Origin of Hammerflügel
The Hammerflügel, or fortepiano, originated in the early 18th century. Bartolomeo Cristofori of Italy crafted the first, revolutionizing keyboard dynamics with hammers striking strings, unlike the harpsichord's plucked mechanism.
Evolution of Sound
By the late 18th century, the fortepiano had evolved, offering a wider range and more nuanced dynamics. Its expressive potential influenced composers like Mozart, who composed specifically for its unique sound palette.
Ludwig van Beethoven pushed the Hammerflügel's limits, demanding more volume and sustain. Manufacturers like Broadwood responded, enhancing the instrument's robustness and tonal power, which defined the early piano era.
Innovation in Design
The 19th century saw immense innovation with the Hammerflügel. Makers like Érard and Steinway introduced metal frames and overstrung strings, leading to the modern piano's powerful sound and durability.
Distinctive Timbre and Touch
The Hammerflügel is beloved for its warm, clear timbre and lighter touch compared to modern pianos. This distinctive sound is sought after for authentic performances of classical and early romantic music.
Preservation and Resurgence
The 20th century saw a resurgence in historical performance practice, with musicians seeking original Hammerflügels for authenticity. Preservation efforts ensure these instruments can still be heard today.
Modern builders now recreate Hammerflügels, using historical methods and materials. These instruments provide musicians with the opportunity to explore historical soundscapes with new, reliable instruments.