The piano came from an improvement made to a harpsichord by Bartolomeo Cristofori in 1700. The instrument was a modified keyboard that Cristofori stated could be played both loud and soft. The piano is named for the strings that vibrate at different speeds when struck by small wooden hammers.
Cristofori's piano design changed over the next 30 years, when it became a popular instrument played by the European elites. Starting in the 1760s, the size of the piano was reduced, although the price continued to be exorbitant. With a smaller size, pianos could be placed in the home of wealthy families.