Galileo Galilei

Little Galileo
Our story begins with a boy – aged 6 years. This little boy spent his childhood in a very musical home – his father was a professional musician, and the child learned how to play keyboard and lute at a young age. His creativity blossomed, and soon he was applying his creativity in mathematics, philosophy, science and invention. He would go on to change the world…. what was the little boy’s name? You guessed it! His name was Galileo Galilei and he is the inspiration for our products…

Too much vino?
Galileo pianos began in 1998 when one of our creative staff (a self-described piano ‘nut’) was visiting Florence, Italy. He had been contemplating for years how to combine his passion for piano with a “higher goal”. He says that while visiting the Galileo tomb in Florence, he “heard a voice from the grave” that told him to create the Galileo brand piano. Whether you believe this, or whether you think he had too many glasses of vino is still up for debate. The fact remains, there is a curious connection between Galileo’s creative genius and his musical ubringing.
We believe there’s a little “Galileo” in everyone – just waiting to emerge – the question is “how?”. Galileo pianos combine Italian passion with leading music technology – helping unlock the power of creativity.

The Inspiration
The “voice from the grave” begins with Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) – the influential Italian mathematician and astronomer who spent much of his life serving the Medici of Florence (Ruling family of Tuscany during the Renaissance) – a noted contributor to the arts and music. You’ve probably heard of Galileo – and once you do a little research you’ll see that Galileo’s life was heavily influenced by music…

Early Years:
Galileo’s father “Vincenzo Galilei” was a professional musician who was one of the most modern music thinkers of his time—he even helped lay the foundation for what would become “Opera” —the culmination of drama and music. Certainly, young Galileo was trained in music and became an accomplished keyboard and lute player. His brother studied to become a musical performer and the Galilei house was filled with music! Galileo was a musical kid.

Music-Math Connection:
As early as age 6, Galileo was working with his father Vincenzo on experiments in acoustics and music-math relationships. Out of these experiments, Vincenzo would publish his findings about consonance and dissonance and express them in mathematical formulas. In this way, music helped Vincenzo discover a non-linear physical law via experimentation and laid the foundation for the methods Galileo would use throughout his life. Why is this so important? Active Music Making helps develop the temporal lobe in the brain—leading to increased spatial and temporal faculties. It is very likely that Vincenzo and Galileo were able to make such dramatic discoveries BECAUSE of their musical development. What is most important, is that Galileo lived in a musical household and this greatly helped develop his spatial reasoning and temporal faculties.

EscapementPicture2Galileo – Piano Inventor?
This leads us to the connection between Galileo and the piano itself. A strong case can be made that it was with the assistance of Galileo’s mechanical insights that fellow Italian Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1731) – also serving the Medici – invented the first piano! Galileo had worked on a variety of mechanical devices and innovations—this much is fact. When Galileo died, his loyal student and assistant Vincenzo Viviani was trusted with Galileo’s belongings—which included writings as well as his mechanical devices. VEscapementPicture1iviani brought these with him when he became a founding member of the “Accademia del Cimento” (Academy of Experiment) – a science foundation of the Medici. The Cimento only lasted 10 years before it was closed, but inside were all sorts of mechanical inventions —many created by Galileo himself. When Cristofori was hired by the Medici as the “curator of musical instruments”, he had access to Galileo’s original mechanical devices. Did Cristofori improve upon mechanical designs and inventions of Galileo?Galileo had invented an ‘escapement’ device—was this to become the piano escapement that was the key element of Cristofori’s pianoforte? Quite possibly—but the point is, there is a strong connection between the technological development spurned by Galileo, the patronage of Prince Ferdinand de Medici, and the final creation of the pianoforte by Cristofori.

The’Galileo Effect’:
Of course, Galileo himself did not become a professional musician, composer or music teacher. That’s the point! Being raised in a musical home, Galileo was able to become more of what he already was—a scientist, astronomer and creative thinker! We call this the “Galileo Effect” and this is the foundation of each and every Galileo piano. It’s also why we are passionate about helping people enjoy the benefits of making music.

Galileo Piano Workshops – the Art of Sound:
Galileo pianos are designed and engineered in Italy by “Global 200” keyboard manufacturer Viscount International — coincidentally situated a mere 100 miles from where Galileo and Cristofori had worked with the Medici. These Italian keyboard workshops of Viscount specialize in what can only be called “the art of sound” – musical keyboard instruments crafted with passion. Features include real wood cabinets, hand-carved inlays, solid construction and leading music technology. *You can see some incredible footage of the piano factories and entire company story here*

Environmental Contribution:
Not only are the Galileo instruments ‘digital by design, acoustic at heart’ – they are manufactured with respect to the environment. Viscount/Galileo is committed to a role of environmental leadership in all facets of our business. We fulfill this mission by commitment to:

  • Striving to buy, sell and use environmentally friendly products. For example: no mercury or lead on circuit boards; all metal parts are free of harmful acids; varnish finishes use a natural water process to eliminate harm to the environment; no Polyurethane (bad for the environment) – only Polyester which is completely safe and chemical free; higher quantities of replenishable natural resources (our competitors use mostly synthetics and plastics which are petroleum-based products).
  • Conformity with strict UL, FCC and RoHS (a European quality and control standard that exceeds those of the US and Asia) standards. Internal controls so that we provide a healthy work environment and respect for the worker & community.
  • Understanding of environmental issues and sharing information with our partners
  • Developing Innovative and flexible solutions to bring about change
  • Instilling environmental responsibility as a corporate value
  • Encouraging all partners to share in our mission

The exclusive line of Galileo digital products fulfills the passion and vision begun over 300 years ago by Galileo and Cristofori — an Italian tradition for technological and styling innovation!

By providing quality pianos and promoting the benefits of active music making, we help you fulfill your creative potential. In our own way, we view this as helping people and the planet – as we like to say: “Life’s Better When You Play!