that of a well$quilled
harpsichord. The special skills required for playing the piano are acknowledged
obliquely in 9.(.). 5achFs *ersuch i (2?=8)E GThe more recent fortepiano which is
sturdy and well built has many fine qualities although its touch must be carefully
worked out a task that is not without its difficultiesF. "t is known that both 9arl (hilipp
)manuel and his father had access to the %ilbermann pianos at the court of 6rederick
the <reat in (otsdam where the former was employed but apart from Dohann
%ebastianFs suggestions for improving the action on his visit in 2?:? there is no
documentation of his performances on the new instrument. #ence for the first si&
decades or so after its invention the piano co$e&isted with its more established rivals.
-arpurgFs #nleitung (2?==) treats keyboard instruments as a family with broad
performance skills in common. )ven THrkFs Claierschule (2?AB) 3 cited by 5eethoven
in a conversation book as late as -arch 2A2B 3 is directed as much at clavichordists as
pianists. 7ntil one instrument came to be preferred by composers and players alike it
was not economically feasible to aim a method book at a speciali'ed audience. "t is
probably safe to assume that a still hand and an even touch remained the primary
obJectives of keyboard players until well after the death of D.%. 5ach.
The persistence of these virtues is displayed in a letter -o'art wrote to his father from
Augsburg in 0ctober 2??? wherein he critici'ed in biting fashion the playing of %teinFs
little daughter ,annette presumably on one of the makerFs new fortepianosE
+hen a passage is being played the arm must be raised as high as possible and
according as the notes in the passage are stressed the arm not the fingers must do
this and that too with great emphasis in a heavy and clumsy manner. W +hen she
comes to a passage that ought to flow like oil and which necessitates a change of finger
W she Just leaves out the notes raises her hand and starts off again quite comfortably.
W %he will not make progress by this method W since she definitely does all she can to
make her hands heavy.
-o'artFs rival 9lementi still admonished his pupils in his treatise of 2AC2 to hold Gthe
hand and arm W in an hori'ontal position; neither depressing nor raising the wrist. W All
unnecessary motion must be avoidedF. %imilarly *ussek (2?B;) counselled the student
Gnever NtoO displace the natural position of the handF. Although 5eethoven told .ies that
he had never heard -o'art play 9'erny reported otherwise attributing to 5eethoven
the observation that -o'art Ghad a fine but choppy N1erhacktesO way of playing no
ligatoF. This remark must be understood against the background of the gradual shift
from non$legato to legato that had its beginnings in the high 9lassical period.
,evertheless the keyboard music of 5eethoven supplies the most imaginative
e&amples of non$legato in the first quarter of the 2Bth century. "n spite of his own
legendary virtuosity and gift for improvisation it is hard to form a coherent picture of
5eethovenFs performing style from contemporary reports. According to one of the best$
known accounts that by 9arl 9'erny Ghis bearing while playing was masterfully quiet
noble and beautiful without the slightest grimace. W "n teaching he laid great stress on
a correct position of the fingers (after the school of )manuel 5ach)F. 5ut 9'erny appears
to contradict himself in reporting further that 5eethovenFs Gplaying like his compositions
was far ahead of his time; the pianofortes of the period (until 2A2C) still e&tremely weak
and imperfect could not endure his gigantic style of performanceF. And according to
5eethovenFs biographer %chindler G9herubini disposed to be curt characteri'ed
5eethovenFs pianoforte playing in a single wordE ]rough^F.
+hether 5eethoven performed it himself or not it is certain that works like the
G#ammerklavierF %onata op.2C; demanded far greater technical resourcefulness
(including participation of the full arm) than anything written before 2A2A. The last
articulate spokesman for the conservative @iennese tradition was #ummel whose
#n+eisung (2A4A) emphasi'ed Gease quiet and securityF of performance. "n order to
reali'e these goals Gevery sharp motion of the elbows and hands must be avoidedF.
,evertheless #ummel consolidated many of the innovations in fingering that had been
adopted by 5eethoven and others. Almost two$thirds of his method is devoted to this
subJect with great stress on the pivotal importance of the thumb. Along with his own
music #ummel advocated serious study of D.5. 9ramerFs Studio per il pianoforte (2AC:3
2C) and 9lementiFs "radus ad Parnassum (2A2?34;) two of the first systematic surveys
of keyboard technique. Although 9ramerFs goal of the absolute equality of the ten
fingers was eventually abandoned his studies were recommended enthusiastically by
composers with aims as diverse as 5eethoven %chumann and 9hopin. The heavier
more resonant (and less clear) )nglish instruments preferred (and in 9lementiFs case
manufactured) by )nglish and 6rench performers are compared without preJudice by
#ummel with the lighter transparent @iennese instruments. The gradual domination of
the )nglish type including the eventual adoption of the repetition patented by )rard in
2A42 e&ercised a profound influence on the development of piano playing in the second
half of the century.
(ianoforte !""E (iano (laying
2. 1omantic period.
The dawn of .omanticism in the 2A8Cs brought with it the speciali'ation that produced a
breed of pianists who were to dominate the salons and concert halls of )urope for the
ne&t AC years. Although the number of amateur pianists continued to grow the keyboard
became increasingly the realm of the virtuoso who performed music written by and for
other virtuosos. "t is no accident that two composers on the threshold of the new
movement +eber and %chubert each wrote a great deal of highly original piano music
but were also highly original orchestrators while two full$blooded .omantics of the ne&t
generation 9hopin and %chumann have their achievements more clearly bounded by
the capabilities and limitations of the piano. +eber was an accomplished pianist but
both he and %chubert dreamt of success in opera; 9hopin became a highly polished
virtuoso while %chumann tried to become one. Among .omantic composers some
shunned or showed little interest in the piano (5erlio' @erdi +agner) and others lived
from its e&traordinary powers both as performers and teachers (9hopin 1is't
Thalberg). This division helps to e&plain the intense interest after 5eethovenFs death in
developing a range of sonorities for the solo piano that could be compared to an
orchestra. (erhaps the most colourful e&ample of this concern is the account by 9harles
#allP of a concert he attended in (aris in 2A8;E
At an orchestral concert given by him and conducted by 5erlio' the G-arche au
suppliceF from the latterFs S3mphonie fantastiBue that most gorgeously orchestrated
piece was performed at the conclusion of which 1is't sat down and played his own
arrangement for the piano alone of the same movement with an effect even
surpassing that of the full orchestra and creating an indescribable furore.
The problems of studying piano playing are even more formidable over the .omantic
era than over its beginnings. There are several reasons for this. "n spite of the
proliferation of method books by such artists as -oscheles #er' and Kalkbrenner none
of the most innovatory contributors to 2Bth$century pianism (%chumann -endelssohn
9hopin Tausig 1is't 5rahms and 1escheti'ky) compiled similar guides. 9hopin left
behind the barest torso of a method book apparently prompted largely by financial
considerations and perfunctory in all but two respects. The closest testimonial in the
case of 1is't is the largely neglected Lis1t/Pedagogium (1eip'ig 2BC4) assembled by
1ina .amann with fellow pupils including August <Kllerich.
)ven more e&asperating than the lack of guidance from the maJor performers
themselves is the imprecision of the accounts in an age that worshipped flights of poetic
fancy. 6rom a novelist like <eorge %and one might e&pect the following description of
1is't at the keyboardE
" adore the broken phrases he strikes from his piano so that they seem to stay
suspended one foot in the air dancing in space like limping will$oF$the$wisps. The
leaves on the lime trees take on themselves the duty of completing the melody in a
hushed mysterious whisper as though they were murmuring natureFs secrets to one
another. 5ut the description of a professional musician like #allP is scarcely of greater
valueE 0ne of the transcendent merits of his playing was the crystal$like clearness which
never failed him for a moment even in the most complicated and for anybody else
impossible passages W The power he drew from the instrument was such as " have
never heard since but never harsh never suggesting GthumpingF. ,or is %chumannFs
comment to 9laraE G#ow e&traordinarily he plays boldly and wildly and then again
tenderly and ethereallyVF. -endelssohn is only slightly more helpfulE
N1is'tO plays the piano with more technique than all the others W a degree of velocity
and complete finger independence and a thoroughly musical feeling which can scarcely
be equalled. "n a word " have heard no performer whose musical perceptions so e&tend
to the very tips of his fingers.
"n the case of 9hopin the other revolutionary of .omantic piano playing the ground is
slightly firmer. "t seems astonishing that even as a fresh arrival in (aris he could make
the following remarkE
"f (aganini is perfection itself Kalkbrenner is his equal but in a quite different sphere. "t
is difficult to describe to you his GcalmF 3 his enchanting touch the incomparable
evenness of his playing and that mastery which is obvious in every note. 9ertain
characteristics of KalkbrennerFs conservative style lingered as in 9hopinFs advice to his
young niece 1udwika to keep the Gelbow level with the white keys. #and neither towards
the right nor the leftF. 9hopin staked out a more individual position in the tantali'ing
fragment of a piano method owned and transcribed by Alfred 9ortot (now in 5S/$0pm;
see D.D. )igeldingerE Chopin, u par ses ,lIes ,euch`tel 2B?C 8/2BAA; )ng. trans.
2BA; as Chopin: Pianist and 9eacher)E (rovided that it is played in time no one will
notice inequality of sound in a rapid scale. 6lying in the face of nature it has become
customary to attempt to acquire equality of strength in the fingers. "t is more desirable
that the student acquire the ability to produce finely graded qualities of sound W The
ability to play everything at a level tone is not our obJect. W There are as many different
sounds as there are fingers. )verything hangs on knowing how to finger correctly. W "t
is important to make use of the shape of the fingers and no less so to employ the rest of
the hand wrist forearm and arm. To attempt to play entirely from the wrist as
Kalkbrenner advocates is incorrect.
9hopin recommended beginning with the scale of 5 maJor Gone that places the long
fingers comfortably over the black keys. W +hile Nthe scale of 9 maJorO is the easiest to
read it is the most difficult for the hands since it contains no purchase pointsF. Although
#ummel is cited by 9hopin as the best source for advice on fingering his own
contributions to this area were bold and innovatory. The 4? studies composed in the
decade between 2A4B and 2A8B (including three for 6Ptis and -oschelesFs M,thode
des m,thodes) are a manifesto for techniques still in widespread use. +hile 9ramer
9lementi and #ummel all include e&ercises based on arpeggios 9hopin e&tended their
comfortable broken octaves to 2Cths and even 22ths in his op.2C no.2; in spite of the
easily imagined difficulties of high$speed e&ecution he wrote to the strength of the hand
avoiding for e&ample the weak link between the third and fourth fingers. The G5lack$
KeyF )tude op.2C no.= teaches the thumb to be equally at home on black or white keys
(e&.2). The study in octaves op.4= no.2C demands the participation (forbidden by
Kalkbrenner) of the entire arm. 9hopin provided fingering more frequently than almost
any other 2Bth$century composer adding them not only to autographs and copies but
into editions used by students such as Dane %tirling.
Although 1is'tFs earliest efforts at technical studies were contemporary with those of
9hopin his own GtranscendentalF studies not published in their final form until after the
latterFs death are repeatedly influenced by 9hopinFs e&ample. The necessity for full
involvement of the arm is readily evident from 1is'tFs fingerings in passages such as
e&.4 from the si&th of the (aganini %tudies. 5rahms who wrote two sets of variations
on the theme of (aganiniFs A minor 9aprice favoured e&tensive cross$rhythms and
metric shifts in his keyboard music. #is specific contributions to piano technique are
summari'ed in the =2 Pbungen (2AB8) which feature large leaps sudden e&tensions
and equally sudden contractions and the passing of the fifth finger (i.e. the whole hand)
over the thumb. This last device is employed freely in both hands of his last piano piece
the .hapsody op.22B no.: (e&.8). 5ecause of the lesser leverage available in the
actions of the @iennese pianos that 5rahms preferred much of this technical e&pansion
was accomplished on instruments with markedly greater resistance than that of present$
day grands. Although data has been published purporting to show a steady increase in
resistance through the 2A?Cs followed by a fall in the 4Cth century much more
e&tensive and reliable information will be needed before generali'ation about the
relative touch of differing instruments will be possible. "n the second half of the 2Bth
century the only constant in this area was probably variety.
The single most important development in the sound of the .omantic piano was
doubtless the new emphasis on the sustaining (or damper) pedal. Although 9'erny
claimed that 5eethoven Gmade frequent use of the pedals much more frequent than is
indicated in his worksF the sustaining pedal was almost universally regarded up to the
first quarter of the 2Bth century as a special effect. +riters from *ussek (2?B;) to Adam
(2AC4) and #ummel (2A4A) condemned the indiscriminate use of the sustaining pedal
reserving it for passages where an unusual sound was desired (as in the recitative
added at the recapitulation of 5eethovenFs * minor %onata op.82 no.4; e&.:). *irections
for raising the dampers were transmitted in very individual ways by .omantic
composers; %chumann was among the first to specify simply G(edalF at the head of a
passage or movement while 9hopin generally supplied precise and detailed
instructions (frequently ignored or suppressed by his 2Bth$century editors). "t is seldom
clear whether 9hopin intended those passages not marked (such as all but the first
three bars of the opening section of the 6 maJor 5allade op.8A) to be played without the
sustaining pedal or whether it was to be added as general colouring at the performerFs
1is'tFs teacher 9'erny was one of the first to e&change public performing for full$time
instruction but a dominant specialist teacher did not emerge until after mid$century in
the person of Theodor 1escheti'ky who numbered among his pupils (aderewski
<abrilovich %chnabel 6riedman 5railowsky #ors'owski -oiseiwitsch and many more
who achieved international fame. Although it became fashionable to speak of the
G1escheti'ky methodF 1escheti'ky himself steadfastly refused to free'e his views into
print. "n searching for the kernel his student -oiseiwitsch observed that Gabove all there
was his tone. ,o$one had a tone like his. #e never taught us any ]secret^ there; one Just
picked up something of the lustre from himF. (erhaps an even greater contribution was
1escheti'kyFs detailed and painstaking approach to the study of repertory a tradition still
pursued in countless masterclasses. Although his )nglish successor Tobias -atthay (of
<erman parentage) produced many books on piano playing their tortuous language
required e&plications by students (e.g. A. 9ovielloE 2hat Mattha3 meant 2B:A).
-atthayFs emphasis on muscular rela&ation and forearm rotation was valuable as far as
it went but has needed modification in the face of more detailed physiological
investigations such as those of 0tto 0rtmann (2B4B). 0rtmannFs research led him to the
not surprising conclusion that the most efficient playing requires a Judicious balance
between muscular rela&ation and tension.
6ew editors of piano music before 2B8C approached their task with the reverence for the
composerFs intentions found in %chenkerFs G)rlRuterungsausgabenF (2B28342) of the
late 5eethoven sonatas. "t was not only customary but e&pected that an editor would
add his interpretative suggestions to those provided by the composer rarely bothering
to distinguish between the two. %ince most 2Bth$century editors were themselves active
performers who frequently claimed direct association with the composer of the repertory
being edited an interventionist attitude was inevitable. The most frequent te&t changes
were the addition of articulation slurs in the music of 5ach and #andel 3 then
considered a regular part of the piano repertory 3 or the e&changing of articulation slurs
(especially in the @iennese repertory from #aydn to %chubert) for longer phrase
markings. The wholesale addition of dynamic and pedal indications was equally
acceptable. "n performance the pianist reserved the right to introduce further changes
perhaps restricted to a few discreet octave doublings but perhaps also e&tending to the
interpolation of embellishments and caden'as. Although it is known that both 5eethoven
and 9hopin obJected to such practices the practices flourished. The most gifted
practitioner may have been 1is't who did not regard even 9hopinFs music (as the latter
bitterly noted) as sacrosanct. ,evertheless 9hopin himself occasionally interpolated
embellishments and caden'as into his music as shown in an annotated version of op.B
no.4 which shows a variant of the caden'a and an added flourish to the final bar. "n
later years 1is't renounced his earlier habits crusading relentlessly over the tinkling of
salon music for the acceptance of works by 5eethoven %chubert 5erlio' and others.
The recent vogue for G7rte&tF editions has reaffirmed the importance of the composer in
the chain leading to actual performance but an enthusiasm for te&tual purity can prove
dangerous when accompanied by naivety about the performing conventions and
traditions known to contemporary players. "n general variety in articulation persisted
much longer than is usually acknowledged proving essential not only in the music of
#aydn and -o'art but also in that of %chubert and 9hopin. .omantic composers
handled the issues of phrasing and articulation in highly individual ways frequently
alternating between the two types of notation within the same movement section or
even phrase. 5ecause of the comple& relationships among primary sources it is rarely a
simple matter to establish an G7rte&tF as the comparison of two such editions of almost
any work will prove. The reali'ation that not only -o'art and 5eethoven but also 9hopin
and 1is't played on instruments quite different from our own raises the nagging
question of whether a modern performer on a modern instrument should attempt to
adapt his playing style to that of the earlier piano or should feel free to make changes
he feels are necessitated by intervening developments. "ndeed until a significant
number of 2Bth$century instruments by such makers as <raf %treicher 5roadwood
5Ksendorfer (leyel )rard and %teinway are restored to concert condition there can be
little more than speculation as to how they actually sounded or even whether it would
be desirable to include them as a regular part of concert life. +ho would advocate
playing keyboard music before *ussek (supposed to have been the first to turn his right
profile to the audience) with his back to his listeners_ %hould music before 1is't (the
first to perform regularly in public from memory) be played with the music and a page$
turner_ The renewed interest in historical performance will not make the performerFs
task less comple&; it both increases the number of options and the obligation to become
fully informed.
(ianoforte !""E (iano (laying
3. 20th century.
The development of piano playing in the 4Cth century received its maJor impetus from
9laude *ebussy who took up where 9hopin had left off five decades earlier. 7nlike
most 2Bth$century piano composers *ebussy was no virtuoso (few accounts of his
playing and only a fragmentary recording accompanying -ary <arden in a scene from
Pell,as survive) but he was on intimate terms with the instrument to which he returned
again and again. #is piano music is an eclectic blend of 9ouperin and 9hopin (the
keyboard composers he admired most) combined with daring new harmonies and
te&tures. The Suite pour le piano (2BC2) proved a landmark in 4Cth$century pianism
skilfully blending three centuries of keyboard tradition. "t should be noted that *ebussy
achieved his finely graded pedal effects (never specified but always an integral part of
the te&ture) without the benefit of the middle GsostenutoF pedal found on most modern
concert instruments. The capstone to *ebussyFs piano writing is the set of twelve
;tudes (2B2=) fittingly dedicated to 9hopin. 5eginning with the spoof on Gfive$finger
e&ercisesF through a chord study these essays prepare the performer not only for the
rest of *ebussyFs piano music but for much of the keyboard music that followed. 7nlike
the .omantic composers who cultivated a homogeneous blend *ebussy revelled in
Gopposed sonoritiesF as in his ;tude of that name (e&.=). "n spite of notational
fastidiousness in matters of dynamics and phrasing he elected in the preface of the
;tudes to grant the performer complete freedom in another important areaE
To impose a fingering cannot logically meet the different conformations of our hands. W
0ur old -asters W never indicated fingerings relying probably on the ingenuity of their
contemporaries. To doubt that of the modern virtuosos would be ill$mannered. To
concludeE the absence of fingerings is an e&cellent e&ercise suppresses the spirit of
contradiction which induces us to choose to ignore the fingerings of the composer and
proves those eternal wordsE G0ne is never better served than by oneselfF. 1et us seek
our fingeringsV
The cross$influences between *ebussy and .avel may never be entirely sorted out but
it is at least clear that .avel remained more drawn to the cascades of virtuosity inherited
from 1is't. #is special fondness for rapid repeated notes (as in "aspard de la nuit)
presupposes a crystalline control of touch and nuance essential to all of his music.
Although also influenced by *ebussy 5art\k travelled an increasingly individual path
beginning with the #llegro barbaro of 2B22. #e is noted for the spiky dissonance that
punctuates his keyboard music but it is too often forgotten that his own playing 3 both
from the recollections of contemporaries and the evidence of numerous sound
recordings 3 was infused with great elegance and rhythmic subtlety. ,evertheless his
frank e&ploitation of the percussive capabilities of the piano helped pave the way for the
e&periments with GpreparedF pianos first introduced in 9ageFs 4acchanale (2B:C) and
embraced by many composers since. The placing of small wedges of india$rubber or
other materials between the strings to modify the sound is curiously analogous to the
mechanical means used in the harpsichord of two centuries earlier. 0ther means of tone
production such as tapping the case or the soundboard have also been added. ,o
standardi'ed notation for transmitting these directions has evolved varying not only
from composer to composer but from work to work by the same composer. These
idiosyncratic developments along with the new interest in historical performance have
helped mitigate the increasing postwar homogeni'ation in the interpretation of the
standard repertory.
See also Keyboard music !""" ;3?.
(ianoforte !""E (iano (laying
%. <a>> piano p'aying.
As an improvised art which is often highly comple& Ja'' places special demands on
piano technique and Ja'' pianists have evolved a brand of virtuosity quite distinct from
that of the classical tradition. Da'' and blues pianists have not generally set out to
acquire an all$embracing technique capable of handling a wide$ranging body of
literature; each has concentrated instead on mastering a few technical problems which
pertain to his or her individual style personality and interests. +ithin these deliberately
narrow confines their technical attainments have been quite remarkable for e&ample
the perfect rhythmic separation of the hands required by the boogie$woogie style the
rapid negotiation of wide left$hand leaps in the stride style or such individual traits as
Teddy +ilsonFs gentle emphasis of inner counterpoints with the left thumb; even
classical pianists have difficulty handling these technical problems without sacrificing
Ja'' propulsion or GswingF. Thus pianists of quite limited technique such as Dimmy
>ancey Thelonious -onk and #orace %ilver have developed distinctive and inventive
Ja'' styles whereas virtuosos such as 6riedrich <ulda AndrP (revin or (eter ,ero
have not been as successful.
Da'' piano playing evolved early in the 4Cth century from several separate strands the
most important being ragtime which was easily within the grasp of the amateur pianist.
"ts characteristic features 3 a march$like accompaniment pattern in the left hand against
syncopated broken chords in the right 3 became more technically comple& in the 2B4Cs
with the #arlem stride school. "n a spirit of keen competition its members deliberately
set out to da''le listeners and especially colleagues with the speed and daring of their
technique. 0ne feature that became almost a fetish was the Gsolid left handF where
three$octave leaps at rapid tempo were not uncommon and octaves were regularly
replaced by 2Cths. 5y contrast the right hand played light and feathery passage$work
with rapid irregular 8rds :ths and pentatonic runs (fingered 834323432). The finest Ja''
technician Art Tatum was especially adept at integrating the hands in rapid passage$
work and commanded the admiration of #orowit'; few Ja'' pianists have been able to
match his virtuosity the only e&ception perhaps being 0scar (eterson.
A contrasting style arose in the late 2B4Cs with the work of )arl #ines. #is Gtrumpet
styleF translated many of the inflections of Ja'' trumpeting to the right hand of the piano
in the form of irregular tremolandos clusters and punched chords and a thin te&ture with
abrupt sfor1ati and cross$accents. Another development was the boogie$woogie blues
style of the 2B8Cs. #ere an unwavering rhythmic pattern in the left hand was offset by
irregular cross$rhythms and superimposed quintuplet and se&tuplet subdivisions in the
right necessitating an absolutely secure rhythmic separation of the hands. Though
crude and homespun by the standards of Tatum and #ines boogie$woogie nevertheless
left its mark on later rhythm$and$blues and rock pianists.
"n the 2B:Cs the GbebopF style represented a radical rethinking and simplification of
previous Ja'' piano playing. The rhythmic function of the left hand was taken over by the
drums and bass of an ensemble and the pianist was left to spin out long lines of Gsingle$
noteF melodies (i.e. with one note played at a time) while outlining the harmonic
progressions and GkickingF the beat with sparse chords in the left hand. The emphasis
was on a precise and mobile right$hand technique capable of sudden cross$accents
which were generally accomplished by a quick wrist staccato. The inevitable outcome of
this approach was an e&tremely restrained sonority (the pedals were virtually ignored)
yet the best bop pianists such as 5ud (owell Thelonious -onk and #orace %ilver
cultivated a readily recogni'able and inimitable touch.
Key figures of the late 2B=Cs to rediscover the different timbres of the instrument were
5ill )vans and 9ecil Taylor. )vans cultivated an understated technique consisting of
blurred pedal effects careful spacing of notes in a chord (GvoicingF) a fondness for low
dynamic levels and implied rather than e&plicitly stated rhythms. Taylor who had
conservatory training chose avant$garde art music as his starting$point and pursued an
e&trovert and physically demanding style with clusters glissandos and palm$ and elbow$
effects such as those found in %tockhausenFs later piano pieces. 5oth pianists made
use of the full tonal range of the instrument but to completely different ends.
5y the later 4Cth century emerging Ja'' pianists were usually trained in a sound
classical technique and had a historical grasp of earlier Ja'' piano playing. This has led
to interesting hybrids of classical and Ja'' technique especially apparent in the work of
Keith Darrett and 9hick 9orea. The technical e&pertise of the players is considerable
and almost encyclopedic in scope. The advent of the electric piano has brought a new
array of technical problems such as the handling of the bend bar and the manipulation
of volume wah$wah and other pedals; these have been particularly well mastered by
#erbie #ancock and Dosef Iawinul. (resent$day Ja'' pianists however generally prefer
the acoustic to the electronic instrument and continue to probe new styles whether the
intricate rhythmic procedures of DoAnne 5rackeen and 5rad -ehldau or the virtuoso
effusions of %imon ,abatov.
(ianoforte !""E (iano (laying
6.P.&. /achE *ersuch (ber die +ahre #rt das Claier 1u spielen i (5erlin 2?=8/7
8/2?A?/7); ii (2?;4/7 4/2?B?/7); )ng. trans. of pts i3ii (,ew >ork 2B:B 4/2B=2)
(.7. 5arpurgE #nleitung 1um Claierspielen (5erlin 2?== repr. Amsterdam 2?;C/7
4.. )Ar;E Claierschule (1eip'ig and #alle 2?AB/7; )ng. trans. 2BA4)
<.0. 4usse;E @nstructions on the #rt of Pla3ing the Piano/Forte or 8arpsichord (1ondon
5. 6'ementiE @ntroduction to the #rt of Pla3ing on the Piano Forte (1ondon 2AC2/7)
0. !damE M,thode de piano ((aris 2AC4 4/2AC=/7)
!. ,treicherE Kur1e 4emerkungen (ber das Spielen, Stimmen und ;rhalten der Forte/
piano (@ienna 2AC4)
<.-. Humme'E #usf(hrliche theoretisch/practische #n+eisung 1um Piano/Forte/Spiel
(@ienna 2A4A 4/2A8A; )ng. trans. 2A4B)
6. 5onta'E Lart daccorder soi/mQme son piano ((aris 2A8;/7)
6. 6>ernyE Letters to a 0oung Lad3 on the #rt of Pla3ing the Pianoforte ed. and trans.
D.A. #amilton (,ew >ork _2A8?3:2)
7. =on 0en>E )ie grossen Pianoforte/*irtuosen unserer Zeit aus persAnlicher
4ekanntschaft: Lis1t, Chopin, 9ausig, 8enselt (5erlin 2A?4; )ng. trans. 2ABB/7)
!. 5armonte'E Lart classiBue et moderne du piano ((aris 2A?;)
!. (ayE Music/Stud3 in "erman3 ed. -. 6ay (ierce (9hicago 2AAC/7)
(. :u''a;E #esthetics of Piano/Forte Pla3ing (,ew >ork 2AB8)
&. PauerE # )ictionar3 of Pianists and Composers for the Pianoforte (1ondon 2AB=)
6.&. Ha''D and 5. Ha''D" eds.E Life and Letters of Sir Charles 8all, (1ondon 2AB;/7)
5. <aI''E Le m,canisme du toucher ((aris 2AB?)
6. 7eit>manE # 8istor3 of Pianoforte/Pla3ing and Pianoforte Literature (,ew >ork
(. :u''a;E 4eethoens Piano/Pla3ing (,ew >ork 2BC2)
5. /rDeE )ie "rundlage der Methode Lescheti1k3 (-ain' 2BC4 :/2B2:; )ng. trans.
). 5atthayE 9he #ct of 9ouch (1ondon 2BC8)
5. PrentnerE 9he Lescheti1k3 Method (1ondon 2BC8) N)ng. and <er.O; also pubd as
9he Modern Pianist ((hiladelphia 2BC8)
1.5. /reithauptE )ie nat(rliche Klaiertechnik (1eip'ig 2BC=3; enlarged 8/2B24344)
<. HofmannE Piano Pla3ing (,ew >ork 2BCA/7)
<. HofmannE Piano 'uestions #ns+ered (,ew >ork 2BCB/7)
&. -e8com9E Lescheti1k3 as @ Kne+ him (,ew >ork 2B42/7)
<. 0he=inneE 4asic Principles in Pianoforte Pla3ing ((hiladelphia 2B4:/72B?4 with
preface by .. 1hevinne)
!. 6ortotE Principes rationnels de la techniBue pianistiBue ((aris 2B4A; )ng. trans.
O. OrtmannE 9he Ph3siological Mechanics of Piano 9echniBue (1ondon and ,ew >ork
7. iese;ing and :. 0eimerE Modernes Klaierspiel nach Leimer/"ieseking (-ain'
2B8C 8/2B8A with suppl.; )ng. trans. 2B84/7 as 9he Shortest 2a3 to Pianistic
Perfection 72B?4 with suppl. as Piano 9echniBue pts.i and ii)
&. /od;yE )er *ortrag alter Klaiermusik (5erlin 2B84)
). 5atthayE 9he *isible and @nisible in Pianoforte 9echniBue (1ondon 2B84 4/2B:?/7)
!. 6ortotE Cours dinterpr,tation ((aris 2B8?)
&.<. Hip;insE 8o+ Chopin Pla3ed (1ondon 2B8?)
4. (ergusonE Piano @nterpretation: Studies in the Music of Si< "reat Composers (,ew
>ork 2B:?)
!. 6o=ie''oE 2hat Mattha3 Meant (1ondon 2B:A)
!. (o'desE Ke3s to the Ke3board (,ew >ork 2B:A)
0. /onpensiereE $e+ Path+a3s to Piano 9echniBue (,ew >ork 2B=8)
<. GtE # 1ongora-Rt,k technikR-a (5udapest 2B=:; )ng. trans. 2B=A 4/2B;= as 9he
9echniBue of Piano Pla3ing)
&. /aduraB,;oda and P. /aduraB,;odaE Mo1art/@nterpretation (@ienna and %tuttgart
2B=?; )ng. trans. 2B;4 as @nterpreting Mo1art on the Ke3board)
.. -eigau> [H. -euhaus]E &b iskusste fortepianno3 igrS (-oscow 2B=A 8/2B;?;
)ng. trans. 2B?8 as 9he #rt of Piano Pla3ing)
5. HarrisonE G5oogie +oogieF 6a11 ed. ,. #entoff and A. -c9arthy (,ew >ork
2B=B/7) 2C=38=
P. /aduraB,;oda" ed.E Carl C1ern3: Pber den richtigen *ortrag der s%mtlichen
4eethoenschen Klaier+erke (@ienna 2B;8) Nannotated reprints from 9'ernyFs
;rinnerungen an 4eethoen and *ollst%ndigen theoretisch/practischen Pianoforte/
Schule op.=CCO
H.6. ,chon9ergE 9he "reat Pianists (,ew >ork 2B;8 4/2BA?)
<.(. 5eheganE Contemporar3 St3les for the 6a11 Pianist (,ew >ork 2B;:3?C)
<. :aiserE "rosse Pianisten in unserer Zeit (-unich 2B;= 4/2B?4; )ng. trans. 2B?2)
H. rundmann and P. 5iesE Studien 1um Klaierspiel 4eethoens und seiner
Zeitgenossen (5onn 2B?C)
4. /arnettE 9he Performance of Music: a Stud3 in 9erms of the Pianoforte (1ondon
:. 7o'ffE 9he 9eaching of #rtur Schnabel (1ondon 2B?4 4/2B?B as Schnabels
@nterpretation of Piano Music)
1.1. erigE Famous Pianists and their 9echniBue (+ashington *9 2B?:)
0. :entnerE Piano (1ondon 2B?;)
<.5. 7i'dmenE GThe 6unction of the 1eft #and in the )volution of the Da'' (ianoF
6ournal of 6a11 Studies v/4 (2B?B) 4838B
@. 5o'senE )ie "eschichte des Klaierspiels in historischen Zitaten (5alingen 2BA4)
7. )ay'orE 6a11 Piano (*ubuque "A 2BA4)
5. 7eissE 6a11 St3les and #nal3sis: Piano (9hicago c2BA4)
<. 0astE @nterpretation in Piano Stud3 (0&ford 2BA8)
0. 0yonsE 9he "reat 6a11 Pianists (,ew >ork 2BA8)
H. -euhausE 9he #rt of Piano Pla3ing (1ondon 2BA8)
*. *ita'eE @l pianoforte a $apoli nell ottocento (,aples 2BA8)
P. /aduraB,;odaE G(laying the )arly (ianoF ;Mc &ii (2BA:) :??3AC
1.!. (u''erE GAndreas %treicherFs ,otes on the 6ortepianoF ;Mc &ii (2BA:) :;23?C
P. 0oyonnetE Les gestes et la pens,e du pianiste (-ontreal 2BA=)
0. -icho'son" 6. :ite and 5. )anE G(laying the )arly (ianoF ;Mc &iii (2BA=) =43A
<. &;ierE GDak gral 9hopin_F 7oc1nik chopino+ski && (2BAA) 2834=; )ng. trans. as
G6rederick 9hopinE #ow did he (lay_F Chopin Studies iv (2BB:) B342
P. 1atta'inoE Le grandi scuole pianistiche (-ilan 2BB4)
5. ,choenmeh'E Modern/6a11/Piano: die musikalischen "rundlagen in 9heorie und
Pra<is (-ain' 2BB4)
6. )im9re''E French Pianism (+hite (lains ,> and 1ondon 2BB4 4/2BBB)
4.&. 1o8'andE # 8istor3 of Pianoforte Pedalling (9ambridge 2BB8)