P I A N O   3 0 0
Celebrating Three Centuries of People and Pianos


The Exhibition: New Communities, New Voices

Eubie Blake, about 1910.

From Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center


By the 1890s, the piano became a familiar sight even in working-class settings and began to produce new kinds of music.

When the African American community took up the piano after the Civil War, they put their inherited traditions into church and dance music. These exciting new sounds gave birth to important new styles, creating ragtime, jazz, and gospel.

Tin Pan Alley, New York's music publishing district in the early 1900s, drew on the diverse cultures of New Yorkers and Midwesterners, African Americans, immigrant Eastern Europeans, Jews, Irish, Italians, and Germans. Often self-taught, composers scrambled to make a living, pumping out song after song and establishing 20th-century American popular music.

Upright transposing piano, 1940
Maker: Weser, New York

Image on right shows transposing lever.

Gift of Irving Berlin

SI photograph by M. Erixon-Stanford


In the Beginning

Across Europe and Beyond

Pianos In the Home

Romantic Superstars


Americans Take the Lead

Pianos for Everyone

New Communities, New Voices

Circling the Globe


[Introduction] [Performances, Tours and More] [Exhibition] [Timeline]
[Credits] [Donors and Collaborators ] [Play Some Music!] [Piano Resources]

Piano 300
American History
National Museum of American History