Bartolomeo Cristofori


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(b Padua, 1655; d Florence, 1731).

It. harpsichord‐maker and regarded as inventor of the pianoforte. Served at Medici court in Florence from 1690. In 1700 constructed a gravicembalo col piano e forte (hpd. with softness and loudness). This was a forerunner of the modern pf.: he substituted the blows of a series of hammers for the hpd. plucking of the str. By 1720 he improved it by graduating the force of the fall of the hammers and by putting a damper above instead of under the str. The compass was over 4 octaves. Only 3 Cristofori pfs. survive, so far as is known (in NY, Leipzig, and Rome).

Subjects: Music.

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