The Evolution of the Piano: A Collaboration Across Space and Time (Pandemic Edition)

Event DateEvent Date

Event LocationLocation

Off Campus

25% Less Cosmic than Before!
More De-Colonized than Previous Iterations!

"The Evolution of the Piano" traces an epic journey from earliest tool use through kindred instruments in non-European cultures to the rise of the piano’s immediate predecessors and the fascinating development of the piano itself, culminating with a look ahead at the piano’s continued evolution into the 21st century.

Throughout human history, technological progress has been fueled by two parallel tracks: the survival instinct, and the need for creative play. In this program, Fulbright Scholar, musician, musicologist, Registered Piano Technician, tool-lover, and cultural observer Alan Eder examines the development of the reigning polyphonic instrument of choice of Euro-American culture.

Eclectic stops along the way include a comparison of the long shadows cast forward by ground-breakers Bartolomeo Cristofori and George Washington, and a look at what the rest of the world wanted from the USA in the 19th century, and what it looks to us for today.

Source materials are drawn from an extensive bibliography of texts on piano history; documentaries about nature, human evolution, mythology, weapons, and pianos; TED talks, movies, poetry, and video games. Eder’s own efforts have been greatly magnified by the contributions of legions of pianists, piano technicians, students of music history, and other presentation participants over the past decade.

Because this interactive program is itself ever-evolving, Eder has declined proposals to make a video documentary of it. Each iteration of the presentation develops its own unique character, benefiting from the accrual and integration of new information and ideas by both the presenter and new audiences.

This program was created for the 19th century music history class at The Herb Alpert School of Music at California Institute of the Arts and will take place during their regularly scheduled class times. Due to the coronavirus, this presentation migrated online last year. While the quality of interpersonal interaction is regrettably diminished online, these unusual circumstances enable the class to welcome a wider audience.

“The Evolution of the Piano” will be presented in two parts.

Part 1: Wednesday, April 7, 2-4 pm (PACIFIC time)
Part 2: Wednesday, April 14, 2-4 pm. (PACIFIC time)

If you would like to attend the presentation, please email to receive a link to each online session.

There is a party in Alan Eder’s mind, and you are invited!

(For a 30 second video-collage trailer for “The Evolution of the Piano”, please visit:

What they are saying about “The Evolution of the Piano…”

“Innovate or die!”—Silicon Valley creed

“Everything that Alan Eder does falls under the banner called Connect the Dots or Die.”—Nicholas Gravagne, RPT

“Best piano history presentation EVER!!!”—Alan Eder’s mom