A Dropped Hammer Becomes a Piano!


Bartolomeo Cristoferi had intended to construct a harpsichord, but when his bag of tools fell into the wooden body of the half-finished instrument he was building, he instead changed the course of musical history. The clamor of tiny hammers striking metal strings was unique — deep and grand. Indeed, the sound struck a chord in Cristofori, and it inspired him to substitute the plucking mechanism of the harpsichord with the hammers in his tool bag.

Isn’t it amazing that the din of Cristoferi’s falling tools would become the sound of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” and “Fur Elise”?

Each weight on a key translates to the strike of a hammer on a string, and each strike conjures art. A row of black and white ivory becomes a horizon of possibilities that can transport us to any place, any time, any feeling.  The piano is more than a chunk of wood, metal and varnish as my fingers run up and down its keyboard, stumbling here, tripping there, and finally gaining their footing for a chord. The instrument and musician are joined in the art of creating music. Without either one, music would be unheard and unknown. The interdependence of musician and instrument allows souls to be touched and emotions to be stirred. I sometimes like to think about the pieces that my family’s piano has played. Who composed them, where, why? The questions, just as much as the answers, breathe life into the wood, metal and varnish, and become a part of the piano’s story, a story that grows richer with each piece that is played on the piano.



  • Andy McEwan

    Hi, Natalie,
    How wonderful – I was unaware of Cristoferi’s happy accident which led to the development of the piano. I’m somewhat envious of those who can play piano (or any instrument) and I’ve often wished I could. Perhaps, for the sake of music lovers, it’s as well I don’t – I fear my playing would be very much like dropping a bag of tools into the instrument 🙂

    • TwointheMiddle

      Thank you!! How is your “home schooling/sabbatical” going? We often think about your beautiful “accidental” configurations of stones and rocks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Anti-Spam Quiz: