It is not known exactly when Cristofori first built a piano.An inventory made by his employers, the Medici family, indicates the existence of a piano by the year 1700; another document of doubtful authenticity indicates a date of 1698.
In the nineteenth century, a family's piano played the same role that a radio or phonograph played in the twentieth century; when a nineteenth-century family wanted to hear a newly published musical piece or symphony, they could hear it by having a family member play it on the piano.
The grand piano is used for Classical solos, chamber music, and art song, and it is often used in jazz and pop concerts.
The upright piano, which is more compact, is the most popular type, as it is a better size for use in private homes for domestic music-making and practice.
Most modern pianos have a row of 88 black and white keys, 52 white keys for the notes of the C major scale (C, D, E, F, G, A and B) and 36 shorter black keys, which are raised above the white keys, and set further back on the keyboard.
This means that the piano can play 88 different pitches (or "notes"), going from the deepest bass range to the highest treble.