Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Pianoforte, a musical instrument which in its simplest form may be described as a dulcimer fitted with keys. It succeeded in point of time the harpsichord, from which it differs in the fact that the sounds may be modified in intensity. Hence its name, which means "soft-loud." The construction of the piano is at the present day so familiar to everyone that it is needless to describe it beyond saying that the keys when struck set in motion levers which cause the hammers to strike the one, two, or three strings that produce the notes, that intensity is produced by the action of a pedal which raises the dampers, and the soft effect by a pedal which shifts the action so that the hammer strikes only one or two wires instead of three, as the case may be. The two principal varieties of piano are the Grand, in which the strings are placed horizontally, and the Upright, in which they are arranged vertically. Fresh modifications and varieties of these and improvements in details are constantly being introduced, and the names of Erard, Collard, and Broadwood stand high for the quality of their instruments. The piano, which was introduced into England towards the end of the 18th century, is said to have been manufactured by Cristofori, of Padua, in 1710. In 1716 a Frenchman produced three models, and he was followed in 1721 by the German manufacturer Schroter.