Piano Day, an annual worldwide event founded by a group of like-minded people, takes place on the 88th day of the year – in 2018 it’s the 29th March – because of the number of keys on the instrument being celebrated.

Piano Day was first introduced by Nils Frahm a German musician, composer and record producer based in Berlin. When asked why he thought the world needed a piano day, he said –

“Why does the world need a Piano Day? For many reasons. But mostly, because it doesn’t hurt to celebrate the piano and everything around it: performers, composers, piano builders, tuners, movers and most important, the listener.” – Nils Frahm

There are lots of events planned world-wide to celebrate the day, you can read more about it on the Piano Day website.

As my own contribution, I’d like to take a look at the person who made it possible in the first place.

Bartolomeo Cristofori

The first piano, known as the pianoforte, was invented by Italian Bartolomeo Cristofori around the year 1709. He was born in Padua then part of the Republic of Venice. When in his 30’s he was asked by Prince Ferdinando, the son and heir of Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, who loved music to make an instrument with a better dynamic response than the harpsichord which was a popular instrument at the time.

Cristofori’s big breakthrough was to invent a hammer mechanism for the keyboard to strike the strings on the sound board 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. Changing the volume of the sound produced was a major change to the range of music it was possible to play on the instruments of the day.

Little is know about the life of Cristofori and it is thought that his new piano instrument was not well known during his lifetime. By 1711, there were probably only 4 pianos in existence. Since his death in 1731 the piano has become ubiquitous and today is the instrument we all know and love.

From 1790 onwards with the onset of the industrial revolution, piano quality and sound was greatly improved with the availability of high quality steel piano wire for the strings and improvements in casting of the iron frames across which the strings are strung.

Today we have an amazing choice of awesome acoustic pianos from world renowned manufacturers and the sound reproduction from digital pianos is getting better each year, but on this Piano Day I would like to give my thanks to Bartolomeo Cristofori for inventing the instrument that has given me not only a life time of music and pleasure but also my career.

What are you going to do to celebrate Piano Day this year? Leave a comment below to let me know.

If you would like to take your very first piano lesson or add to your existing piano education, please book a lesson with me today, you can book online.