Gottfried Silbermann

In 1725, a German translation of Maffei’s 1711 article appeared in Saxony. Titled Critica Musica, it included the diagram of the string mechanism Maffei had drawn. Gottfried Silbermann, an iconoclastic organ builder and clavichord maker from Dresden, is thought to have constructed the first two pianofortes in Germany around 1730. Silbermann had risen to the post of Royal Chamber Musician of Saxony, and was hired to maintain the instrument collection by King Frederick I. When Silbermann made the pianos, he refused to divulge his know-how. He invited Johann Sebastian Bach, a famed musician and composer in Leipzig by then, to play one, but Bach disliked its sound. Silbermann then worked to improve the instrument until a better version met with the composer's approval.

Various other forms of the instrument came into being in Germany during the latter decades of the eighteenth century, and German manufacturers perfected Cristofori's invention to such a degree that it was believed to have sprung from German soil itself. Even Ludwig van Beethoven, whose concertos and sonatas for the piano remain the some of the most revered of all classical compositions, wrote in 1816 that the instrument was most certainly a German invention. Cristofori died in Florence on January 27, 1731. A few of his pianofortes exist: an instrument dating from 1720 is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, while another is in Leipzig and a third at the Museo degli Strumenti Musicali in Rome. A three-keyboard harpsichord thought to have been built by Cristofori, dated 1702 and with the coat of arms of Prince Ferdinando, resides at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.