Cristofori pianos from 1722 and 1726

Cristofori’s hammer action is a mature and fully functioning action with a rapid and direct touch. It already incorporates the principles of the modern piano action, including the intermediate levers, the escapement mechanism, the hammer checks and the dampers. The hammer heads consist of hollow paper rolls (whose function anticipates the modern felt hammer) covered with small pieces of leather. The case of the Cristofori piano was not yet different from his harpsichords from the same period, though Cristofori used a special case structure for his harpsichords and pianos combining lightness and strength. The strings are of brass with diameters close to those of an Italian harpsichord. The range of the keyboard is four octaves (C to c3). There is an una corda register which is activated by sliding the keyboard by a few millimetres so that only one of the two strings per note sounds.

Information about the original instruments you can find under the section Research. There you can download acticles and other material about the Cristofori pianos. Some research results I put into my talks. You can download some of them (see Talks).

  • model of the Cristofori action from 1726
  • inner construction of the copy of the Cristofori piano from 1722
  • detail of the inner construction, copy of the Cristofori piano from 1722
  • the double bent side construction, copy of the Cristofori piano from 1722
  • the double bent side construction, copy of the Cristofori piano from 1722
  • the double bent side construction, copy of the Cristofori piano from 1722
  • the soundboard ribbing, copy of the Cristofori piano from 1722
  • saw cuts in the cut-off bar, copy of the Cristofori piano from 1722

Copy (1997) of the Cristofori piano from 1726

the case of the Cristofori piano copy in the garden of the Grassi-Museum in Leipzig in October 1996
the case of the Cristofori piano copy in the garden of the Grassi-Museum in Leipzig in October 1996
the copy of the Cristofori piano still without decoration in the house of Tony Chinnery in Vicchio/ Florence
the copy in 1997 in the Accademia Bartolomeo Cristofori in Florence
the copy in 1997 in the Accademia Bartolomeo Cristofori in Florence
before the concert in the Galleria dell''Accademia in Florence in November 2010
during the years in the Department of Musical Instruments in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence
in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence
the hammer action of the Cristofori piano copy

This Cristofori piano was my first instrument. It can already tell a twenty year history. I began building it in 1995. I was still working as a restorer in the Händel-Haus in Halle. I had set up a small workshop in the flat which I shared with two art students. It was quite a crazy situation because in the same room was our bathroom, just divided by a curtain (natural humidification!). I did the machining in the Händel-Haus and took the sawn and planed boards home. Thus the inner construction was built. In the autumn of 1996 I had the opportunity to continue the work for two months in the workshop of the Grassi-Museum in Leipzig, having the original Cristofori piano always under my eyes. The soundboard was glued in under the supervision of William Jurgenson in his workshop in South Germany.

From there I went down to Florence at the beginning of 1997. In the workshop of the Accademia Bartolomeo Cristofori I put on the strings and build the keyboard. The hammer action I made in Tony Chinnery's workshop in Vicchio, north of Florence. In December 1997 the inauguration concert in the Accademia Bartolomeo Cristofori took place. Since then I am using the piano for concerts, recordings and Master classes (for more Information see Instrument hire). From 2006 to 2013 the piano was exhibited in the Department of Musical Instruments inside the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence.

There are several recordings (see Discography) and concert recordings (see Instrument hire) on this instrument. Two Cds recorded on this piano for my own label are in preparation: "The Invention of the Piano", "Italian Violin Sonatas & the Cristofori Piano" see CD Label.

Copy (2000) of the Cristofori piano from 1726 for the Grassi-Museum Leipzig

the copy of the Cristofori piano from 1726 in the concert hall of the Grassi-Musuem in Leipzig
the copy of the Cristofori piano from 1726 in the concert hall of the Grassi-Musuem in Leipzig
the copy of the Cristofori piano from 1726 in the concert hall of the Grassi-Musuem in Leipzig
keyboard and signature
hammer action

Copy (2010) of the Cristofori piano from 1722 for the Museo degli Strumenti Musicali in Rome

copy of the Cristofori piano from 1722
copy of the Cristofori piano from 1722
keyboard of the Cristofori piano copy from 1722
keyboard and hammer action
hammers
keyboard and escapement jacks
hand forged lock and hinge
hand forged hinges
hand forged lock