Fortepiano v. pianoforte
Posted by Molly on July 13, 1998 at 14:59:20:
In response to Early Instruments, written by Caroline on July 10, 1998 at 23:06:16
] I wish I had, Molly......
I highly recommend the experience; it is a wonderful house with many fascinating keyboard instruments of all historical types, and the Burnetts are delightful people. Susan MF and I were privileged to visit there with English friends of mine, and to hear Richard B. play one of his demonstration concerts, which ended with the performance of the Rondo alla Turca with divers alarums. I narrowly missed meeting a musical acquaintance from Seattle there, in fact; when we arrived, Mrs. B. told us she had just been on the phone with him and he was stuck in London, so wouldn't be able to come till the following week. Small world!--especially in early music.
] I don't suppose you'd like to explain the differences between a fortepiano and a pianoforte would you ? I cannot tell'em apart....
Now there I must confess my ignorance. I am a singer, so am not intimately familiar with the workings of most instruments. I do know, however, that the fortepiano is in most respects just like a harpsichord, only with hammers instead of plectra. The box of the one is nearly identical to the other, apart from the propensity of later 18th c. instruments to be plain wood rather than painted or papered. Its sound is sharper, with more of the overtones associated with the harpsichord, and can be quite different from one end of the keyboard to the other. The English pianoforte is the direct ancestor of the modern piano, and has a much smoother sound overall, with less of overtones. This was preferred by 19th c. composers and players, and ultimately took over where the fortepiano had once held sway. In the 19th c. it was given an iron frame, so that the strings might be stretched much more tightly, thereby producing greater capacity for sound, and led to our modern instruments.
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.