The piano is a keyboard instrument that has a long and rich history of innovation and evolution. It is widely regarded as the most popular and versatile musical instrument in existence, capable of producing a wide range of sounds and expressions. The piano's invention is attributed to Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1731), an Italian harpsichord maker who devised a new mechanism that allowed the player to control the volume and dynamics of the sound by varying the force of the key strike . He called his invention "gravicembalo col piano e forte", or "harpsichord with soft and loud" .