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A brief history of the Grand Piano

The grand piano can trace its history back to the very early harpsichords in the 1600s but it wasn’t until around 1700 when an Italian by the name of Cristofori invented a mechanism that made a sound through felt covered hammers striking iron strings. This eventually became known as the fortepiano derived from the Italian words ‘forte’ for loud and ‘piano’ for soft.



The composer J.S. Bach was one of the first owners of a fortepiano. This was a fairly primitive model that had pedal mechanisms controlled by the pianist’s knees. This pianoforte still survives and is kept in a museum.

It was the pedal that really developed the success of the pianoforte because it made the sound ring and reverb in the room it was being played in, making it a very popular instrument of the time.


The development of the modern day piano

Through time, the pianoforte went through various technological developments and the 1800s saw the introduction of the cast iron frame. This allowed the strings to be stretched and produce the distinctive sound that we know today. 


steingraeber grand piano

Pianos were enormously popular throughout the 1800s and early 1900s and just about every family had one. In the 1920s radio took off, followed by television and with these other forms of entertainment, piano ownership went through a bit of a decline. 

However, the piano in the modern day has definitely seen a renaissance. More people are enjoying the classic qualities of owning a piano and with the wide choice that is available there is something for everyone. 

At Shackleford Pianos we stock used grand pianos from all the great names such as Yamaha, Blüthner, Bechstein, Kawai... and new grand pianos from the best piano manufacturer Steingraeber & Sohne. So if you need any advice please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0800 032 9919