The history of the piano is a history of technological change and innovation, starting over 300 years ago with the escapement action of Bartolomeo Cristofori and continuing with knee levers, pedals, action modifications, cast iron frame, and so much more. This dynamic history has been the result of the passionate interaction between keyboard players, composers, and instrument makers.
In the 1970s, solenoid-based player systems were added to pianos for the first time. In 1987, Yamaha took that concept to a new level of quality and ease of use by introducing the Disklavier reproducing piano to North America.
The term Disklavier is a clever combination of the words disk (as in floppy disk) and Klavier, the German word for keyboard. At the time that the Disklavier was introduced, recordings were stored on 3 ½ inch floppy disks.
The Disklavier is fundamentally a traditional, acoustic piano with a built-in record-and-playback system. The record-and-playback system and its related features have changed substantially over the years, but one aspect of the Disklavier has remained constant: The Disklavier system has always been offered as a factory-installed system—never as a retrofit for existing pianos.
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