Cristofori, Bartolomeo


Cristofori, Bartolomeo
born May 4, 1655, Padua, Republic of Venice
died Jan. 27, 1731, Florence

Italian maker of musical instruments.

As custodian of musical instruments at the court of Prince Ferdinand de' Medici, he maintained a variety of instruments. His most famous experiment was the pianoforte, ancestor of the modern piano, which he worked on from 1698, an instrument that, unlike the harpsichord, could produce changes in volume of sound depending on the force with which the keys were struck. A diagram of its workings was published in 1711 and soon copied by others. Some of his original pianofortes survive.

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▪ Italian harpsichord maker
born May 4, 1655, Padua, Republic of Venice
died January 27, 1731, Florence

      Italian harpsichord maker generally credited with the invention of the piano, called in his time gravicembalo col piano e forte, or “harpsichord that plays soft and loud.” The name refers to the piano's ability to change loudness according to the amount of pressure on the keys, a quality foreign to the harpsichord. Cristofori achieved this effect by replacing the plucking mechanism of the harpsichord with a hammer action capable of striking the strings with greater or lesser force.

      Little is known of Cristofori's life, and his invention was not well known in his lifetime. He moved from Padua to Florence around 1690 at the request of Prince Ferdinando de'Medici, an accomplished harpsichordist, a move suggesting that Cristofori had already established a reputation as a skilled instrument builder. (A three-keyboard harpsichord dated 1702, sometimes attributed to Cristofori and bearing the arms of Ferdinando, is preserved at the Stearns Collection at the University of Michigan.) Cristofori apparently invented the piano around 1709, and, according to contemporary sources, four of his pianos existed in 1711. In 1713 Ferdinando died, and Cristofori remained in the service of the Grand Duke, Cosimo III, later (1716) becoming responsible for the care of an instrument collection assembled by Ferdinando; of 84 instruments, 7 were harpsichords or spinets of Cristofori's manufacture.

      Cristofori improved his piano to the point where, by 1726, he had arrived at all essentials of the modern piano action. His frames, being made of wood in the manner of a harpsichord, were not capable of withstanding the string tension that allowed later pianos their more powerful tone. Nevertheless, to judge by surviving examples (e.g., in Leipzig and New York City), his pianos were responsive and had a wide, dynamic range.

      Cristofori's design was largely ignored in Italy, but it soon became known and adopted in Germany through articles in dictionaries of music.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Bartolomeo — Bartolomeo, fra * * * (as used in expressions) Bartolomeo, Fra Cristofori, Bartolomeo Bartolomeo Prignano …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Cristofori — Cristofori,   Bartolomeo, italienischer Klavierbauer, * Padua 4. 5. 1655, ✝ Florenz 27. 1. 1732; war ab 1698 am Hof der Medici in Florenz tätig, wurde 1716 zum Konservator der Instrumentensammlung von Ferdinando de Medici (* 1663, ✝ 1713)… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Bartolomeo Cristofori — Photo of a 1726 portrait of Bartolomeo Cristofori. The original was lost in the Second World War. Bartolomeo Cristofori di Francesco (May 4, 1655 – January 27, 1731) was an Italian maker of musical instruments, generally regarded as the inventor… …   Wikipedia

  • Bartolomeo Cristofori — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Cristofori. Bartolomeo Cristofori Bartolomeo Cristofori (4 mai 1655 à Pado …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bartolomeo — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Sommaire 1 Prénoms 2 Patronymes 3 Top …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bartolomeo — (as used in expressions) Bartolomeo Fra Cristofori Bartolomeo Bartolomeo Prignano * * * …   Universalium

  • Bartolomeo Cristofori — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Bartolomeo Cristofori di Francesco. Bartolomeo Cristofori di Francesco (Padua, 4 de mayo de 1655 27 de enero de 1731) fue un constructor de instrumentos musicales italiano, reconocido generalmente por haber sido el… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Bartolomeo Cristofori — (* 4. Mai 1655 in Padua; † 27. Januar 1731 in Florenz) war ein italienischer Musikinstrumentenbauer. Er gilt als einer der Erfinder des Hammerklaviers. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Erfindung 3 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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