Google pays homage to the 360th birthday of the man who invented the piano. Bartolomeo Cristofori was born in Padua Italy in 1655 in the Republic of Venice. Speaking of which Artlyst will be there from tomorrow for the Venice Biennale for five whole days of art and bliss!
The Encyclopaedia Britannica states that the original instrument that Cristofori invented was referred to during his lifetime as a harpsichord that plays soft and loud, from which its name is derived. In Italian, the phrase is gravicembalo col piano e forte.
On the blog dedicated to its doodles, Google wrote that one of Cristofori’s “biggest innovations was creating a hammer mechanism that struck the strings on a keyboard to create sound. The use of a hammer made it possible to produce softer or louder sounds depending upon how light or hard a player pressed on the keys”. It added: “Being able to change the volume was a major breakthrough. And that’s exactly what doodler Leon Hong wanted to highlight in this interactive doodle.”
A tale is told that he served as an apprentice to the great violin maker Nicolò Amati, based on the appearance in a 1680 census record of a “Christofaro Bartolomei” living in Amati’s house in Cremona. However, as Stewart Pollenspoints out, this person cannot be Bartolomeo Cristofori, since the census records an age of 13, whereas Cristofori according to his baptismal record would have been 25 at the time. Pollens also gives strong reasons to doubt the authenticity of the cello and double bass instruments sometimes attributed to Cristofori.
Probably the most important event in Cristofori’s life is the first one of which we have any record: in 1688, at age 33, he was recruited to work for Prince Ferdinando de Medici. Ferdinando, a lover and patron of music, was the son and heir of Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany. Tuscany was at a time still a small independent state.