Piano inventor Bartolomeo Cristofori honoured by musical Google Doodle

4 May 2015

The inventor of the modern piano, Bartolomeo Cristofori, has been remembered in the form of an interactive Google Doodle that lets you adjust the intensity of a tune being played.

Today’s Google Doodle to mark the 360th anniversary of his birth features a figure of Cristofori playing Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring and has a scale to allow you to adjust the volume and force of the keys being played.

Cristofori was born in Padua in the Republic of Venice in 1655 and died in 1731.

At the age of 33 he was recruited to work for Prince Ferdinando de Medici, Grand Prince of Tuscany, and a lover and patron of music.

Cristofori worked making harpschords and clavichords and looking after the princes’s collection of musical instruments.


Before inventing the pianoforte, Cristofori invented the spinettone and the oval spinet.

It took Cristofori around 17 years to build the piano, which was originally called the gravicembalo col piano e forte – a harpsichord that plays soft and loud.

While the popularity of the piano only grew after his death, Cristofori continued to make pianos for patrons, including the Prince of Portugal.

The only known portrait of Cristofori was painted in 1726. However, the original was lost during World War II.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic