- Glossary definition: Pianoforte
(from Italian piano, meaning 'softly', and forte, 'loud')

Instrument invented by Bartolomeo Cristofor in the early 18th-century. Its name refers to its ability to grade volume - much greater than with the harpsichord. Keys control hammers that strike strings, making the pianoforte a keyboard instrument, a stringed instrument and a member of the percussion family. The grand piano has horizontal strings and the upright piano has vertical strings.