Some History on Antique Pianos

At what age do pianos merit this description?

The term Antique Pianos refers essentially to upright & grand pianos built 100 years ago or more. An `Early Keyboard Instrument' usually refers to keyboard instruments of a more basic and dated structure, and would have been built before the Grand & Uprights had been introduced. Early keyboard examples would include early spinets, clavichords, square pianos, early harpsichords and the like. All such instruments would be over 125 years old, and are also classified as "Antique". 

Early keyboards are not included in this definition, but still covers a large number of instruments built 100 years ago or more. Only a limited number of pianos are good musical instruments for two main reasons: First, at 100 years ago, piano quality was still being improved and only the better-known makes had produced excellent musical instruments. Secondly, many instruments have suffered over the years either loss of structural integrity, or had not yet reached the point in their development whereby the musical quality was good enough.

A Historical Timeline for Pianos

There is a great book that includes a very detailed timeline for antique pianos entitled "My Music Journal" by Hal Leonard. It also references music, art and literature as it relates to the piano. The timeline itself is four pages long and the book (if you can find it) is around $4.

Piano Time Line

A tiny sample on pre-piano instruments, music and the piano

the Dulcimer 1819
the Psaltery 1820
Middle Ages & Medieval Music 1400
the Virginal 1500
the Spinet 1501
the Clavichord 1550
the Harpsichord 1600
the Baroque Period 1685
Bach 1700the
First True Piano 1750
the Classical Period 1756
Mozart 1770

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