Cover of Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos by Edwin M. Good
Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos
A Technological History from Cristofori to the Modern Concert Grand, Second Edition
Edwin M. Good

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2002
400 pages.
from $28.95

Cloth ISBN: 9780804733168
Paper ISBN: 9780804745499

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This lavishly illustrated book treats the history of the piano from its invention in 1700 to the present in terms of its technology. Looking at the technologies of design, materials, and manufacture, and focusing its description on specific existing pianos, it describes the changes in pianos from the earliest days to contemporary instruments.

This revised edition incorporates the results of recent research that increases knowledge of the work of Bartolomeo Cristofori, the inventor of the piano; changes perceptions of how eighteenth-century pianos were made and used; adds to the available information about the important contributions of the Steinway Company; and describes the most recent changes to the piano.

The first edition of this book received the Otto Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society as the best musicological book in English published in 1982-83.

Reviews of the First Edition

"If you have ever looked under the lid of a piano and wondered about the technical how and why of it all, this is the book to sate your curiosity. . . . Good's vigorous prose breathes life into the technology . . . and brings forward the people involved, with humor and sensitivity."

Los Angeles Times

"This is a fine book. Accurate technical description, an abundance of photographs and drawings, and a very readable text complement a provocative thesis."

Technology and Culture

"Intriguing reading. It turns out that the story of the piano and its evolution . . . is rife with human interest, at least when Good relates the details."

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About the author

Edwin M. Good is Professor of Religious Studies and (by courtesy) of Classics, Emeritus, at Stanford Universi

"If you have ever looked under the lid of a piano and wondered about the technical how and why of it all, this is the book to sate your curiosity. . . . Good's vigorous prose breathes life into the technology . . . and brings forward the people involved, with humor and sensitivity."

Los Angeles Times

"Good's book has been a standard history of the piano and the development of its mechanisms since its first publication. The second edition contains some improvements and enhancements but retains the overall plan of the first. . . . Good was able to add more detail to the information concerning early pianos, piano-shaped instruments, builders, and mechanisms. And in the last chapter, he has enlarged the twentieth-century view of the piano to include digital instruments and other technological developments. . . . The writing is clear and precise throughout, and the footnoted information and references are almost as valuable as the text itself. . . . This second edition includes more illustrations . . . and in general appearance, the book is easier to read and more handsome as a whole."

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