December 4th 2016: Aled Jones’s festive follow up to his innovative no.1 earlier this year takes the top spot.
Few people know his name, but Bartolomeo Cristofori was one of the most important people in the history of music – because he invented the piano. Today's Google Doodle celebrates the musical pioneer's 360th birthday.
Cristofori was born on 4 May 1655 in Padua and looked after the harpsichords of the Florentine court for the Grand Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici.
By 1700 he’d created what he called an ‘arpicimbalo’ – an instrument similar to the harpsichord but, crucially, with a hammer- rather than a plucking-action and capable of different dynamics.
Google has today used its iconic ‘doodle’ to celebrate Cristofori and his ground-breaking invention. Users can adjust the volume while a cartoon of Cristofori plays a rather mechanical rendition of Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring on his new instrument.
On its blog, Google said that Cristofori’s “biggest innovation was creating a hammer mechanism that struck the strings on a keyboard to create sound. The use of a hammer made it possible to produce softer or louder sounds depending upon how light or hard a player pressed on the keys.
“Being able to change the volume was a major breakthrough. And that’s exactly what doodler Leon Hong wanted to highlight in this interactive doodle.”