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Transcript of Piano
Museo Nazionale degli Strumenti Musicali die Roma
Author: LPLT 18th Century Portugal and Spain The pianoforte prospered in Portugal under the wealthy King João V. King João built an opera house and attracted many Italian musicians who spread the word of the pianoforte. João V bought several pianofortes from Cristofori and many were built later in Spain and Portugal. João Francisco António de Bragança, 1689-1750
King João V, 1706-1750 Carlos III of Spain, 1716-1788 The 1755 earthquake destroyed many of the Iberian instruments. King Carlos III of Spain disliked music which did not prosper under his reign. Only few instruments of that time survived. Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1731) invented the first pianoforte at the court of Ferdinando de Medici, Grand Prince of Tuscani. 18th Germany Gottfried Silbermann (1683-1753) build organs and pantaleons (a large dulcimer) before he started building pianofortes following the plans of Cristofori. In 1736 Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) played Silbermann's piano and critizided its treble. Johann Sebastian Bach was not happy when he played Silbermann’s piano in 1736. King Frederick the Great was a proponent of the piano. He owned 15 instruments and invited Bach to play on all of them in 1747. By that time, Silbermann had improved his action, much to Bach’s satisfaction. Frederick the Great, King of Prussia
1712-1786 1747, Bach plays for
King Frederick the Great Seven-Year War 1756-1763 The Seven-Year War started in 1756 causing twelf good piano makers from Saxony (they were later called "the twelf appostels") to flee to England. One of them, Christoph Zumpe, started the great English tradition of piano making. Today, historians generally credit Alpheus Babcock as the inventor of the cast-iron piano frames. He successfully designed his frame to support string tension. His frame proved to be superior regarding maintaining tonality and regarding longevity. Alpheus Babcock, 1785-1842 Important improvements in the 19th century Babcock's cast-iron frame Babcock submitted a patent for his cast-iron frame on December 17, 1825. Other people have built iron frames before him. There were several patents on iron frames going back to the year 1800.
Babcock and Thomas Loud, another piano maker in Massachusetts openly disputed over the rights to build pianos with iron frames. Babcock claimed in an advertisement in the Daily Chronicle, V, on July 26, 1833 that Loud infringed his patent rights on the cast iron frame. Loud – though denying any advantage of the iron frame – claimed that Babcock did not have any rights at all because the iron frame was built by others prior to his patent. Loud als referred to earlier patents in England and France . Steinway's overstringing of the grand piano In 1825, Alpheus Babcock patented the cast-iron metal frame with hitch-pin plate in a single casting. The iron frame was insensitive to moisture and provided more strength. Pianos with iron frame stayed better in tune had a richer tone. In 1859, Henry Steinway patented the overstrung iron frame for the grand piano. Overstringing increased the length of the bass strings, further improving the sonority of the sound. 2 excerpts and a picture of Steinway's patent US26,532, filed on December 20, 1859 Steinway's duplex scale In 1872 Steinway invented the duplex scale by enabling the freely oscillating parts of the string on both sides of the bridge resound. The outcome is a large range and fullness of overtones – one of the characteristics of the "Steinway sound." The action Square piano with iron frame made by A. Babcock around 1806
Source: Glendale, CA
Author: Valerie Campbell http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinando_de%27_Medici,_Grand_Prince_of_Tuscany
Uffizi Gallery Bach playing for Frederick the Great by Carl Röhling; http://www.finart-china.com King João V of Portugal
Source: Palácio Nacional da Ajuda, Lisboa, Portugal.
National Palace of Ajuda, Lisbon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Johann_Sebastian_Bach.jpg
Source: en:Image:Bach-hausman.jpg from http://www.jsbach.net/bass/elements/bach-hausmann.jpg
Author: Elias Gottlob Haussmann J. S. Bach impacted the development of the Silbermann piano. When playing the piano in 1736, he was happy with the tone but he criticized the weak nature of the top treble. He complained about difficulties with playing the action. Silbermann remediated these issues and improved his piano.
In 1747, the German King Frederick the Great invited Bach to play on his 15 pianos. JS Bach played on all and at his last performance, he even improvised a fugue. Evidently, Bach was very well accustomed to the piano. His youngest son Johann Christian further helped the progress of the new instrument. Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Haydn_portrait_by_Thomas_Hardy_(small).jpg
Author: Thomas Hardy Haydn studied music in the 1750s in Vienna. He was Kapellmeister to Prince Esterhazy in the 1770s, when he played a Schantz square piano. Unlike many English pianos, the Schantz square piano had not a popular Prellmechanik. The Schantz piano had small brass springs which brought the keys back to rest position. This action had a much lighter touch than the Prellmechanik. Haydn preferred the light Schantz mechanic “on which everything is better expressed”. Later, the lighter actions, which were often produced in Southern Germany, were called "viennese action". Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) Beethoven played with large dynamics such that strings often broke during his concerts. He wanted the pianoforte to sound like an orchestra. Until 1800, he owned a pianoforte made by Anton Walter, which had a “full, bell-like tone, a clear response, and a strong full bass.”
Beethoven wanted to have a pianoforte with a “una-corda” pedal (to soften the tone). Walter didn’t want to build a una-corda. Therefore, Beethoven took a donation from Erard of a most advanced French pianoforte with four pedals, one of which was a una-corda. It was triple strung with four iron arches across the gap. The touch was heavy and though Beethoven asked Stein’s daughter Nanette and her husband Johann Streicher to modify the touch, improvements were never satisfactory.
In 1818, the English instrument maker Broadwood presented a fully triple strung grand piano with a wood frame. Beethoven was increasingly death and must have had difficulty judging the tone of the instrument. The Viennese audience was loyal to their local piano makers and preferred the clear tone of Graf over the muffled tone of Broadwood.
Andreas Stumpff, a reputed instrument maker, inspected Beethoven’s pianoforte in 1824 and found it damaged through years of abuse and heavy playing. In 1825, Conrad Graf loaned a pianoforte to Beethoven, who by now was almost completely deaf. To the end of his life, Beethoven complained about the pianoforte as being an “inadequate instrument”. Portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler
source: http://www.fraunhofer.de/archiv/presseinfos/pflege.zv.fhg.de/german/press/pi/pi2002/08/md_fo6a.html Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
In 1824, the piano house Erard took the 13 year old Hungarian Franz Liszt under contract. Erard donated to the young Liszt a patent grand piano featuring a double repetition action and a full seven-octave compass. Liszt took his first concert tour to England. As a result, Erard took on the “title” of the “most sought-after concert piano”, previously held by Broadwood.
In spite of the contract with Erard, Liszt often played on pianos made by local makers. In 1850, he wrote to Erard that it was his duty “not to hinder the soaring of local and national industries.” He played pianos by Graf and Streicher in Vienna, by Broadwood in England, by Boisselot in Spain, Portugal, and the South of France.
Liszt played very energetically. Often, strings, keys, and action parts failed during a performance. The audience even expected that Liszt would advance to a spare piano during a concert.
Liszt rapidly gained grate reputation and was considered the “Paganini of the keyboard” by 1841. The stronger framing of newer pianos helped to withstand Liszt’s “attacks”. Liszt admired the lingering tone of Bösendorfer pianos. By 1850, he owned pianos by Bösendorfer, Bechstein, Boisselot, Streicher, and Beethoven’s Broadwood.
In his later years in his apartment in Rome, Liszt had a Steinway piano and a piano donated by Chickering. Robert Schumann (1810-1856) and Clara Schumann (1818-1896) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Clara_Schumann_(Andreas_Staub)_freigestellt.png
Author: Andreas Staub When Clara was eight years old, her father, Frierich Wieck (1785-1873), a piano tutor and instrument retailer, bought her a piano by Stein with a light action. Wieck preferred the heavier English pianos but thought that because of her young age, Clara would do better on a lighter piano. Throughout her life, Clara preferred pianos with a light action. She used to play fast and soft.
Robert Schumann advocated the upright piano (against the opinion of Clara). He also bought a pedal piano with 29 pedal strings to practice for the organ and wrote many pieces for the pedal piano. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Robert_Schumann_1839.jpg
Source: Lithographie by Joseph Kriehuber
Author: Joseph Kriehuber http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography
Source: United States Federal Government Maple from Canada provides wood for
- action parts
-pin block Maple Sitka Spruce from Alaska is used for the sounding board. Sitka Spruce is one of the most perfect woods with respect to the absences of knotholes. Furthermore, Sitka Spruce has an exceptionally high strenth to weight ratio. Pianomakers use only highest quality wood to achieve an even tone. Sitka Spruce Sitka Spruce
Author: W. Sigmund Sitka Spruce
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Picea_sitchensis1.jpg Bibliography Maple from Canada provides wood for
- action parts
-pin block Birch from New England provides wood for the hammers. Brich Birch
Author: Willow Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra) provided material for parts of the action. Dalbergia nigra is a very hard and heavy wood. It grows only in the eastern forests of Brazil between Bahia and Rio de Janeiro. Due to its very endangered status, it was placed on the CITES-list Appendix I (most protected) on November 6, 1992. Since then, trade of Dalbergia nigra is illegal. Rosewood surface
Photograph: Philipp Zinger Rosewood Atlantic forest of Brazil
Author: Uniemelk Sugar Pine (Pinus lambertiana) from the mountains of California provides wood for the keys. Sugar Pine Sugar Pine
Released to the public domain by the photographer Web Pages Mahogany Tree
Author: Vinayaraj Mahogany wood
Author: Philipp Zinger Mahogany Mahogany trees from central and South American countries including Belize, Honduras, and Brazil provides wood for the outer finish (veneer). Action (piano). Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Last modified November 26, 2011, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_(piano).
Alpheus Babcock. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Last modified November 26, 2011, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpheus_Babcock.
Atlantic Forest. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Last modified April 17, 2012, http:/en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_Forest.
Bartolomeo Cristofori. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Last modified April 13, 2011, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartolomeo_Cristofori.
Birch. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Last modified April 23, 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birch.
Charles III of Spain. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Last modified April 18, 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_III_of_Spain.
Dalbergia nigra. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Last modified March 24, 2011, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalbergia_nigra.
Franz Liszt. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Last modified April 26, 2011, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Liszt.
History of Books. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Last modified April 19, 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_book.
Johann Sebastian Bach. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Last modified April 17, 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Sebastian_Bach.
John V of Portugal. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Last modified April 25, 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_V_of_Portugal. Books Columnbus notes to Marco Polo
Source: "Le Livre des Merveilles", latin edition, Sevilla, Bibliotheca Colombina, in "Marco Polo, Le livre des Merveilles".
Author: Marco Polo with handwritten notes and sketches by Christopher Columbus Blocksma, Mary. The Marvelous Music Machine: A Story of the Piano. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc., 1984.
Matthay, Tobias. Pianoforte Tone-Production. Brooklyn, NY: Longmans Green and Co., 1903.
Naragon, Kristine K. The Jankó Keyboard. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia Univeristy, 1977.
Olson, Harris F. Music, Physics, and Engineering. New York: Dover Publications Inc., 1967.
Williams, John-Paul. The Piano: An Inspirational Guide to the Piano and its Place in History. New York: Billboards Books, 2002. Journal Articles Grafing, Keith G. “Alpheus Babckock’s Cast-Iron Piano Frames” The Galpin Society Journal 27 (May 1974): 118-24.
Kornblith, Gary J. The Craftsman as Industrialist: Jonas Chickering and the Transformation of American Piano Making” The Business History Review 59, no. 3 (Autumn 1985): 349-68. Cover of Philosophical Transactions Vol. 1, 1665
Author: Royal Society Franz Liszt
Source: musée d'Orsay, Paris, France
Author: Pierre Petit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BartolomeoCristofori.jpg King Charles III of Spain
Source: Museo del Prado Economy Staff and musical notation Musical staff, notation etc.: The staff, notation of tones in form of notes with defined length and pitch transcribe music onto a written record. Musicians can read the music and reproduce it acoustically. Musical notation with staff and notes enable a permanent record of music A 440 The size and other constructive details of an instrument define its pitch and key-scale. Instruments with different key-scales cannot easily be played together without transposing the music. Defining 440 Hz as the frequency of the middle A enables the effective play of many instruments in a large orchestra.
The 440 Hz standard was established at the International Tuning Pitch Conference in London n 1939. Before that conference, local and temporal standards for the middle A varied from the Baroque French pitch 392 Hz (which is the modern G) to 466 Hz (modern A#). There exist many different scales. The most popular scales have in common the “octave”, which defines that for a given tone there is a tone with exactly double frequency. A scale further defines at what frequency ratios tones are set within an octave. When two instruments which are not built to the same scale are played together, they produce irritating sound. Scales http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Diatonic_scale_on_C.png
Author:Hyacinth at en.wikipedia Steinway Grand Piano at Leipzig
Source: Steinway à Leipzig
Author: Mypouss from Rennes, France Where is the beginning of the history of anything, e.g. the piano? Is it when people started playing string instruments such as the harp more than 2500 years ago? Is it when keyboards where invented? For us here, early history means the turn of the 18th century, when Bartolomeo Cristofori build his first "piano e forte". AAfter overcoming technological hurdles in the 18th and 19th centuries, the piano became affordable for the middle class household established itself as a social standard for more than hundred years but lost its dominating role because a variety of more popular options became available to the youth in the late 20th century. Technology and Patents Bartolomeo Cristofori invented the striking action and with it the first piano in 1709. The main technological improvements including the cast-iron frame, over-stringing, and the duplex scale happened during the 19th century. Peter Müllner Important Musicians History produced many famous pianists. For many, the piano shaped their careers. A few, however, shaped the the piano. Unlike for string and wind instruments where the musician takes care of tuning and most of the maintenance, a professional technician tunes the piano. Maintenance Mike of Piano N Things (pianosnthings.com) tunes a Baldwin piano. Steel wire, cast-iron frame, and steel hitch pins are the technologies which improved tonal stability. The musician can improve tuning stability by placing the instrument at an interior wall (upright piano) and by keeping temperature and humidity constant. Spring and fall, i.e. between the extreme seasons, are the best times for tuning. A wrench and a tuning instrument are the only devices required for tuning. Each note in the treble range has three strings, those in the tenor and bass ranges have two and one strings. When two strings vibrate at almost the same but not exactly the same frequency, a beat distorts the tone. A beat also occurs with the harmonics.
Mike can tune the piano without electronic device by listening to and removing the beat. This is the traditionally way of tuning. Some musicians prefer "ear-tuning" which can be more accurate than tuning with an electronic device. However, as (i) the popularity of the piano declines and (ii) digital technology advances, traditional tuners capable of tuning by ear are getting harder to come by. Each piano has a serial (identity) number, which is marked on the cast frame. Standards affect and effect the piano and music in general in many ways. Without (explicit or implicit) standards, music would not be possible. Standards address technical, social, and economical aspects. Standards The piano industry was a major economical force in mid 19th century Boston. The piano industry was thriving in the 1920s, almost collapsed during the Great Depression and World War II, recovered quickly in the 1950s, and struggles since the 1980s. Economy The piano interacts with the environment through its industrial process, transport, disposal, and through its raw material: wood. Environment 1) Key
4) Regulating screw
6) Hammer flange screw
7) Drop screw
8) Hammer shank
9) Repetition lever
11) Back check
12) Damper lever
13) Damper tray
19) Tuning pin
20) Pin block http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fortepian_-_mechanizm_angielski.svg
Source: User Bechstein
Author: Olek Remesz A social standard evolved in Boston during the 19th century. The upper class considered a musical education, particulary playing the piano, a must for their daughters. This social standard provided a market for the piano, which has been industrialized by Jonas Chickering in Boston by the same time. Mid 19th Century Boston Industrial Revolution In the 18th century, Europe took the lead in establishing the piano as musical instrument. In the 19th century in Boston, Jonas Chickering transformed the piano business and created the piano industry. In 1830, Chickering found a financial partner in John Mackay, a former sea captain and later with Alpheus Babcock until 1829. Within the 1830s, Chickering & Company became the preeminent piano manufacturer of the United States. In 1837, Chickering hired Babcock and incorprated the cast-iron frame. The new pianos were more durable and more sonorous. Chickering modified the iron frame which became the standard for most of Chickering’s pianos. Jonas Chickering, 1798-1853 Chickering started out as a craftsman and transitioned to the first industrialist in piano making. He actually began his professional career as cabinet maker. His first encounter with pianos was the repair of a piano by trial and error. He enjoyed singing and playing the clarinet. Upon moving to Boston, he joined the Handel and Haydn Society. In 1819, he started working for the piano maker John Osborn.
Osborn’s company was known for the high quality of its products. Chickering learnd piano making from a true master. The division of labor in the Osborn shop was not rigorous.
Osborn took James Steward, who was a superior craftsman as Osborn himself. In 1822, Steward was awarded a patent for a “detached sounding board”, which further improved the quality of the tone. Steward and Osborn were both short tempered and split in 1823. Osborn kept his shop. On February 15, 1823, Steward approached Chickering to become his partner of a new operation and three months later, Steward & Chickering sold their first square piano for $275.
Local demand was on the rise. Boston’s upper class became richer and pianos became a status symbol. It was good etiquette to own a piano and soon it was part of girls’ education. These class dynamics and the lack of supply provided favorable conditions to launch an enterprise. Chickering started out as a craftsman (as cabinet maker) and transitioned to the first industrialist in piano making. Chickering introduced four production innovations to the piano industry: Chickering industrializes pianomking Jonas Chickering
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jonas_Chickering.jpg Chickering developed specialization to a high degree. The production of hammers encompassed four stations: (i) wood work, (ii) hinges/joints, (iii) leathers, (iv) fitting to instrument. He actually had rigorously applied Adam Smith’s maxim regarding divison of labor as outlined in “Wealth of Nations” (1776). As a result of the specialization, Chickering’s products displayed a high degree of uniformity and perfection. Thus, Chickering’s products were of high qulity. Furthermore, Chickering introduced a quality control system by assigning a skilled journeyman with inspection and performing a personal inspection with each instrument. Specialization furthermore prevented employees from developing a full skill set which would have enabled them to become masters in their own right. Chickering paid his employees well. Employees also enjoyed Chickering’s style of leadership. He often was dressed in an craftsman’s apron, designed instruments, or presented pianos to customers. Thus, they used to stay long with the company, further improving uniformity and perfection. Chickering exercised ultimate command over his firm.
Chickering’s success brought him fame and fortune. Around 1850, his assets were estimated at about $300,000, which put him among the 200 wealthiest citizens of Boston. Chickering was always ambitious to make the best pianos. His success came through rigorously defending high standards, introducing new technology, introducing division of labor. As a result his instruments were of superior quality and highly marketable. Mackay died at sea in 1841. He willed his share to his son William. Chickering sought to control the company by himself and bought William out at a very high price in the several hundred thousand dollars. Even thought the firm’s output dropped in 1842, the high price at the end paid off well for Chickering.
Chickering further advanced the company at all fronts: artistic, industrial, and commercial. In 1843, he patented a cast-frame with bars, which earned him a “golden medal”. His pianos were rated “in competition with the best that Europe can produce”. At the Crystal Palace Exhibition in London in 1851, he won a Prize Medal for his square piano.
Chickering’s company was an economical success. In 1850, he invested about $100,000, spent $36,000 in materials, paid salaries for $9,000, and sold 1,000 pianos for about $200,000, making a net profit of more than $50,000.
Chickering constantly stored wood worth between $50,000 and 75,000. All wood dried for 6 years: 2 years outside, 2 years indoors, then another 2 years after being cut. He divided labor according to tasks and had different tasks being done at different places: wood in Laurence, MA; cases at Franklin Square in Boston, MA; keys at Lancaster, MA; assembly at Washington Street in Boston. The frames were cast at the Cyrus Alger Foundry in South Boston.
Steward & Chickering made good and increasing profit in the first three years. In 1826, they had a dispute over Stewards use of corporate funds for private purpose. Steward left for London and Chickering was sole owner, at age 28. Production grew further and in 1829, Chickering moved to larger quarters. He was seeking more capital but the banks were very conservative towards artisans. In 1830, he found a financial partner in John Mackay, a former sea captain. Mackay had been a partner with Alpheus Babcock until 1829. The new name of the firm was then Chickering & Company. Within the 1830s, Chickering & Company became the preeminent piano manufacturer of the United States. Chickering and Mackay had split responsibilities from the beginning. Chickering oversaw production, design development, and technology. Mackay oversaw business, selling, marketing.
In 1837, Babcock was hired to the company and Chickering incorprated the cast-iron frame. The new pianos were more durable, more sonorous, and the strings were strung at higher tension. The iron frame was insensitive to moisture. Thus, pianos with iron frames stayed better in tune. Chickering modified the iron and got another patent. This frame was built into most of Chickering’s pianos.
Mackay transformed the way of piano selling. He enlisted business agents in many cities and developed a business network reaching to New Orleans. The company took advantage of the developing transportation revolution and delivered nationwide. They built a new manufactory between 1837-1838 which was designed to accommodate about 100 workmen. In 1839, the Chickering & Company produced 582 pianos. In 1840, the company was contributed about 3.5% of the value added to the city of Boston by the manufacturing trade. Among the piano makers of Boston, they had a market share of 40%. Chickering was generous towards (i) the Handel and Haydn Society, (ii) the church, (iii) young musicians, and (iv) education. His generosity displayed in giving financially and giving his time as volunteer. He was a strong beneficiary and benefactor of the musical arts.
On December 1st, 1852, a fire destroyed much of his company, with a loss of about $200,000, which was covered only at 1/3 by insurance. Three days after the fire, Chickering reopened the business and went back into production. Chickering used the fire to further rationalize piano making. He did not rebuild the old factory but made plans for a new and again revolutionizing factory concept. R. G. Parker described the plans as follows: “The raw materials will enter at one door, and passing successively through every department, will pass out of another door at the other extremity of the building in a state of perfect completion… We may almost say the forests will enter at one door, and come out finished piano-fortes at the other.”
Chickering past away on December 8, 1853, before the plant went into operation. “Motivated not only by the drive for monetary gain but also by the dream of technical perfection, he turned his shop into a factory and his craft into an industry.” Chickering's four main
business innovations Chickering's story Many manufacturers have improved the piano and keep modifying its components. However, the main piano technology remains the same since the beginning of the 20th century. The Skyscraper and the Upright Piano What has architecture to do with the piano? Architecture http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pianodroit.jpg Square piano with iron frame made by A. Babcock around 1806
Source: Glendale, CA
Author: Valerie Campbell Johann Christoph Zumpe invented the square piano in 1750 in England. The square piano was smaller and less expensive than the wing-shaped piano, which is now called grand piano. Zumpe's square piano opened the doors for the piano to many households. No pianos were produced in England until the 1750s. There actually existed only one piano in England made by an English monk in Italy. When the Seven Year War started in 1756, piano production stopped in Saxony. Twelve good instrument makers (called “the Twelve Apostles”) fled to England where they built harpsichords. One of them, Johann Christoph Zumpe then started the great English tradition of piano making.
Zumpe invented the smaller rectangular “square piano” (opposed to the larger wing-shaped piano of Silbermann etc.). Zumpe was motivated by the German musical tradition. In Germany, music revolved around church and school unlike in the other countries, where the court played the major role. Zumpe develop a new and unique action inspired directly by the dulcimer. Johann Christian Bach boosted the reputation of the square piano by playing it in 1768 at a concert in England. Square pianos were much cheaper than harpsichords and the design of the square piano matched the English taste for furniture. English instrument makers turned out a high quantity of instruments, which couldn’t be matched in price and quantity by harpsichords.
Zumpe’s former apprentice John Broadwood and his Swiss partner Burkat Shudi improved the design of Zumpe in 1783. In 1786, John Geib patented a mechanics derived from Cristofori’s action. The square piano became very popular in England by the early 19th century. At that time, Broadwood produced 1,300 pianos per year. This significant improvement made Geib’s instrument more expressive. All English instruments made until the 1860s contained Broadwood and Shudi’s and Geib’s modifications. In 1825 in America, Alpheus Babcock patented the full iron frame for the square piano. The iron frame supported the stress of the strings of a seven-octave compass.
By the mid 19th century, the cottage upright started replacing the square piano in Europe. In 1855, in America, Steinway & Sons started their business with producing a square piano, which they displayed at the Crystal Palace in New York at the World Fair. However, even in America the demand for square pianos declined by the late 19th century. In 1903, American piano manufacturers lit a 50-foot square-piano-barn-fire to draw attention to the crisis of their industry. The story of the square piano Square Piano http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chickering_334WashingtonSt_Boston_1838_1852.png Sky scraper The skyscraper, first invented in Chicago in the late 19th century and then developed in the early 20th century in New York, transformed not only cityscapes. Housing became smaller, space precious. The square piano no longer fit into the household of the middle class family. Instrument makers undertook several attempts for upright pianos in the 18th century. They explored different shapes such as the giraffe grant piano and the lyre grand piano. The upright grand piano had several advantages. The soundboard faced the musician and not the ceiling. The wrest plate, which was the Achilles heal of the grand piano, was not necessary. A significant disadvantage was the great height. Some upright grand pianos reached over 8 feet.
With the grand piano available for concerts and the square piano filling the need for domestic instruments, there was little incentive to develop an upright grant and with its great height as barrier, development was slow. In 1800, Matthias Müller in Vienna and John Isaac Hawkins in Philadelphia produced the first upright pianos with strings extending to the floor, thus reducing the height. Hawkin’s 4½ foot piano had an iron frame and a check action in front of the string.
In 1811, Robert Wornum produced with great success the “cottage piano” with an action similar to that of Hawkins. In 1826, he improved the action by adding a tape-check to prevent the hammer from bouncing back to the string after hitting striking once. Wornum’s tape-check action soon became the standard for upright pianos. The French maker Pleyel was most successful in introducing the upright piano because Paris architects had introduced small apartment houses. Grand pianos and square pianos did not fit into the small rooms. Pleyel employed the patents of 1828 of Jean-Henri Page, which introduced cross-stringing in upright pianos. The architectural fashion spread to German and English cities, and opened the demand for upright pianos at those places, too. By the 1830s, the domestic European market for pianos had transitioned to the upright.
Only by 1860, American instrument makers started producing uprights. Steinway & Sons took the lead. When city living increased [after the civil war], other makers joined in. Besides using less space, the upright piano could be produced at lower cost than the square piano. By the turn of the 20th century, the upright had replaced the square piano. The story of the upright piano The upright was smaller and cheaper than the square. According to Dr. Andy Goodman, Associate Professor for Music Education and Associate Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Boise State University, two thirds of all high school students enrolled in choir had take piano lessons in 1983. About a fourth of all choir students were able to play all pieces which they perfored. By 1999, only two out of fifty students had taken piano lessons and none was able to play all the pieces.
Dr. Goodman attributes this change to the growing competition of other programs such as band programs and other popular extracurricular activities. Late 20th Century America Technical Standards Social Standards Why was the action triggering the development of a new instrument?
The piano action makes use of a hammer, which hits the string. When the piano key is actuated more forcefully, the hammer moves faster and hits the string harder. The harder the hammer hits the string, the stronger the vibration (larger amplitude), and the tone is louder. Thus, the piano action permits to play soft (silent, piano) and loud (forte). The option of dynamics (loudness variation) was the main motivation to develop the piano action. The older harpsichord (cembalo) had a different action which plucked the string at constant force, independently on how hard the key was actuated. Thus, the harpsichord had no dynamics.
Bartolomeo Christofori invented the striking action which provided dynamics to the stringed keyboard instrument. This improvement triggered the development of the piano.
Further significant technological improvements include the cast-iron frame (providing strength and stability), overstringing and the duplex scale (both providing a richer tone).
Several composers and musicians of the 18th century such as Johann Sebastian Bach and Joseph Haydn affected the development of the piano through their preference of certain tonal and mechanical qualities.
Jonas Chickering transformed piano making and created the piano industry in the mid 19th century in Boston. He benefited from increasing demand which resulted from the raise of the piano to a status symbol in the upper class.
The transition from rural to urban living coming along with the advent of the skyscraper in the late 19th century reduced the size of housing and lead to the development of the upright piano. The upright was smaller and cheaper, and was affordable for the middle class household.
For about hundred years, the piano was highly popular. Mass production, particularly in Japan and South Korea reduced the price further. Many music programs at public schools in America heavily relied on the piano.
During the last quarter of the 20th century, other musical and non-mucial programs grew and fewer students learned to play the piano. The reduced demand and the availability of cheap pianos severely impacted the traditional manufacturers of high quality instruments. Many European and American piano makers had to close doors or merged with competitors. Summary
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Steinway & Sons. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Last modified May 3, 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steinway_%26_Sons. (i) expansion of the work force
(ii) highly specialized tasks
(iii) new materials and technologies
(iv) standardization of parts and products