The Piano in the Romantic Era

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's February 2008

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Before there was a piano there were the organ and the harpsichord. The piano was introduced during the Romantic era and it is a very versatile instrument that attracted performers and composers to its unique style of music. With the piano it is possible to distinguish between loud and soft notes the piano had the ability to provide this wide dynamic range. The piano also has a large capacity for sonority. No other instrument had this ability before the piano. The piano has a damper which is also another unique part of the piano. This allowed musicians to try new harmonic effects and let them to fine tune their compositions in many ways.

There are four new forms of music that first were composed using the piano. The etudes was a study that showed the musicians ability to use arpeggios, octaves, scales, and chords. These are all different kinds of sounds made with the piano.

The character piece is a short programmatic work that contain descriptive titles. Some examples are nocturne, ballade, rhapsody, intermezzo, and songs with no words. There were also virtuoso pieces called variations. These pieces state a theme and change them by changing the rhythm, meter and structure. There were also pieces of music or genres developed from the piano. Such genres were the waltz, mazurka, polka, and gallop.

With the advances in technology and transportation as well as manufacturing the piano became more famous. Before the 1860's the piano was a very sensitive instrument. It still was not very reliable and not developed to its full extent. At times strings and hammers broke in the middle of concerts and spare pianos had to kept at hand. It wasn't until 1860 when Steinway made a strudier and new piano that could withstand more that the pianos at the time. This piano became the standard piano for manufacturing it world wide. Before it took weeks to build a piano but with this new piano and mass production a couple could be made in 3 days time. This caused pianos to be easy to make and therefore less expensive because it took less work to build them. Later on what became more famous with the piano was learning to play it. It became a favored instrument at home and people payed people to teach them to use it. It became a world wide used instrument.