Bartolomeo Cristofori di Francesco (May 4, 1655 – January 27, 1731) was an Italian maker of musical instruments, generally regarded as the inventor of the piano.
The total number of pianos built by Cristofori is unknown. Only three survive today, all dating from the 1720s.
- A 1720 instrument is located in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. This instrument has been extensively altered by later builders: the soundboard was replaced in 1938, and the 54-note range was shifted by about half an octave, from F’, G’, A’–c”’ to C–f”. Although this piano is playable, according to builder Denzil Wraight “its original condition … has been irretrievably lost,” and it can provide no indication of what it sounded like when new.
- A 1722 instrument is in the Museo Nazionale degli Strumenti Musicali in Rome. It has a range of four octaves (C-c³) and includes an “una corda” stop; see below. This piano has been damaged by worms and is not playable.
- A 1726 instrument is in the Musikinstrumenten-Museum of Leipzig University. Four octaves (C-c³) with “una corda” stop. This instrument is not currently playable, though in the past recordings were made.