The dulcimer and the psaltery may look alike, but they are played differently.
The earliest use of steel wire occurred in 1735 in Wales, but is not thought to have been used for the stringing of instruments.
The Broadwood piano company stated that they were using steel wire in 1815 from Germany and Britain, but this has not been confirmed.
If you need to find out the age your piano, or you can't find information about your piano make on one of our history pages, you could ask one of our experts at our Piano History Forum. At some time in the distant past, ancient man must have discovered that by stretching a thong between the horns of a dead animal, or on a branch that forked, a musical sound could be produced.
The hunter would also have heard that the string of his bow would sound a definite pitch.
Around the middle of the twelfth century we find the keyed monochord, which was developed further, several strings being added, until eventually we recognize the clavichord.
A tangent was fitted to the back of each key, which when raised contacted the single string, and facilitated simultaneous notes.By approximately 1400 the clavichord had about ten strings and inearlier examples two notes or more were produced from that string or pair of strings by making two or more tangents contact thesame string or pair of strings at different points. A later type, in whicheach note has its own string, or strings, is called a "Bundfrei"clavichord.The clavichord is the simplest and usually the smallestof string keyboard instruments.Later it would have become clear that by stopping the string at different points and varying its length and thickness it could be made to sound other notes.Once two or more parallel strings were added to the bow, a rudimentary harp was created.In 1862 Broadwood claimed that a Broadwood grand would take a strain of about 17 tons, with the steel strings taking 150 pounds each.