Thursday, May 04, 2006

Happy Birthday to the Piano

It's the birthday of the man credited with inventing the piano, Bartolomeo Cristofori, born in Padua, Italy (1655). He had replaced the string-plucking mechanism of the harpsichord with hammers, which allowed the player to adjust its volume by applying different degrees of force to the keys. He called his invention, "the harpsichord that plays soft and loud." As the instrument grew more popular, the name was shortened to "soft-loud" and finally to "soft." In Italian, the word for "soft" is "piano." (from the Writers Almanac May 4, 2006)

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