History of the Piano

Welcome to the Virtual Piano Museum. We are attempting to give you a very brief overview of the development of the piano and a few pictures of some of the important pianos in history.

The pictures and text in the Virtual Piano Museum are copied with permission from Piano, A Photographic History of the World's Most Celebrated Instrument, by David Crombie, published by Backbeat Books. This book is a beautiful volume of pictures and piano history.

  • Cristofori marks the beginning of the Piano, although there were many keyboard instruments before.
  • Viennese pianos were known for their light clean tone and quick action.
  • English developed their pianos into bigger more substantial instruments with a larger tone.
  • Square piano was the mainstay of the piano industry at the turn of the Century.
  • Modern piano as we know it in all its glory!
  • Art case pianos are pianos with exceptional cases.
  • Avant-garde and experimental designs have made their way into pianos like everything else.
  • Upright pianos have seen many changes since they were first grand pianos set on end.

A Fact sheet about the history of pianos

For even more great information on the history of pianos, also check out 
The Period Piano Center
Concert Pitch Piano Services Virtual Piano Museum

For help in dating and find information on older pianos particularly European pianos see Piano Gen by Bill Kibby.


Organs & Historical Keyboards • Links to pipe organ and harpsichord manufacturers. 

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