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(born May 4, 1655, Padua, Republic of Venicedied Jan. 27, 1731, Florence) Italian maker of musical instruments. As custodian of musical instruments at the court of Prince Ferdinand de' Medici, he maintained a variety of instruments. His most famous experiment was the pianoforte, ancestor of the modern piano, which he worked on from 1698, an instrument that, unlike the harpsichord, could produce changes in volume of sound depending on the force with which the keys were struck. A diagram of its workings was published in 1711 and soon copied by others. Some of his original pianofortes survive.
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