for·​te·​pia·​no | \ ˌfȯr-ˌtā-pē-ˈa-(ˌ)nō also -ˈä-(ˌ)nō How to pronounce fortepiano (audio) \

Definition of fortepiano

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an early form of the piano originating in the 18th and early 19th centuries and having a smaller range and softer timbre than a modern piano


adverb or adjective
for·​te-pi·​a·​no | \ ˌfȯr-ˌtā-pē-ˈä-(ˌ)nō How to pronounce forte-piano (audio) , ˌfȯr-tē-\

Definition of forte-piano (Entry 2 of 2)

: loud then immediately soft used as a direction in music

Examples of fortepiano in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Tao did, however, take advantage of the modern piano’s wider dynamic range than the fortepiano that Mozart used, at times surging out in an almost demonic fashion. Ken Jacques, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Tao wows and Francis dances in Mainly Mozart final concert," 23 June 2019 Meglioranza will perform the song cycle Feb. 18 accompanied by David Breitman on a model of an 1819-era fortepiano at the Byron Colby Barn in Grayslake. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "Schubert's beloved song cycle to be performed at Colby Barn," 7 Feb. 2018 Zivian, who performs with Valley of the Moon musicians June 9 at the Berkeley Festival & Exhibition, plans to play many of the Sonoma performances on his 1841 Viennese fortepiano. Jesse Hamlin, San Francisco Chronicle, "Cellist’s piece on gut strings a first at Valley of the Moon Music Festival," 29 May 2018 In the realm of public performance generally, as Mr. Kildea relates, the concert hall began to replace the salon; and the grand piano took the place of the smaller, plinkier fortepiano. Michael O’donnell, WSJ, "‘Chopin’s Piano’ Review: Postscript to the Preludes," 16 Aug. 2018 Even that, however, wasn’t quite enough to give ideal presence to the fortepiano — the soft-spoken forerunner to the modern piano — used for two Mozart concertos. Tim Smith,, "A May of Mozart and other treats from BSO, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra," 23 May 2018 The composer took an interest in new instruments, including the fortepiano, and his music should not be confined to the technologies of his time. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Rebel Harpsichordists," 14 May 2018 Eric Zivian was a dynamic fortepiano soloist, channeling the composer’s improvisatory zeal, and the various vocal contributions were perfectly swell. Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, "Cherubini goes head-to-head with Beethoven in superb Philharmonia program," 26 Apr. 2018 Benvenue Fortepiano Trio Monica Huggett, violin; Tanya Tomkins, cello; Eric Zivian, fortepiano. Chronicle Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle, "Classical music and dance listings," 22 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fortepiano.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fortepiano


1771, in the meaning defined above

Adverb or adjective

1823, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fortepiano


French or Italian; French, from Italian, from forte loud + piano soft

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Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for fortepiano

The first known use of fortepiano was in 1771

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fortepiano Encyclopedia article about fortepiano

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