The history of the piano industry has been a passion of Ric Overton for many years. The origins of Fine European Pianos can be traced back to the harpsichord, a
popular keyboard instrument in the Baroque era. The harpsichord was limited in its ability to produce dynamic variations in volume, as its strings were plucked rather than struck. This limitation led to the invention of the piano, which used hammers to strike the strings and allowed for a wider range of expression.
The Beginnings Of Fine European Pianos
One of the earliest European piano makers was Bartolomeo Cristofori, an Italian instrument maker. He built his first piano, known as the “gravicembalo col piano e forte”, in the early 18th century. His invention attracted the attention of European musicians and composers, and his pianos were soon in demand across Europe.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, European piano makers perfected and refined the piano design, leading to the emergence of several iconic piano manufacturers. These manufacturers developed their own unique designs and innovations, which contributed to the distinct characteristics and
sounds of their pianos.
European pianos were highly regarded for their craftsmanship, quality, and tonal characteristics. This, of course, is the same today. They were often favored by renowned composers and virtuoso pianists, who appreciated their expressive capabilities and rich sound. Fine European Pianos became a staple in concert halls, music schools, and private homes around the world.
Classical Composers Began A Change
The legacy of Fine European Pianos can be seen in the vast repertoire of classical piano music composed during the 18th and 19th centuries. Many composers, such as Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and Liszt, wrote specifically for the piano and its unique capabilities. The sound and character of these pieces were influenced by the pianos of the time, and they continue to be performed and cherished on Fine European Pianos today.
In addition to their historical significance, Fine European Pianos have also made significant technological advancements. For example, Érard, a French piano maker, introduced the double escapement action in the early 19th century, which allowed for faster repetition of notes and improved pianistic technique. Also as a note, Nannette Streicher the first female piano maker is credited for the invention of the Viennese action. These innovations greatly influenced the development of the modern piano and paved the way for further advancements in piano technology.
Today’s Fine European Pianos
Today, Fine European Pianos continue to be highly regarded and sought after by pianists and enthusiasts around the world. They are renowned for their craftsmanship, attention to detail, and the unique tonal characteristics that have been cultivated over centuries. European piano makers continue to innovate and push the boundaries of piano design, ensuring that the legacy of European pianos remains strong and influential in the world of music.
I will continue this blog into another chapter called The History and Legacy of Fine European Pianos part 2, otherwise this will be a very long post.
Since 1979 R. Kassman Pianos of Berkeley has been known as the Purveyor Of Fine Pianos in the Bay Area. Today that legacy continues. While the company has had new ownership since 2019, Ric Overton works tirelessly to bring you the very best of the very best in Fine European Pianos.
R. Kassman Piano Of Berkeley
We handle such names as Steingraeber Piano, Grotrian Piano and Estonia Piano along with Wilh. Steinberg. Steingraeber, Grotrian and Wilh. Steinberg all come from Germany while Estonia is manufactured in the Baltic state of Estonia. Each piano has its own unique sound and feel. They have to be experienced to believe what they are capable of delivering.
R. Kassman is committed to excellence in delivering Fine European Pianos for your consideration. Drop by and visit our showroom in Berkeley and take a tour of what Fine European Pianos can do to enhance your talent. We strive to be the best piano store in the Bay Area.