Many of us know the names of piano greats, but today’s Google logo schools us on its inventor Bartolomeo Critofori.
Today marks the Italian instrument maker’s 360th birthday. The doodle highlights the mechanics behind Critofori’s invention, using animation to show how the piano hammer strikes the strings, making the volume louder or softer depending on how hard a piano key is struck.
Originally called a pianoforte, Google’s doodle blog post on the logo sheds light on how the piano got its name: “In Italian, piano means soft, while forte means loud. Being able to change the volume was a major breakthrough.”
Clicking the search icon on the side of the logo returns results for “who invented the piano” and the doodle includes sharing options to post on social media pages and send via email.
After clicking the logo’s play button, you can adjust the volume – and effort being put forth by Critofori while he plays – by moving the volume control slider between “p” for piano and “f” for forte. The melody being played is “Joy of Man’s Desiring” from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Jesu.
When asked how he went about recording the music for the logo, Hong explained, “The timing and loudness had to be precise and consistent so I plotted the notes using software and rendered the sound files with a virtual piano instrument.”
Here is one of Hong’s initial sketches that led to today’s final doodle:
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