LISTEN: The Earliest Known Piano in Existence:
In the early 1700s, Bartolomeo Cristofori
invented what would become the 'king of instruments', the piano. The early pianos were a vast improvement over their immediate predecessors the harpsichord. The pianos had a wider range and the hammers hit the strings instead of plucking them, allowing the musician to vary the volume of their notes. (An obvious plus.)
But what did the first piano sound like? The early pianos sounded quite different from the modern instruments that we know today. The early pianos lacked a metal plate, were quite light and lacked the range of pianos today. One good way to describe the sound they produced, is that they sounded like a mix between the earlier harpsichords and a modern piano. The Cristofori Piano that resides in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has been restored to playable condition.