Musikgarten Blog: A Brief History and Evolution of the Piano
In teaching young children piano, children’s music educators will find it helpful to explain the origins and history of the instrument they are playing. Knowing the evolutionary story behind the piano helps children learn about cultural traditions and historical events. The history of the piano is interesting because it can be classified as both a stringed instrument as well as a percussion instrument, while even having an element of wind instruments. While its invention is most often attributed to one man, Bartolomeo Cristofori, the pianos evolution can be traced as far back as ancient Greece around 500 BC. The monochord, or kanon in Greek, consisted of one metal string was stretched over a hollow body of wood called a resonator. While sometimes used for music, the monochord was more often used by scientists to study sound. Being long enough to divide into different sections and placed over the body in various ways, it was useful in that it demonstrated different chords in a visible way. The monochord was often used for tuning other instruments, even all the way through the 19th century, and also helped singers to learn pitch.