The standard piano has 88 keys: 52 white and 36 black. But who decided that this number would be the norm and why?
Before the invention of the piano, composers wrote music for the harpsichord, which has only 60 keys. This meant that all their works were limited to the five-octave range of this instrument.
Around 1700, Italian master instrumentalist Bartolomeo Cristofori decided that it was time to update the harpsichord, and came up with a new keyboard instrument with a percussion mechanism. Cristofori worked at the court of Ferdinando de ‘ Medici, where he was the Keeper of musical instruments. Continue reading