Born on May 4, 1655 in Padua, Republic of Venice, Bartolomeo Cristofori was an Italian manufacturer of various musical instruments and one of his greatest creations was the pianoforte, ancestor of the modern piano.

Google is celebrating his birthday today in today’s Google Doodle: Who Invented the Piano?

A very brief history of  Bartolomeo Cristofori:

Who invented the piano? Bartolomeo Cristofori
The portrait of Bartolomeo Cristofori (1726), the inventor of the piano. (via Wikipedia)

At the court of Prince Ferdinand de’ Medici, son of the duke of Tuscany, Bartolomeo Cristofori maintained a variety of instruments as a conservator of his creations and at the same time, he also initially started working on harpsichords and clavichords.

Harpsichords and clavichords are early stringed instruments like a piano that produce a soft delicate sound by means of metal blades attached to the ends of key levers. Unlike harpsichords and clavichords which produce soft tone regardless of how hard you strike the strings, the pianoforte could produce changes in volume of sound depending on how hard the keys were struck.

Bartolomeo Cristofori started his work on the pianoforte from 1698 and the diagram of its workings was published in 1711. He died in Florence on January 27, 1731.