Most people agree that Bartolomeo Cristofori invented the piano around 1709. He called it a `gravicembalo col piano e forte` meaning `harpsichord with soft and loud`. It was similar in shape to a modern grand piano, though it had square edges and was smaller with fewer keys. Upright/vertical pianos didn`t come along until much later. Incidentally, the earliest upright pianos were very tall and top heavy and it was not unknown for a piano to topple and crush its player, unless it was anchored to the wall. I suppose having a piano fall on you could seriously ruin your day!