Harpsichord with soft and loud

This is the literal translation of the first fortepiano maker’s name for what he had made, gravecembalo col [or di] piano e forte. (His name was Bartolomeo Christofori, and he worked – naturally – for the Medici, who by the eighteenth century had been on the forefront of all kinds of interesting things for quite a while.)

I was reading about fortepianos (as opposed to pianofortes) because I have been listening to some of Mozart’s violin sonatas and the accompanist is playing a fortepiano, in this case one that was built in Germany around 1800. It’s definitely different from the modern piano. A little softer, and the color of the sound varies more between the lowest notes and the highest. I find I like it.

(This is K. 376 performed by Andrew Manze and Richard Egarr.)

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