The Eighteenth-Century Fortepiano Grand and Its Patrons
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The Eighteenth-Century Fortepiano Grand and Its Patrons


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In the late 17th century, Italian musician and inventor Bartolomeo Cristofori developed a new musical instrument—his cembalo che fa il piano e forte, which allowed keyboard players flexible dynamic gradation. This innovation, which came to be known as the hammer-harpsichord or fortepiano grand, was slow to catch on in musical circles. However, as renowned piano historian Eva Badura-Skoda demonstrates, the instrument inspired new keyboard techniques and performance practices and was eagerly adopted by virtuosos of the age, including Scarlatti, J. S. Bach, Clementi, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Presenting a rich array of archival evidence, Badura-Skoda traces the construction and use of the fortepiano grand across the musical cultures of 18th-century Europe, providing a valuable resource for music historians, organologists, and performers.

1. Bartolomeo Cristofori
2. Giving Cristofori's nuovo cimbalo a Name: Terminology Problems throughout the Eighteenth Century
3. Domenico Scarlatti
4. New inventions in Germany, Pantalone Instruments, and Gottfried Silbermann
5. Johann Sebastian Bach and the "Piano et Forte"
6. Pianoforte Builders in Germany around 1750
7. The Generation of Bach's Older Sons
8. From Alberti, Platti, and Rutini to Eckard and the Younger Sons of Bach
9. Developments in the Second Half of the Century: Johann Andreas Stein and Sébastien Erard
10. Joseph Haydn-Wenzel and Johann Schantz, Young Mozart and Nannette Stein
11. Anton Walter and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
12. From Broadwood, Merlin, and Clementi to Beethoven
Appendix: Scipione Maffei's Article of 1711
Selected Bibliography



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Date de parution 20 novembre 2017
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EAN13 9780253022646
Langue English

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6. Pianoforte Builders in Germany around 1750
7. The Generation of Bach's Older Sons
8. From Alberti, Platti, and Rutini to Eckard and the Younger Sons of Bach
9. Developments in the Second Half of the Century: Johann Andreas Stein and Sébastien Erard
10. Joseph Haydn-Wenzel and Johann Schantz, Young Mozart and Nannette Stein
11. Anton Walter and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
12. From Broadwood, Merlin, and Clementi to Beethoven
Appendix: Scipione Maffei's Article of 1711
Selected Bibliography

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This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
2017 by Eva Badura-Skoda
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No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Badura-Skoda, Eva, author.
Title: The eighteenth-century fortepiano grand and its patrons from Scarlatti to Beethoven / Eva Badura-Skoda.
Description: Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 2017. | Includes bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2017019218 (print) | LCCN 2017021199 (ebook) | ISBN 9780253022646 (e-book) | ISBN 9780253022639 (cloth : alk. paper)
Subjects: LCSH : Piano-History-18th century.
Classification: LCC ML 650 (ebook) | LCC ML 650 . B 33 2017 (print) | DDC 786.2/1909-dc23
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1. Bartolomeo Cristofori
2. Giving Cristofori s Nuovo Cimbalo a Name: Terminology Problems throughout the Eighteenth Century
3. Domenico Scarlatti
4. New Inventions in Germany, Pantalone Instruments, and Gottfried Silbermann
5. Johann Sebastian Bach and the Piano et Forte
6. Pianoforte Builders in Germany around 1750
7. The Generation of Bach s Older Sons
8. From Alberti, Platti, and Rutini to Eckard and the Younger Sons of Bach
9. Developments in the Second Half of the Century: Johann Andreas Stein and S bastien Erard
10. Joseph Haydn-Wenzel and Johann Schantz, Young Mozart and Nannette Stein
11. Anton Walter and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
12. From Broadwood, Merlin, and Clementi to Beethoven
Appendix: Scipione Maffei s Article of 1711
Selected Bibliography
ONE PURPOSE OF THIS BOOK is to draw the attention of musicians and music historians to the implications and consequences of misunderstandings of terms and some other misperceptions. Another is to present historical insights that are results of my lifelong interest in eighteenth-century music and its performance and of my care for a collection of historical keyboard instruments. This book, however, is not intended to become a History of the Piano-Forte in the Eighteenth Century. A reader should not expect therefore to find here such a comprehensive history-the book does not pretend such completeness. In addition, I should mention that my historiographical approach is not a mere positivistic one; my intention has always been to question the plausibility of various assumed but somehow odd research results as presented in some books or articles. Documents can be sometimes misleading if taken too literally or misunderstood in another way. 1 Problems stemming from terminological ambiguities caused by incomplete source survival are sometimes difficult to understand and to explain; it needed a repeated careful study of all known sources as well as considerations of plausibility to explain the proposed solutions for obvious riddles not yet generally considered solved. Some of those riddles require a new discussion.
This book was planned many years ago. In an article that appeared in 1980, Prolegomena to a History of the Viennese Fortepiano, 2 I spoke of my discovery that during most of the eighteenth century the meanings of the terms harpsichord, cembalo , and clavecin differed from the way these terms have been generally perceived by many musicians in the twentieth century. The opinion that the terms meant in the twentieth century the same as in the eighteenth century is not correct; in the twentieth century these terms referred to plucked instruments only, but in the eighteenth century they referred solely to the outer form of stringed keyboard instruments, a fact I understood from studying many eighteenth-century documents. Especially during the first half of the eighteenth century this form was that of a harp or a wing (in German, Fl gel ). Besides, before 1750, there must have been a common understanding that all wing-shaped pianofortes, or Fl gel , belonged to the family of harpsichord instruments. The term hammer-harpsichord was in use in England during Charles Burney s lifetime. For a book written in English it is therefore appropriate to point to this clearly expressed fact in Burney s writings. Burney s use of harpsichord helps us understand that it referred to harpsichords with quills as well as harpsichords with hammers (or hammer-harpsichords as Burney called the new pianofortes in his historical survey). These two kinds of harpsichords were usually both called simply harpsichords. The very term hammer-harpsichord certainly proves that there is a difference between Burney s understanding of the term and that of the many modern musicians and musicologists who still wrongly assume that an eighteenth-century harpsichord had only quills plucking the strings and could not possibly have had hammers touching the strings. The eighteenth-century meaning of harpsichord in its broader generic sense as a large stringed keyboard instrument, regardless of whether it had quills or hammer actions or both, has been acknowledged in the meanwhile by an increasing number of musicologists and also by some musicians; but the great majority of present-day musicians are still not aware of this fact and its implications. Therefore, I decided to begin the introduction to this book with Burney s statements that demonstrate clearly the differing eighteenth-century meaning of harpsichord , thus making apparent that it is not my subjective personal belief but a historical fact and an objectively proven reality. In Burney s time harpsichord could also mean a hammer-harpsichord.
When in 1980 I tried for the first time to publish facts that I thought proved beyond doubt that for eighteenth-century musicians such terms as harpsichord or cembalo simply referred to their wing-shaped form of stringed keyboard instruments, regardless of whether the strings were plucked or made to vibrate with the help of tangents or hammers, I was myself not yet aware of the important implications of this misunderstanding among musicians. Indeed, it took me many years to see how this terminology had caused far-reaching misunderstandings. Often a slightly distorted and lopsided historical view ( Geschichtsbild ) was one of the unfortunate results of the misunderstanding. Today, even those colleagues who concur with the fact that the mentioned terms have a different meaning in modern times than they had in the eighteenth century do not realize that some relevant strong (though often unconscious) prejudices were created long ago by the misperception and are still influential. What does the title of a composition such as Harpsichord Sonata or Sonata da Cembalo mean? We all (me included) still have to fight our probably unnoticed subconscious assumption that a harpsichord is an instrument with quills when asking ourselves which eighteenth-century sonatas were obviously composed for quilled harpsichords and which may have already been intended to be played primarily on a hammer-harpsichord if such an instrument was available. Traditional understanding is a mighty force against any change of perception. This book s writing and its long gestation will not have been in vain if in the future, when we encounter the terms harpsichord, clavecin , or cembalo in an eighteenth-century context, we will force ourselves to ask whether perhaps a hammer-harpsichord was meant; in a few cases we might feel obliged to change our old perception.
I considered it necessary to discuss the consequences of this evidence of a wrong perception in a book and not only in an article because there are still far too many musicians and music lovers around who have no idea about this eighteenth-century terminology problem. During the last decades, however, other tasks and problems had left me little time for planning the final outline for a book. A few chapters, written before 1990, became shorter articles and informed a script for a TV documentary, History of the Pianoforte , a series of three films made for the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, and the documentary s highlights were published in 1999 and 2013 by Indiana University Press on VHS and DVD. 3
Art in general is not democratic, and great music in particular is written by individuals and not by committees or democratically elected majorities. Creators of great art music such as Domenico Scarlatti, Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Mozart, Muzio Clementi, or Ludwig van Beethoven, all excellent keyboard players, often composed in styles unusual for their time and far ahead of it. Surely they all tried to get the best instruments from the best builders. It seems obvious to me that, as ambitious keyboard performers, they took pains to use the best keyboard instruments available. Subjects of interest are of course what instruments by which maker were they able to acquire and play. Naturally, more composers and more instrument builders could or should have been discussed in this connection, and the reader may rightly criticize the omission of a proper discussion of such keyboard (pianist) composers as Johann Gottfried M thel, Leopold Kozeluch, or Jan Louis Dussek. But, regrettably, space restrictions demanded their omission.
Great instrument builders profited from Bartolomeo Cristofori s hammer-action invention and came in direct contact with great composers: Gottfried Silbermann, Zacharias Hildebrandt, Christian Ernst Friederici, Franz Jacob Sp th, Johann Andreas Stein, the brothers Wenzel and Johann Schantz, Anton Walter, S bastien Erard, John Joseph Merlin, and John Broadwood-all of them ingenious technicians and inventors with musical ears and often musical training as well. Most were able players of their instruments and all probably were driven to construct the very best instrument of its kind. Great composers are literally outstanding, and so are great inventors among instrument builders. Thus, their achievements and their collaborations with musicians are of the highest interest, and their collaborations deserve careful investigation.
Personal tastes probably differed as much in the eighteenth century as they do today or in any century. Some composers were mainly interested in opera and other vocal music and notably less concerned about musical instruments; this allowed me to exclude them. The book concentrates on the most interesting personalities in connection with their choice of keyboard instruments as virtuoso performers and omits many composers and instrument builders-an unavoidable restriction.
A lack of a proper perception of German regional differences regarding the use of old terms also led seemingly to some misperceptions. To fully understand regional developments in this interesting century and to connect historical events involved required addressing the questions of why and how the already existing undeniable general desire to have ever-greater expressive interpretative possibilities did not everywhere result in a quicker general acceptance of hammer-harpsichords. It turns out, however, that an acceptance of the hammer-harpsichord in exceptional individual cases did indeed happen quickly, apparently because some great keyboard composers managed to overcome certain obstacles. In the extraordinary case of Domenico Scarlatti that acceptance led to astonishing compositional results. Therefore, in my historical survey, I have striven also to demonstrate through whom and how these extraordinary developments occurred, leading in those single cases to the full acceptance of the newly invented cembalo piano e forte , or hammer-harpsichord.
Because of the recent discovery of most important documents that shed new light on the biographies of two instrument builders, Johann Andreas Stein and Anton Walter, I had to take up again a previous controversy regarding the dating of fortepianos made by these two builders. These new documents clarify older positions. They overturn opinions published in the 1990s arguing for earlier accomplishments in English pianoforte building compared to German and Viennese achievements. These important documents certainly deserve a discussion because they call for a reevaluation of controversial dates.
A written description of musical sounds is like a written depiction of the taste of foods-it does not satisfy. For this reason, I always want to hear the sounds made by the most interesting historical pianos. Many of these instruments (most often found in museums if they are not part of private collections) are usually in deplorable condition and thus unplayable. For the Badura-Skoda collection of old keyboard instruments, however, it was Paul Badura-Skoda s and my ambition to restore all our instruments and then maintain the best fortepianos in our collection in a playable condition. Today pianists can try out most of these instruments in the Musikinstrumenten-Museum in castle Kremsm nster in Upper Austria. It also was my desire to reconstruct such an important historical instrument as the keyed pantalone (known to us by descriptions only-all samples are lost) because after 1704 pantalones became immensely popular and influenced the taste of Germans and thus also the construction of pianofortes in Germany. (A reconstructed keyed pantalone can be heard on The History of the Pianoforte DVD. The instrument is now part of the exhibit Musical Instruments at the Technisches Museum in Vienna).
All translations are by me if not otherwise noted. The names of Slavic composers and instrument makers are spelled as they are in manuscripts of the eighteenth century. Many books and articles that I read over the years are not listed in the selected bibliography; I mention mainly those books and articles that I consulted more often or that are of special use for historians and need attention. References for secondary literature of less importance in connection with the main topic are only in footnotes, because otherwise the bibliography list would have become too long.

1 . The positivistic approach when judging documents is still fashionable and sometimes indeed misleading. As an example one could mention Ralph Kirkpatrick s contention that Scarlatti composed most of his discussed 555 sonatas in his last years because the sources tell us that they were written during the 1740s and 1750s. But is the conclusion that they were composed that late realistic and plausible? Certainly not, and the general agreement today is that Scarlatti s earliest known sonatas were probably composed already in Naples, Rome, or Venice, the essercizi anyway in Lisbon, and thus composition dates were often earlier.
2 . Israel Studies in Musicology 2 (1980): 77-99.
3 . E. Badura-Skoda, The History of the Pianoforte: A Documentary in Sound (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013), DVD.
IN WRITING THIS BOOK I enjoyed the great support of Malcolm Bilson, and I cannot thank him enough for his enthusiasm and all the time he devoted to reading and commenting on the chapters. His interest and his valuable suggestions were most welcome. The book was first improved by Bruce Cooper-Clarke, who unselfishly took the time to read my typescripts and suggest better and shorter ways of expression. For commentaries I owe thanks also to Paul Badura-Skoda; for his and for Peter G lke s encouragement I am most grateful. I am also grateful for the support of Carlo Grante and Helen Heslop. Their enthusiasm was a great help, and Helen s command of American English improved the text. John Koster and Ulrich Leisinger too commented on my manuscript and discovered errors. Koster especially deserves my thanks, because he gave me confidence that the book merits attention, and his hospitality in Vermillion was a wonderful experience.
Thanks are also due to Raina Polivka of Indiana University Press, who in many ways made the book more readable; for instance, she allowed footnotes and did not insist on notes hidden somewhere in the book. I am sure my readers will thank her for this decision.
BETWEEN THE EIGHTEENTH AND TWENTIETH CENTURIES the meanings of harpsichord, clavecin , and cembalo underwent an evolution. Most musicians and many musicologists today are still not aware of the change. Proper perception of these terms, however, is important for a better understanding of how Bartolomeo Cristofori s ingenious invention of a hammer action came to be accepted. Many believe that all eighteenth-century harpsichords had quills, not just the revived harpsichord of the twentieth century (which is indeed an instrument with quills); this, however, was not the case.
The change in perception is not my subjective opinion but recorded by numerous documents in various languages. I begin this book by quoting extensively from Charles Burney, whose understanding of harpsichord , as well as clavecin and cembalo , is illuminating.
In England in Burney s time Cristofori s piano was considered a member of the harpsichord family and, therefore, called a cembalo . Charles Burney wrote a short history for Rees s Cyclopaedia of the two kinds of harpsichords:
HARPSICHORD , in Music, a keyed instrument of the string kind. It is in fact a horizontal harp, which instrument if strung with wire, and played with a quill like a mandoline, would have the same effect. Its tone is produced by jacks quilled with crow or raven quills . A single harpsichord of two unisons and one set of keys, was in effect a double SPINET or VIRGINAL .
But a double harpsichord used to have two sets of keys and three strings, two unisons and an octave to each note. Merlin, we believe, was the first who changed the octave stop to a third unison, about the year 1770, which rendered the instrument equally powerful, and less subject to go out of tune; the octave stop being so much affected by the least change in the temperature of the air, that it almost instantly discovered when there was a change in the wind.
Besides arming the tongues of the jacks with crow or raven quills, several other means were tried by which to produce a softer tone, and to be more durable; as a quilling the harpsichord with three stops was nearly a day s work: leather, ivory and other elastic substances were tried, but what they gained in sweetness, was lost in spirit.
The best harpsichords of the eighteenth century, were made by Ruckers of Antwerp, and his family; Geronimo of Florence, Coushette, Tabel, and Kirkman, and Shudi, Tabel s foremen.
However, in the beginning of the last century, hammer harpsichords were invented at Florence, of which there is a description in the Giornale d Italia, 1711. The invention made but a slow progress. The first that was brought to England was made by an English monk at Rome, Father Wood, for an English friend (the late Samuel Crisp, Esq., of Chesington, author of Virginia, A Tragedy , and) a man of learning, and of excellent taste in all the fine arts. 1
The tone of this instrument was so superior to that produced by quills, with the additional power of producing all the shades of piano and forte by the finger that though the touch and mechanism were so imperfect that nothing quick could be executed upon it, yet the Dead March in Saul , and other solemn and pathetic strains, when executed with taste and feeling by a master a little accustomed to the touch, excited equal wonder and delight to the hearers. Fulk Greville, esq., purchased this instrument of Mr. Crisp for 100 guineas, and it remained unique in this country for several years, till Plenius, the maker of the lyrichord, tuned by weights and the tone produced by wheels, made a piano-forte in imitation of that of Mr. Greville. Of this instrument the touch is better, but the tone very much inferior.
Backers, a harpsichord maker of the second rank, constructed several piano-fortes, and improved the mechanism in some particulars, but the tone, with all the delicacy of [the pianist Christoph Gottlieb] Schroeter s touch, lost the spirit of the harpsichord and gained nothing in sweetness.
After the arrival of John Chr. Bach in this country, and the establishment of his concert series in conjunction with Abel, all the harpsichord makers tried their mechanical powers at piano-fortes; but the first attempts were always on the large size, till Zump , a German, who had long worked under Shudi, constructed small piano-fortes of the shape and size of the virginal, of which the tone was very sweet, and the touch, with a little use, equal to any degree of rapidity. These, from their low price, and the convenience of their form, as well as power of expression, suddenly grew into such favor, that there was scarcely a house in the kingdom where a keyed-instrument had ever had admission, but was supplied with one of Zump s piano-fortes for which there was nearly as great a call in France as in England. In short, he could not make them fast enough to satisfy the craving of the public. Pohlman, whose instruments were very inferior in tone, fabricated an almost infinite number for such [purchasers] as Zump was unable to supply. Large piano-fortes afterwards receiving great improvement in the mechanism by Merlin, and in the tone by Broadwood and Stoddard, the harsh scratching of the quills of a harpsichord can now no longer be borne. During the last century, the eminent Italian performers on, and composers for the [hammer] harpsichord, were Domenico Scarlatti, Alberti, Paradies, and Clementi. Among our great organ players, Kelway, Dr. Worgan, and Mr. C. Burney acquired great reputation by their performance of the harpsichord, as did Mrs. Wynne, Miss Best, and Mrs. C. Burney. In France, Couperin, Jaig, Balbastre, Schobert at Strasbourg, and in Germany Emanuel Bach and innumerable others].
Burney s article in Rees s Cyclopaedia has been quoted here nearly in its entirety to demonstrate the extent to which Burney as a representative of his time understood the term harpsichord -not only in the early 1800s, when this article was compiled, but throughout his life. The German term piano-forte for the hammer-harpsichord had been known to Burney since the 1740s, as I show below, but in this article he preferred to speak of hammer harpsichords. And it seems quite clear that, for him, piano-forte continued to mean a harpsichord; to distinguish between the two types of harpsichords, although he occasionally used hammer harpsichord and common harpsichord, that was only if special circumstances required it. And-like his contemporaries-Burney apparently did not feel the need to always carefully distinguish harpsichords with quills from those with hammers but neither was he the only English musician who spoke of hammer-harpsichords. For instance, following a shipwreck in 1774, in New York City a set of hammer-harpsichords slightly damaged was sold at an auction. 2
Other writing of Charles Burney bears out my claim that a harpsichord could have been a hammer-harpsichord and still be referred to only as a harpsichord. In Memoirs of Dr. Charles Burney, 1726-1769 , compiled from Burney s diary, are major parts of his Rees s Cyclopaedia article in an entry from 1747, including hammer harpsichord. 3 This 1747 entry proves that Burney used older manuscript notes when writing his article for Rees s Cyclopaedia (printed in 1819). In 1747 Burney was twenty-one years old and employed by the household of Fulk Greville to make music every evening. The 1747 diary entry includes remarks about the large P.F. (piano-forte) that Greville possessed and Burney was often asked to play:
It had a magnificent and new effect in the Chiar oscuro of which with a little use it was capable. Experience was necessary to the performer upon it-which by living in the house and trying effects and discovering the degree of force or delicacy of touch it was capable of, I gained considerable credit in showing it off. And afterwards, when Plinius had constructed a Piano Piece, as he called it in imitation of Mr. Greville s large P.F., he solicited me to display its powers to the public. But then I [soon] had other employments which I liked better than that of a shew [show]man. 4
Notice that already in 1747 Burney abbreviated piano-forte, referring to the hammer-harpsichord, to P.F. He must have been one of the very few Englishmen who-perhaps through correspondence with partners in Germany-had learned this new German name. And how interesting is his statement that in these early days of his life he had already learned to play the hammer-harpsichord.
Several other proofs exist of the interchangeability of the terms harpsichord and pianoforte in Burney s writings. For instance, when visiting Farinelli in Bologna in 1770 he wrote in his diary (a passage he subsequently added to the second edition of his report of his European tours),
Signor Farinelli has long left off singing, but amuses himself still on the harpsichord and viol d amour: he has a great number of harpsichords made in different countries, which he has named according to the place they hold in his favour, after the greatest of the Italian painters. His first favourite is a piano forte, made in Florence in the year 1730, on which is written in gold letters Rafael d Urbino. 5
This piano, by the way, was made by Giovanni Ferrini according to his teacher s method, as Giovenale Sacchi remarked in his biography of Farinelli that appeared in 1784. 6
Another proof is in Burney s A General History of Music :
Kozeluch is an admirable young composer of Vienna, whose works were first made known in England by the neat and accurate execution of Mademoiselle Paradis, the blind performer on the harpsichord, in 1785. 7
But when writing a newspaper article about Theresia Paradis s concert, Burney titled it An Account of Mademoiselle Theresa Paradis of Vienna, the Celebrated Performer on the Piano Forte.
During the 1760s Burney spent the summer months with his family in Chesington at the house of Samuel Crisp, the first to bring a hammer-harpsichord to England. In 1764 he took care that his friend Crisp got a Zumpe piano. 8 But Burney expressly said in his harpsichord article for Rees s Cyclopaedia , All the harpsichord makers tried their mechanical powers at piano-fortes; but the first attempts were always on the large size. Did Crisp get from Johannes Zumpe a wing-shaped piano? Zumpe, upon arriving in England, trained as an instrument builder; working as journeyman for Burkat Shudi he probably at first built large pianos and only later the square ones the size of [a] virginal that made him famous. Few have asked whether Zumpe first made grand pianos before achieving great success with his ingeniously simple and cheaper-to-make square pianos.
Remember that Burney liked to play the large-sized pianoforte owned by his employer, Greville, in the 1740s and had a piano nearby in Crisp s house while vacationing there during the 1760s. Were the harpsichord concertos that Burney composed in those years intended to be played on large hammer-harpsichords? Concertos were hardly suitable for square pianos, needing the larger pianofortes because of their orchestral accompaniment. Thus, we may assume that in 1768 Johann Christian Bach most likely played in public on a grand piano, because of the loudness of an orchestra, and not on a small and much quieter square piano as is often asserted in the literature. The concerts at court or in the relatively small halls and salons of the 1760s and 1770s do not compare to modern concert life and the size of today s concert halls, but public concerts in London during that time were held increasingly in larger rooms and halls. In palaces the rooms and halls used for performances of music had always been larger than those in private circles. In English bourgeois circles after 1765 the famous square pianos of Zumpe and his German colleagues certainly were sufficiently loud to be heard with enjoyment by a small audience. In London s public concert halls, however, such as the Large Room in the Thatched House Tavern in St. James Street or (slightly later) in the Hanover Square Rooms, the keyboard instruments used by J. C. Bach and Carl Friedrich Abel in their concerts were certainly wing-shaped grand pianos.
Burney bought from John Joseph Merlin, the ingenious mechanical inventor mentioned in his Rees s Cyclopaedia article, two exceptionally large harpsichords-one in 1774 or 1775 probably a combined harpsichord-piano, and the other in 1777 a grand pianoforte with a six-octave range (see chap. 12 ). While in his Rees s Cyclopaedia article (second paragraph) Burney refers to this piano as a harpsichord, he describes it in his will as my large Piano Forte with additional keys at the top and the bottom, originally made by Merlin, with a Compass of six Octaves, the first that was ever constructed expressly at my desire for duets quatre mains in 1777. This description of the harpsichord as a pianoforte was certainly not a slip of the pen, because in 1812 Burney wrote to John Broadwood asking [for] a foreman to regulate the hammers and touch of his 6 octave pianoforte. 9
These examples of Burney s perceptions of the term harpsichord are probably sufficient to convince readers that Burney understood it in a widened sense that referred to the form only. In his time he was certainly not alone in his broader understanding of it. Likewise, clavecin and cembalo even after 1765 referred to the form and thus were merely terms for keyboard instruments in a wing, or fl gel , form and were often still used for harpsichords with and without quills. Additional words such as maillets, con martelli , or martellini were relatively seldom added; in Germany after 1765 we encounter the terms Hammerfl gel and Kielfl gel .
Only slowly did a clear distinction between harpsichords with quills and with hammers become desirable or necessary. On the European continent during the second half of the eighteenth century the term pianoforte was not readily accepted everywhere. Italy especially was slower than southern German-speaking countries, France, or England to accept pianoforte or fortepiano (see chap. 2 ). During the last quarter of the century, alongside with fortepiano , in Vienna fl gel became standard.
Trained historians often have difficulty these days in elucidating and clarifying for the nonhistorians among musicians and musical instrument makers one of the most confusing problems of historical research: that of the constant alterations in the development of living languages, especially when it comes to local meanings of words, such as the widening or narrowing of meanings of specific terms. For instance, the German language was in use in many parts of Europe but word meanings and concepts differed among them. We find sizable language differences between the northern and southern regions of Germany and among the Netherlands, the Flemish region, Switzerland, and Austria. Several of these linguistic differences were not recognized until after 1800, when the language of the Netherlands and the Flemish part of Belgium were officially accepted as distinct from German rather than as mere dialects of it.
Words and meanings change over centuries. Etymological dictionaries are filled with words employed only locally or during certain time spans. Just as Italian, Spanish, French, Czech, and Hungarian influenced the Viennese language in former times, today s pervasive influence of the English language is why a new edition of a dictionary of Austrian terms ( sterreichisches W rterbuch ) was needed in recent decades. The dictionary contains about seventy thousand words that are essentially unknown or only half understood in north and central Germany, and many more words in Viennese slang dialect are not yet listed in it.
Also in the nomenclature of musical instruments and concepts, historians observe changes in the meaning of terms. Some examples illustrate this: During the Middle Ages, cembalo designated a totally different instrument from that of the eighteenth or twentieth century. In the writings of Johannes de Muris it was the name for the organistrum (a kind of forerunner of the Baroque hurdy-gurdy). Likewise, during the Middle Ages cymbal referred to small bells. Even for Gioseffo Zarlino in the sixteenth century cembalo meant a Schellentrommel , or tambourine (in fact, Koch s music dictionary of 1802 at the very beginning mentions that the term cembalo was also used for the Schellencymbal ). It stands to reason that concepts often were also subject to various special connotations. Language specialists conclude that during the Enlightenment, especially in northern Germany, narrowing of meanings was more frequent than widening. Doubtless this was due to the north German tendency-during this period especially pronounced-of systematizing concepts and creating clear and distinguishable definitions. It was this tendency that led in Berlin to a new, precise but clearly narrowed use of Kielfl gel instead of the broader Fl gel , a meaning not generally known or accepted in the Catholic south of Germany. In the Wiener Diarium in 1725 the organ-builder Christoph Leo of Augsburg advertised a Fl gel mit und ohne Kiele (fl gel with and without quills). In the last decades of that century fl gel was used as a common name for the fortepiano. Not in Salzburg, in Vienna, or elsewhere in the Catholic south was the north-German narrowing of the meaning of fl gel to kielfl gel that occurred around 1750 generally accepted.
The eighteenth century encompassed many political, social, and cultural changes. A growing spirit of enlightenment produced great changes in the lifestyle of various parts of European society. The old guild system was everywhere criticized and if possible abolished or allowed to die out. Special permissions for manufacturers and an increase in merchandise consumption eventually allowed gifted craftsmen of the eighteenth century to work more freely and with greater financial success. New ideas about peoples health and the supply of sufficient food for all evolved in Europe. They resulted in developments such as improvements of cleanliness and medical care, mechanical and administrative innovations for increased productivity, the end of mercantilism, and the liberalization of trade rules. Gradual alterations of social conventions and the abolition of certain guild absurdities and restrictions were followed by a higher life expectancy and in many regions by population growth and wealth. All this and mechanical inventions made labor more productive, increasing the supply of all sorts of goods.
But the century was certainly not a peaceful one. Italy and Germany were split into several small kingdoms, dukedoms, republics, and even smaller independent cities. The wars of the seventeenth century had strengthened the power of France and England. Portugal and Spain became immensely rich through imports of goods and gold from Brazil and other parts of South America. The beginning of the century saw the war of the Spanish succession, which led to the House of Habsburg losing the Spanish throne to a French dynasty and also territory in the Netherlands. The French army fought against the Austrian army in Spain, Italy, and the old Burgundian territory in the north of France. The Habsburg monarchs loss of territory in the north of France was caused by clever French diplomatic activities and French agreements with the Turkish Empire: France initiated war in southeastern Europe. Austria s army under Prince Eugene of Savoy was forced to give up ground in the north of France and race to southeast Europe to fight the Turks in Hungary and Serbia. During the whole eighteenth century, however, the Habsburgs continued as the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. But the emperor s power when meeting dukes and kings or their ambassadors at the annual Reichstag in Regensburg became more and more limited. After the death of Emperor Charles VI in 1740, a German succession war in Bavaria endangered the Habsburg Empire, and around the middle of the century three Silesian wars between the Prussian king Frederick II and the Holy Roman empress Maria Theresa were fought on Saxon, Silesian, and Bohemian soil, bringing losses and suffering especially to the people of Saxony and Silesia. In 1778 a Bavarian succession war broke out, and toward the end of the 1780s Austria had once again to fight the Turks in Serbia. In 1789 peace in France came to an end with the French Revolution. A few years later the Napoleonic Wars brought destruction and famine to several European continental regions; the populations of these regions came under huge military and economic pressure.
Great changes were also taking place in Europe s musical life in the course of the eighteenth century, foremost being the change from Baroque grandeur to the far more graceful but also usually simpler homophonic galant cantabile style of the Rococo period. One of these changes resulted vocally in the invention of simpler arias and airs for intermezzi, opere bernesche , and opere buffe . Instrumental music for ballets and dances became literally divertimenti. Keyboard music in a mostly two-part texture became fashionable, with shorter melodic phrases in often symmetrically built periods combined with a predilection for dance rhythms. All these style changes can be first seen in Italian music, but the trends spread to other countries as traveling Italian musicians helped their dissemination. We find traces of modern galant music in the compositions of lesser-known composers as well as in those of the great composers Domenico Scarlatti, Georg Friedrich Handel, and Johann Sebastian Bach, all three born in 1685. Even in the works of an older generation of musicians, such as Antonio Vivaldi, Antonio Caldara, or Johann Joseph Fux, we see evidence of these trends. By 1720 the old church modes were outdated, and the keyboard solo works renewed intense discussion of tuning problems with modulating into distant keys. Was meantone tuning the best or at least a passable and enduring system? Did it not hamper the harmonic fantasy and limit the possibilities of composers who liked to modulate into all possible keys when playing a keyboard instrument? J. S. Bach s attitude is the best-known example of how a then modern composer reacted: he composed the Well-Tempered Clavier and wrote his preludes and fugues in all twenty-four keys. He did this because he obviously disliked the restrictions of the traditional tuning systems. Domenico Scarlatti also showed a preference for a tuning system allowing all harmonic modulations. For instance, he composed a sonata in F-sharp Major, an unusual key in his time, and sometimes he modulated within a sonata into distant keys, a parallel courageous move comparable to J. S. Bach s Well-Tempered Clavier .
Tuning problems were naturally of lesser relevance and importance for Handel s preferred domain of vocal music than for keyboard players. During most of the eighteenth century vocal music was still considered the most important kind of music and the voice the shining example of ideal sonority, to be imitated by all instrumental music, which increasingly was required to be cantabile. Successful opera composers and great singers were highly respected and earned more applause and more money than all other musicians. However, after 1750 or at the latest during the third quarter of the century, instrumental music gained status, especially in Germany.
Around 1700 and as late as 1750 Italy was still generally considered the leading country in musical matters. Because vocal music was believed to be more important than instrumental music, all instrumentalists were asked to imitate the singing style of the voice. Italian opera composers and singers, but also instrumental performers, were swarming over the courts of Europe and were paid more than local musicians. Germany s many dukedoms, tiny regional courts, and independent cities competed with each other in their ambition to show off an impressive musical life, and efforts were made to hire Italian musicians not only in the Catholic part of Germany. The preference for Italian culture in general, for architects and painters as well as poets, opera librettists, and musicians, was evident; they were admired everywhere north of the Alps. In J. S. Bach s and as late as in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart s time, many Italian musicians traveled to countries as far away as England or Russia, and the language of opera performances remained Italian with only a few exceptions. As far away as Saint Petersburg, Italian architects were employed by Catherine the Great to give the city its marked Italian look, still visible today.
In Vienna, for more than a century during the Baroque period the Habsburg emperors had employed only Italian composers as their Hofkapellmeister . This came to a halt in 1715 with the appointment of Johann Joseph Fux as first Hofkapellmeister. 10 But most of the employed musicians surrounding Fux were still Italians: his Vicekapellmeister , Antonio Caldara, and the court composers Carlo Agostino Badia, Francesco Conti, Giuseppe Porsile, and Giuseppe Bonno-none needed to learn German while employed in Vienna, since Italian was the court language until the death of Emperor Charles VI in 1740. 11 Around 1720, more than 10 percent of the Viennese population were Italians by birth and even more were second generation. Thus, many Italians did not find it necessary then or for some decades to learn German. Famous Italian literary celebrities such as Apostolo Zeno and Pietro Metastasio were employed by the emperor as court poets, and they supplied the Italian court composers with Italian libretti for the opere serie and for oratorie performed at court. The fight against the solmization system, started by Mattheson in his book Das besch tzte Orchester , was rejected by Fux. It shows how much Italian practice and theory influenced musical decisions at the Viennese court: unlike northern and German composers (including Georg Philipp Telemann, Handel, and Bach), Fux defended the solmization syllables (supposedly invented seven centuries earlier by Guido of Arezzo), and they are indeed still in use in Italy, Spain, Portugal, and France (though supplied with a seventh syllable to simplify the abolished hexachord system). In a letter written by Fux to Mattheson and quoted in volume 2 of the latter s Critica Musica , Fux argued for the solmization syllables:
Als in diesen Landten wegen der Beschw rlichkeit der Aretinischen Sylben sich niemand beklaget, sondern im Gegenthaill deren gute W rkhung t glich zu Geh r kommet: indem allhir Knaben von 9 und 10 Jahren zu finden, welche die schw reste st ckhe all improviso wekh singen, welches ia nit sein kunte, wan die Aretinische Erfindung so voller iammer und ellend w re: Auch bleibt man in Italien, allwo ohne Widerredt die vornehmsten Singer hervorkommen, noch immer bey dieser methode; und weillen ia Hamburg nit die gantze musikalische Welt ist, und nur aldorten so beschw rlich ist, die Singkunst auf solche wei zu erlernen, so la ichs gar gern geschehen, da man alldorten das ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la, zu Grabe tragen m ge. 12
(In these countries nobody protested against the difficulties of [using] the syllables of Guido of Arezzo, [on] the contrary: their good effect can be heard every day; boys nine or ten years old are found here who can sing the most difficult pieces by sight, which suggests that Arezzo s invention could not be so wretched and deplorable. This method is still maintained in Italy, the country that unarguably produces the best singers. Since Hamburg, however, is not the whole musical world, and because there it seems to be so difficult to learn the art of singing in this manner, I would gladly see ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la laid to rest.)
Joseph Haydn and Franz Schubert received their musical training and learned solmization syllables at the Imperial Court Chapel, and Fux s treatise Singfundament , which contains delightful little duets, was still considered worth reprinting in Vienna by Diabelli in 1832.
During the Baroque period Vienna had close political ties with the Iberian Peninsula and after 1711 with Italy, greatly influencing not only the musical scene but also the architecture of the imperial city of Vienna and affecting all facets of life. In the eighteenth century Pietro Metastasio, Ranieri de Calzabigi, and Lorenzo Da Ponte were writing in Italian their best libretti for the Viennese Court Theatre.
What is sometimes not properly perceived by musicologists (especially by those not steeped in the political history of the Continent) is that in Austria during the eighteenth century feelings of national pride played practically no role compared to later times; on the other hand, religious orientation was still highly important. German states and regions were more united by their religious and political connections and less by nationalistic sympathies. Therefore, Burney could observe,
It is difficult to reconcile it with the present religious tranquility of Germany, and progress of human reason; but there seems an unwillingness in the inhabitants of the Protestant states of Germany to allow due praise to the musical works and opinions of the Catholics. And, on the contrary, the Catholics appear equally unwilling to listen to the musical strains of the Protestants. Thus the compositions of the Bachs, Grauns, and Bendas, are little known at Vienna; and at Berlin or Hamburg, those of Wagenseil, Hofmann, Ditters, Gluck, Haydn, Vanhal, and Pleyel, are not only less played and approved than at Vienna or Munich, but infinitely less than in France, Spain, Italy, or England. 13
By the middle of the eighteenth century, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation had lost most of his influence in the Protestant north of Germany. It took Emperor Carl Stephan of Lothringen (Lorraine), Maria Theresa s husband, many years and a war against Bavaria to be crowned German emperor, and his decisions at the Reichstag in Regensburg became more and more a matter of the past. The three Silesian wars during the midcentury decades against the proud Prussian king Friedrich II renewed Austrian aversions against Prussia. They are witness to the true border through the German-speaking continent, a fault line between Catholic and Protestant countries, created after the cruel religious Thirty Years War of the seventeenth century. The Silesian wars of the eighteenth century firmly established certain feelings against Piefkes (Prussians) that can still be observed in today s Vienna.
The musical life in Berlin and other Protestant parts of Germany differed in many respects from that of southern Germany. A cantor of a Protestant church was usually not only a well-trained organist and as such able to improvise preludes and compose church cantatas and choral works but often had university training if employed in a larger city. Thus, he could also easily serve as a teacher at the local Latin school, and theoretical discourses were often very much to their taste.
Burney made another important observation during his visit to Berlin:
These [books by Quantz, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Marpurg, Kirnberger, Agricola] and innumerable other musical tracts and treatises, about this time, with endless controversies between the authors and severe treatment of each other, made musical people in the northern parts of Germany much more wise and fastidious, perhaps, than happy. Of late years the monthly and annual publications of musical critics, of different musical sects and principles, are carried on with great spirit. 14
And in a footnote he added,
([North] Germany had in 1773, at least thirty reviews for different branches of literature, to which have been since added innumerable works of criticism on musical productions: as Reichardt s Kunst-Magazin, or Magazine for the musical Art; Cramer s Magazin der Musik; Forkel s Musikalisch-Kritische Bibliothek, and Musical Almanach, with an Almanack for Musik and Painting, etc. etc. What Hudibras says of reformers and religious disputants, seems applicable to these tuneful discussions in [north] Germany:
As if their Music were intended
For nothing else but to be mended. )
In southern Germany s Catholic countries, however, church music was directed by a regens chori . Such Catholic musicians were certainly more interested in musica pratica than in theoretical discourses that usually were beyond their more modest education. Sometimes professional musicians were employed only as organists or choir directors. Occasionally, however, the music teacher of a German school had to take over one of these roles. In monasteries, trained musicians among the monks often carried out this task and the many musical duties connected with supervising desired church, chamber, and theater musical performances. In most Austrian and Bavarian monasteries during the eighteenth century, especially in Benedictine abbeys, music had an important place. Although copies or even originals of the best music of the day from these music libraries survive, the musical instruments that also must have existed in former times often had disappeared after 1820, perhaps because they had gone out of use and became unplayable. They probably would have needed costly repair for which there was neither money nor interest. This may be why (unfortunate for us) so few original hammer-harpsichords of the eighteenth century are preserved; they could tell us more about the development of pianofortes in German-speaking countries, Italy, or the Iberian Peninsula.
During most of the eighteenth century many talented musical instrument makers faced difficulties and obstacles due to the rules and restrictions of the dominant old guild system. In particular, intelligent young craftsmen with creative ideas who were eager to experiment independently confronted severe problems from guild restrictions.
Since the Middle Ages, all craftsmen in larger Continental cities were required to become members of a guild, not only craftsmen but also merchants, tradesmen, and shopkeepers. This organizational form, founded and legalized by medieval city administrations who sponsored and supervised the privileges, rights, and obligations of guilds, was still common throughout the whole Baroque period. By then, all guild-organized trade was subject to far too many regulations, traditions, and prohibitions, dominated as it was by old guild rituals. Every craftsman was expected to be a member of a guild and because the number of certain musical instrument makers was usually too small for a separate guild, organ builders and makers of stringed keyboard instruments often had to become members of a related larger guild, which in their case usually was the cabinetmaker or joiner guild. Similarly, woodwind instrument makers often became members of the guild of lathe workers. There was a practical reason for organ builders and other keyboard instrument makers forming usually one group in German-speaking countries: demand for church organs was limited, and the opportunity to build a chamber organ did not occur very often. But all kinds of stringed keyboard instruments were in more regular demand and could help organ makers survive times with no commission to build an organ. Besides, both groups needed keyboards. In larger German cities and sometimes also in the Habsburg crown countries, organ and instrument makers were numerous enough to form a separate guild-for instance, in Vienna during some decades.
In a few countries, regions, or independent cities, some organ builders escaped the obligation to join a guild. They argued that they should be considered artists, and by tradition artists such as composers and painters were allowed to work independently. But in other cities, organ and stringed-keyboard instrument builders often were harassed by guild masters. Many organ and instrument builders who tried to work independently usually lost their fight with the guild masters. For instance, in Leipzig in 1700 the carpenter guild started a lawsuit against the organ-builder Christoph Donati and in 1732 against the organ-builder Johann Scheibe. 15
Nowadays, three centuries later and after the Enlightenment and the beginning of industrialization, it is difficult to imagine just how much the feudal elements in the social system of the Baroque period influenced and even determined the everyday life of the people. At the beginning of the eighteenth century serfdom was still considered part of the natural order. Slave markets in Africa, the Caribbean islands, and America were booming. In Europe a man was lucky if he was born a free citizen of a city or received citizenship through family ownership of a house or land; had a respectable occupation (e.g., notary, innkeeper, or tradesman); was a priest, cantor, schoolmaster, or organist; or was a craftsman employed by a court or a monastery and thus in the fortunate position of being more or less independent and free to build what he wanted. A free citizen and a legally working guild master could carry on an occupation but would have to remain within guild restrictions. Journeymen, apprentices, and domestic servants living in their master s house, however, were not citizens but in bondage. For more than three-quarters of the eighteenth century they lived in extreme dependence and had no civil rights whatsoever.
To become a regular guild member in the Habsburg crown countries a boy had to start as an apprentice ( Lehrbub ) and serve his master a stipulated number of years, usually four or five yet sometimes as many as six years. To be accepted as an apprentice by a master a boy had to be born into a respectable ( ehrliche ) Catholic family. 16 In larger cities, the boy needed the recommendation of two persons known to the guild, and all boys had to pay a certain amount of money ( Aufdinggeb hr ), usually thirty-five gulden. If accepted to the guild, he then became a junior guild member. Only after completing his training and passing an examination ( Freisprechung or Lossprechung ) was the apprentice allowed to leave his master. He was now a Geselle (journeyman). As such he needed to pay a fee to become a member of a Gesellen-Bruderschaft , a kind of journeymen s union, and he was supposed to start an itinerant tour ( Wanderschaft ) of two, three, or more years. In Germany, during their Wanderschaft years the Gesellen were expected to gain additional skills, and ambitious young journeymen endeavored to find work with guild masters famous for their skill. A journeyman could seek out a master of his choice, and if he wanted he also could leave one employer for another. But journeymen in certain parts of the German Reich could not leave without special imperial permission.
Empress Maria Theresa during her reign (1740-1780) several times declared Wanderjahre (itinerant years) as not necessary for young craftsmen, but guilds and city authorities nevertheless continued to demand that journeymen applying to become guild masters prove they had worked for several years with competent masters in different cities or regions. Later, in E. T. A. Hoffmann and Schubert s time, these years of compulsory Wanderschaft were sometimes idealized as years of freedom, but in reality they probably were often years of want and hardship. It often was a matter of luck whether a journeyman obtained a decent job where he could learn something new in his craft.
Ambitious young craftsmen, therefore, tried to work for famous masters; they were even willing to travel very far, from one end of Germany to another, hoping to perhaps get employment in a famous workshop. Many young journeymen applied to work for one of the famous brothers Silbermann. The successful ones could claim to have learned their art from a famous member of the Silbermann family-a claim that would certainly help a young organ builder get a valuable organ-building contract. Andreas Silbermann s oldest son, Johann Andreas Silbermann, collected and preserved some letters from journeymen that his father or he had received. A gifted and diligent organ builder, he built fifty-seven in his life and was also an author. He wrote a history of Strasbourg ( Local-Geschichte der Stadt Stra burg ) and Beschreibung von Hohenburg oder dem St. Odilienberg . In addition, he left behind a diary and a considerable number of valuable notes, mostly professional descriptions of organs, but also comments on 192 mainly southern German or Swiss organ builders of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries listed in alphabetical order (in part collected from other books such as Burney s travel reports). In many cases he had inspected and evaluated the church organs of a great number of cities and monasteries and had made inquiries regarding their builders. Interesting for historians also are his notes about his father and his uncle Gottfried. These family history reports and occasional correspondence are illuminating.
After the death of Johann Andreas Silbermann, his children sold some of these papers to the city of Strasbourg. In 1870 the archive where they were stored was destroyed in a fire. Other of his papers, however, were kept by his children and grandchildren and were published by Marc Schaefer. 17 Among the typical inquiries that Johann Andreas Silbermann received is the following letter of May 8, 1760, written by a merchant, Grundler from Nuremberg:
Ich habe schon vor einiger Zeit von einem alhiesigen Schreiners Sohn, Nahmens Potechtel Erwehnung getan, da er gerne in Dero Diensten seyn m gte. Dieser nun hat seine Lehr Zeit bey einem hiesigen Orgelmacher Nahmens Kittelmann absolvieret, siehet aber gar recht ein, da ihm noch vieles verborgen, und w nschet nichts mehr als in Stra burg zu seyn. Da ich nun seiner guten Conduite mehr als wohl versichert und da er zimlich passabel das Clavier selber spielet, so nehme mir auf sein sehnliches Verlangen, abermals die Freyheit f r ihme bey [Mein hochgeehrter] Herrn zu introcediren. 18
(Some time ago I mentioned to you that the son of a local carpenter named Potechtel would love to work for you. This man has now finished his apprentice years with the local organ maker Kittelmann but understands that he needs more training. Since I can assure you of his decent behavior, I take on myself the liberty to his passionate longing and recommend him once again to you, highly esteemed master.)
Johann Andreas Silbermann added a note saying that Potechtel indeed came in June 1760 to Strasbourg and worked there a year for the Silbermann brothers.
Andreas Silbermann s observations and judgments about many organs that he had seen and heard on his travels, his befriending of organ makers, and his preserved correspondence tell us that he and his were regularly contacted with requests. Gottfried Silbermann, who also had many organ contracts to fulfill, was apparently very often visited by young journeymen in Freiberg, in Saxony; he employed many trained Gesellen who wanted to learn from him. Sometimes he had as many as fourteen journeymen, joiners, and apprentices working for him. Other organ builders corresponded with the elder Silbermann brothers and later with Gottfried s nephews, often asking whether they could recommend to them a former pupil and thus a well-trained journeyman for a special organ-building task.
Three years of working as a journeyman for a master were officially mandated before a journeyman could apply to present a masterpiece to guild masters and himself become a master. When the organ-builder Tobias Heinrich Gottfried Trost in 1734 needed professional helpers for building an organ in Altenburg, he asked Gottfried Silbermann if he could send him trained journeymen. Silbermann sent him Christian Ernst Friederici and another pupil named Graichen. 19 Friederici stayed three years in Altenburg with Trost before he opened his own workshop in Gera in 1737.
A journeyman usually lived in his master s house. If he wanted to marry, he first had to become a master; on the other hand, a guild master was expected to be married. The journeyman Zacharias Hildebrandt apparently apprenticed at first as cabinetmaker. In 1713 he requested training from Gottfried Silbermann as organ and instrument maker. But because he was unable to pay the usual sum for the required training period, a Lehrgeld , he had to sign a contract that contained conditions that complicated his later life as a master and provided only a small payment for his work. Other journeymen already trained in the art of organ and instrument making, however, received larger payment for their work and could leave whenever they wanted.
In most large cities an applicant for acceptance as guild master had to submit a masterpiece. All other local guild masters had to approve it, but established guild masters did not always welcome additional competition and regularly voted against newcomers. City authorities demanding tax payments could be another obstacle for a young journeyman in his quest to become a master because usually guild masters had to be citizens, which often required owning a house or otherwise required money that a Geselle normally did not have. Thus, guild rules and regulations obstructed healthy economic development in all trades-not only in Austria but also in other European countries. They had many licensing regulations to navigate, most designed to hinder foreign competition. Foreign applicants had considerable financial burdens, including an immigration tax (Dispense von der ausw rtigen Geburt) and a special license tax, on top of which came guild membership fees. Altogether these payments could keep competition away from the established guild masters. A journeyman serving a master and living in his house had few chances to earn enough money to become independent because he usually was forbidden to construct and sell products by working after hours. If the journeyman was ambitious and eager to invent something extraordinary, wanted to marry, or had his own ideas about a successful career, all the restrictions were often too hard to overcome. Finding a patron or illegal work were the only alternatives.
Musicians employed by noblemen or bishops or otherwise in the service of a lord or master sometimes suffered a similar fate. 20 Town musicians employed by the city-the German Stadtpfeifer or even street musicians-also had to join a guild. 21 As the number of guild-approved masters in a trade or craft remained limited in many cities until far into the eighteenth century, most journeymen could not become guild masters in the city of their apprenticeship. Their main option was usually to start their Wanderschaft years and serve another master for at least three years. There were only two exceptions to this rule: First, when a guild master died and his trained son-after having already worked as a journeyman-was destined to take over his late father s workshop, the son was usually allowed to immediately become himself a guild master, sometimes even without demonstrating his skills with a masterpiece. Second, a competent journeyman was sometimes willing to marry the widow of his deceased master, thus keeping the workshop alive and supporting the widow and possibly her children. (In this manner Conrad Graf, for example, came early into possession of a workshop in 1804.)
In Vienna, the number of masters and the size of their workshops were jealously supervised by the guilds, and the number of journeymen and apprentices a guild master was allowed to employ was limited and just as prescribed as the tools to be used. Furthermore, employing women or using any uncertified labor was banned, and the allowed quantity of production also was specified. The number of helpers (in Vienna, usually one journeyman and two apprentices) was strictly limited, and this was an additional obstacle for ambitious and diligent craftsmen among the guild masters. Price-fixing agreements among guild masters in a given city would often needlessly increase the prices of their products and inhibit competition and production growth. Also restricted was where certain guild masters were allowed to sell their products. For instance, in Vienna, guild masters who worked and lived outside the inner city in one of the thirty-five suburbs ( Vorst dte ) were not allowed to offer their wares in the inner city but only within specified suburban areas. Moreover, these Vorstadtmeister were required to pay extra fees to the inner-city guild. 22 All these and sometimes additional abstruse restrictions established by guilds were a considerable hindrance to economic development, often lowering both the quality and the quantity of products.
The Habsburg emperors, like other kings and dukes, princes, bishops, and abbots of powerful monasteries, had always been interested in the temporary employment of carefully selected competent craftsmen and artists (often famous Italians and Spaniards as well as tradesmen and craftsmen from the German Reich). If already famous, these persons were invited to work for the imperial court, and the emperor granted these talented craftsmen the title Hofbefreite . This meant independence and freedom from guild restrictions and afforded the privilege of founding independent workshops and earning their living through their craft without having to belong to a guild. The nearer the hofbefreite craftsmen lived to the relevant court or monastery, the less they had to fear from guild masters-not a small advantage over journeymen unable to find work at a court. Bartolomeo Cristofori enjoyed such a privilege at the Medici court in Florence; he never was forced to bother about guild membership.
The Habsburg emperors enviously observed the constantly growing economic wealth in those western European countries that owned busy merchant fleets. These countries had established a freedom of production and trade unknown to German-speaking regions. In the seventeenth century Emperor Leopold I had tried to introduce a more liberal production and trade system that would have limited the power of the guilds and their work restrictions, not only in Vienna but also elsewhere in the Reich. In 1699 and 1700 he asked his imperial advisers to discuss the question of
ob und wie die Handwerksz nfte, ad imitationem anderer K nigreiche, Republiken und L nder, wo die Commercien im besten Flor sind, die Z nfte aber gar nicht blich, oder doch nicht wie im r mischen Reich privilegieret sind, abzuschaffen, oder doch so zu restringieren w ren, dass sie keinen welcher sich in einer Stadt oder Markt b rgerlich niederlassen und ein Handwerk treiben wollte, hindern, oder in ihr Gremium einzutreten n thigen k nnten. 23
(whether and how the craftsman guilds could be abolished in imitation of other kingdoms, republics, and countries, where commercial development is in excellent shape and the guilds are not commonplace or are at least less privileged than in the [Holy] Roman Empire [of the German Nation], and whether the power of the guilds could be restricted to such an extent that anyone who wants to settle in a city or marketplace and work as a craftsman would not be hindered from doing so or forced to join a guild.)
But these discussions between Leopold and his advisers did not lead anywhere. The guild masters protested as forcefully as unions of today announce their objections and threaten strikes.
Under Leopold s younger son, Emperor Charles VI, who ruled between 1711 and 1740, nearly identical questions were discussed in the Staatsrat (state council), which at first resulted in only slightly more successful efforts. Charles eventually succeeded: In 1725 he created Schutzbefugnis , an imperial protection and privilege that allowed talented journeymen liberties comparable to those of hofbefreite craftsmen despite their not working for the imperial court. This allowed schutzbefugte and hofbefreite craftsmen to work legally in Vienna without having to become members of a guild. This new privilege became a law and part of the emperor s famous Reichszunftordnung of 1731-1732, applying to the whole Reich (the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation) and not only to Habsburg crown countries. It was indeed an important first step toward restricting the power of the guilds in German countries. However, only mostly Austrian countries followed the law. Many cities authorities, especially such free Reichsst dte as Augsburg, Nuremberg, Regensburg, and Frankfurt am Main, decided to follow their own rules, and even more so the liberal Hansest dte (Hanseatic League cities) Hamburg, Bremen, and L beck. In Hamburg, for example, the brothers Fleischer, who were trained instrument builders, finally succeeded in defending their independence from local guild masters. In Nuremberg the rules of the N rnberger Handwerksordnung 24 differed from those of other cities but seemed to be followed more strictly than in Hamburg or L beck.
In Vienna not every craftsman could readily-and certainly not automatically-obtain a protection license, or Schutzbefugnis, from the emperor. Every journeyman wanting to get a Schutzbefugnis had to apply at the Viennese court and had to prove his special talents. Many applications for this permission were soon submitted, and the scribes at court were busy writing commentaries and decisions before and after receiving such applications, many of which were denied. Unfortunately, in the course of the century these procedures became time consuming and difficult because the flood of journeymen applying overwhelmed the bureaucracy, which delayed resolution. It sometimes took years to get an answer. After about 1765, and especially after 1770, however, most requests for independence from guilds were speedily granted by Emperor Joseph II, as we learn from the archival material in the Hofkammerarchiv and other imperial archives.
In addition to hofbefreite and schutzverwandte craftsmen, another group of craftsmen lived in Vienna: the St rer (disturbers). This group of journeymen worked illegally as scabs. With no government permission or license to work, they came under heavy pressure from the guild masters. During most of the eighteenth century a large and growing number of St rer worked in and around Vienna and probably in other large cities of Austria in every discipline, trade, and craft, so many that the St rer outnumbered the Hofbefreite and Schutzbefugte combined. But since even the most competent journeymen seldom could become self-employed under guild authority in the cities, journeymen who, for instance, wanted to marry against guild and city rules had practically no other choice than to become St rer opening workshops usually outside cities to avoid the imperial police. In Vienna and in some other cities, many city magistrates supported guild masters who harassed the St rer to get rid of the competition.
In independent German cities organ and instrument builders could sometimes found a workshop: If a local organ maker died without heir, a vacancy was open for a successor. Church organs regularly needed repairs, and sometimes a new organ had to be commissioned. Such circumstances made it relatively easy for Gottfried Silbermann to settle in Freiberg, in the district of Meissen, a city near his birth village. Likewise, Johann Andreas Stein moved to Augsburg and succeeded the organ- and instrument-maker Johann Christoph Leo after his death because Augsburg s church organs needed tuning and repairs and the city was in need of a new organ in the Barf erkirche. In spite of his young age-in 1750 Stein was only twenty-two-he was allowed to repair an organ and to show his abilities this way. He then built a new organ in the Barf erkirche that met with such approval in 1755 that city officials made him a citizen, and he settled there as a master. As such he became a much honored citizen in this famous Reichsstadt. Other organ makers were less lucky; for example, Zacharias Hildebrandt, who after finishing his training was forced to work for six more years as journeyman for Gottfried Silbermann, saving money while unmarried.
In the 1750s under Empress Maria Theresa all crafts and trades in Vienna were divided in two major groups. One group, Polizei-Gewerbe, concerned local necessities such as food and daily provisions; the other group, Commerzial-Gewerbe, referred to those crafts producing longer-lasting goods that were also exported. Support of the and its products was especially in the state s interest, and this was one of the major reasons the empress repeatedly tried to limit the power of the guilds in her crown countries, fighting restrictions of local guild masters and trying to interest talented foreign journeymen into immigrating to Vienna and settling there under her protection. In 1755, Empress Maria Theresa ordered her officials to compile a list of all the guilds. The alphabetically arranged list contains 160 trades, 4 with special privileges. Among the unprivileged guilds the following crafts of musical instrument makers are listed:
Nr. 70 Glockengiesser (bell founder)
Nr. 71 Geigen und Lautenmacher (violin and lute makers)
Nr. 107 Orgel- und Instrumentenbauer (organ and instrument builders)
Nr. 116 Saitenmacher (string makers)
Nr. 144 Waldhorn-, Trompeten- und h lzerne Blasinstrumentenmacher (horn-, trumpet-, and woodwind-instrument makers)
In a similar list of 1768 many crafts are split (e.g., the watchmakers guild was separated from the clock-makers guild), and the number of Commerzial-Gewerbe guilds therefore increased. Organ and instrument makers, however, are not listed, nor are they in another one from 1774. 25 Why not? Their guild still existed in 1768 and in 1774-at least in the minds of guild members and city authorities-but Maria Theresa s son Emperor Joseph II had declared that the makers of musical instruments should be regarded as artists. After Maria Theresa s husband Emperor Francis I had died in 1765, their oldest son became Emperor Joseph II and coruler ( Mitregent ) with Maria Theresa.
In 1755, 1763, 1768, and 1774-1776 Empress Maria Theresa tried to increase commercial production through decrees to invite and admit talented immigrant craftsmen and commercial entrepreneurs. Such measures made it easier for journeymen and ambitious businessmen and encouraged them to apply for the protection privilege (Schutzbefugnis) or a waiver of taxes such as a dispensation of foreign birth. In 1774 she and her son again established a committee to ease the immigration of competent foreign workers and to help newcomers with tax reductions. She was decidedly against compulsory Wanderjahre as a prerequisite for becoming a guild master. The guild masters objected loudly to many of her new decrees and forcefully defended their rights. They insisted that the title Meister was a privilege reserved only for guild masters and should be denied to schutzbefugte journeymen. They also repeatedly requested that no protection privileges (Schutzbefugnisse) be issued by the court and that St rer be prosecuted and expelled. But Joseph II had made it a personal concern to protect gifted craftsmen, especially musical instrument makers. Between 1765 and 1780, Joseph overruled decisions favoring guild masters. He furthermore wanted to abolish the requirement that craftsmen must be in a guild, believing that the making of good organs and piano instruments was an art, and artists should be free of guilds. His mother, however, feared this would cause social uproar and thus refused to allow this certainly unpopular and dangerous change. She compromised and agreed that from 1768 on no hofbefreite titles should be awarded 26 and instead many more protection licenses (Schutzbefugnisse) should be given. But in 1774 she decreed that in the future these protection privileges should be issued by local authorities and only in exceptional cases should be decided by the imperial court. By then, Emperor Joseph also considered Schutzbefugnisse as superfluous, but his decision to abolish them did not become an official decree because his mother, following her advice, did not allow his decision to be printed. As long as the empress was alive, people believed, therefore, that for Gesellen to work independently they would need Schutzbefugnisse. This was a typical Austrian solution of a political problem: if an application came to Joseph II, he always granted permission, but his mother insisted that applications for Schutzbefugnisse should be awarded by local governments such as, for example, the Lower Austrian government (Nieder sterreichische Landesregierung). 27 The following example explains, on the one hand, how attitudes of the city authorities of Vienna and their guild masters and, on the other, that of Joseph.
During his independent reign (1780-1790) Joseph II abolished most of the hated restrictions of the guilds. In 1784 he eliminated all guild restrictions for musical instrument builders, and many former Gesellen working as St rer could now work legally as independent pianoforte makers. This freedom lasted only for a time, however.
Johann Georg Volkert, an immigrant to Vienna from Altdorf, near Nuremberg in Oberfranken in southern Germany, was born February 8, 1747 (not 1739), 28 to a beer brewer. Whether Volkert was already a trained organ and instrument maker when he arrived in Vienna is not known, but considering his birth date this is possible. He was mainly or solely interested in the manufacture of pianofortes. For an unknown number of years he worked as a gifted journeyman and fortepiano maker in the Viennese Vorstadt Josephstadt for an instrument builder named Weissmann. In connection with the sale of fortepianos in Vienna an agent described Volkert s instruments as gut gearbeitet und mit gutem Ton (reliable craftsmanship and with a good sound) and placed them side by side with the fortepianos of Anton Walter.
Weissmann did not belong to the organ- and instrument-maker guild but had opened his workshop legally with the help of a Schutzbefugnis. When he died, Volkert married his daughter and took over the workshop with all the tools. But almost at once he also inherited the opposition of the Viennese guilds, with the guild masters claiming that his father-in-law had received a Schutzbefugnis and not he himself. In April 1778 Volkert applied to the emperor for a Schutzbefugnis that would include also permission to employ a journeyman. Court officials forwarded the application to the Lower Austrian government, who forwarded it to the mayor of Vienna with the request for an opinion.
Vienna s mayor and his advisers answered on April 29, 1778:
Hochl bl: N: : Regierung / Gn dige Herren!
Bey S[eine]r r m[ischen] kays[erlichen] k nig[lichen] May[est ]t hat Johann Georg Volckert Instrumentmacher in der Josephstadt No. 91 mit A [Anlage A] allerunterth nigst vorgestellt: Er h tte bey seinem Schwiegervater einem Schutzverwandten Orglmacher durch lange Jahre als Tischlergesell gearbeitet, und Mittelst Vereheligung mit dessen Tochter, nach seinem Tod sowohl die Werkstadt als auch den gesamten Werkzeug [-Bestand] berkommen.
Nun w rden von ihm keine Orgeln, sondern blos Instrumente, Klaviere und Fl ge[1]n gemacht, und er h tte es auch durch stetten Flei , und Nachsinnen in seiner Arbeitswi enschaft so weit gebracht, da er zwey besondere St cke, n ml. eine Fl ge mit 6 Octaven, und eine Doppelfl ge /:worauf zwey Personen schlagen k nnten:/ von seiner Geschicklichkeit aufzuweisen verm chte.
Er wollte daher einer Seits um allgn digste Bestimmung eines Tages an welchem er seine erfundenen Werke produciren k nnte, anderer Seits aber auch darum allerunterth nigst gebethen haben, da er in R cksicht seines Schwiegervaters Freyheit, wie auch seiner selbst eigenen besonders flei igen Arbeit mittels Haltung eines Gesellens frey, und ungehindert arbeiten d rfte.
Von allerh chsten Orten ward diese Bittschrift, so viel es den zweyten Punct betrieft, durch Euer Gnaden uns um Bericht zugefertigt, und von uns die b rgerl[ichen] Orglmacher hier ber vernommen worden.
Diese haben durch ihren Vorsteher Ignatz Richter, dann Ausschu [-Mitglieder] Johann Michael Panzner und Gottfried Maleck erinnert: Diese Werke woraus der Suppl[ican]t so viel Weesens machte, w ren nichts anderes, als eine Orglmacher- und folglich ihre Arbeit, die sie auch, so gut als er, verst nden. Mehrere Tischlergesellen pfl gen sich auf die Orglmacherarbeit zu verlegen, und dann w rde nichts als St rrerei getrieben, und ihnen, die sie selten, auch mancher durch seine ganze Meisterszeit, keine Orgl zu machen h tten, das Brod aus den H nden gerie en. Da sie also schon so viele Beeintr chtigungen zu ertragen, und wegen des Suppl[ican]tens auch bereits [bei] allerh chsten Orten ihre Vorstellungen eingereicht h tten: So bathen sie, denselben mit seinem Gesuch ein f r alle mal abzuweisen.
Gn dige Herren! Da die b rgerl. Orglmacher nicht allzu gro en Verdienst haben m gen: l t sich leicht glauben, da ihre Arbeit von solcher Beschaffenheit ist, da sie nicht allt glich, ja auch nicht einmal alle Jahre vork mmt.
Wir glauben daher unsers gehorsamen Orts; Es w re der Supplicirende Volckert mit seinem Schutzertheilungsgesuche umso mehr abzuweisen, als die b rgerl. Orglmacher auch seine vorgegebenen Werke zu verfertigen sich getrauen, und hien chst derselbe noch von Altdorf aus dem Reich = mithin auch ausl ndisch gebohren ist.
Es w re dann, da seine erfundenen Fl gen als ganz ausserordentliche Werke zu betrachten k men, und in solchen ein beraus grosser Vortheil, und besondere Kunst verborgen l ge, in welche Untersuchung aber wir uns einzulassen nicht verm gend sind.
Die ist, so wir hiermit gehorsam berichten, und uns empfehlen sollen.
Euer Gnaden / gehorsame / B rgermeister, und Rath / der Stadt Wien
[gez.] B rgermeister Senhofer / v. Zahlheim, Sen: / Syndicus prim.: / Felbermayr. / Zitterl./ Rosi. 29
(Honorable Lower Austrian Government / Esteemed Gentlemen!
Johann Georg Volckert instrument maker in the [suburb] Josephstadt No. 91 has most humbly petitioned His Roman Catholic Majesty (see attachment A) as follows: noting that he had worked many years as a cabinetmaker 30 journeyman for his father-in-law who was a protected [ befugter ] organ and instrument maker and that-because he had married his daughter-after his death he inherited the workshop as well as all the tools.
He would not make organs but only instruments, [such as] small and large fortepianos; and he had succeeded-through constant diligence and reconsiderations-in achieving improvements in the science of his work that enabled him to manufacture two special works [instruments]-a large fl gel with [a range of] six octaves and a doppelfl gel, on which two persons can play [evidently a combined harpsichord-piano similar to the vis- -vis fl gel of Stein]-that show his abilities.
Therefore, he would like to request that a day should be fixed on which he would be permitted to demonstrate his newly invented works [instruments], and he would like to apply most humbly-in consideration of the freedom his father-in-law enjoyed and also with regard to his own especially diligent work-for permission to work freely and unhampered and to employ a journeyman.
Regarding [only] the second point, His Majesty sent this petition on to your Honorable Government, and you forwarded it to us with the request to hear the comment of the civic organ makers.
These [men] have reminded us through their principal Ignatz Richter and the committee members Johann Michael Panzner and Gottfried Maleck that these instruments about which the petitioner makes such a fuss would be nothing else than normal organ-maker labor and therefore [the journeymen would be able to perform the work as well as he does. Several carpenter journeyman have started to do the work of organ makers, and this has led to disturbing illegal activity [ St rerei ]; and because they [the guild masters] are usually seldom if at all in the position (some of them not once during their whole life) to build an organ, this [ St rerei ] robs them of money-making opportunities.
Because they were already suffering many impairments and because they had made known their attitude toward the petitioner at court, they requested that the petition of the applicant should be rejected completely and once and for all.
Esteemed Gentlemen! That the civic organ makers really do not have great earnings we can believe because their work is of such a nature that it is not often demanded, sometimes not once in a year.
We in Vienna therefore obediently believe the suppliant Volckert with his protection application should be repudiated, the more so because the civic organ makers also feel able to make his described instruments; besides he emigrated from Altdorf [in southern Germany] and is therefore a foreigner.
It would be different only if it turns out that his newly invented instruments [fl gel] were indeed judged to be extraordinary works in which great promising advantages and a special art are hidden, an investigation, however, that we are not in the position to carry out.
That is what we report herewith obediently and recommend ourselves to you, gracious Gentlemen,
Your obedient Mayor and Council of the City of Vienna
[signed] Mayor Senhofer /v. Zelheim, Sen: / Syndicus prim.: / Felbermayr. / Zitterl. / Rosi.)
Volkert pointed out in his application that he would be interested only in building instruments, [such as] klaviere and fl gel, terms that meant harpsichords, square pianos ( Tafelklaviere ), and large fortepianos ( Hammerfl gel ), or more likely, only small and large fortepianos. The terms hammerfl gel and kielfl gel started appearing in documents from southern Germany (e.g., Ulm) in approximately 1770. In Vienna in the last two decades of the century, fl gel (or Flieg, Fl g , or Fl ge ) usually meant a hammerfl gel, or large fortepiano. During the 1770s, however, it is not always clear which instrument was meant.
Around 1778, Klavier , spelled with a K instead of C , often meant a Tafelklavier (small or square piano) and not a clavichord. I consider it more likely that in 1778 the meaning of fl gel was large fortepiano because of the following: (1) We find this meaning of fl gel as fortepiano regularly in the last two decades of the eighteenth century in Vienna and often after 1775. (2) The meaning of instrument is clear and not in dispute. Thus, Volkert meant only two different instruments. (3) Carl Adolph von Braun, in the second recommendation letter attached to Volkert s application, when referring to his fl gel, speaks of force and tenderness of sound, hardly a description of the sound of a quilled harpsichord.
Volkert had enclosed with his application to the emperor two letters of recommendation, both written by diplomats working in Vienna as Reichshofr te (e.g., preparing for the Reichstag in Regensburg) for the German emperor Joseph (e.g., with preparations for the Reichstage in Regensburg). Volkert might have met von Braun even before coming to Vienna. In 1776 he had sold him a large pianoforte with the unusual range of six octaves.
Braun s recommendation letter reads:
Nachdem Johann Volckert mir Endes unterschriebenen einen Fl gel von sechs vollen Oktaven geliefert, und mich um ein Attestat deshalb angegangen; als bezeuge hierdurch zur Steuer der Wahrheit, das obgedachtes Instrument an St rke und Z rtlichkeit des Tones, die vornehmsten Instrumenta, deren ich sehr viele hier gesehen und untersuchet , weit bertrifft, daneben auch von solcher Dauerhaftigkeit ist, da nunmehro in zwey Jahren bey der h chsten Stimmung keine Ver nderung daran wahrzunehmen gewesen; sondern auch, da ich dieses Instrument durch den berufenen Instrument Macher Stein von Augspurg besichtigen und untersuchen la en, de en Urtheil dahin ausgefallen, da dergleichen an accuratesse , Dauer, und Vorz gligkeit des Tones, schwerlich in Wien anzutreffen seyn werde: ferner da er dergleichen unter 100 Dukaten zu liefern nicht im Stande sey, und gleichwohl daf r nicht stehen k nne, ob es eben so gut ausfallen werde.
Urkund dessen diese meine Hand Unterschrift und Petschafts Fertigung.
Wien den 12. M rz 1778.
Ihrer R misch Kayserl. Majest t wirkliger Reichshofrat
Carl Adolph Freiherr v. Braun (emphasis added). 31
(After the undersigned had received from Johann Volckert a grand pianoforte of six full octaves, he requested a certificate from me. I herewith testify truthfully that this very instrument is superior to the very best [pianoforte] instruments, many of which I have seen and inspected here , both with regard to force as well as tenderness in sound; it is of such a durability that though by now two years have passed, and after having been tuned on the highest pitch, no change has been noticed. In addition, I asked the competent instrument maker Stein from Augsburg to inspect and examine the instrument, and his judgment was that hardly anything like could be found in Vienna regarding the accurateness , durability, and quality of tone and that he himself would not be in the position to make anything like it for less than one hundred ducats and still could not guarantee such quality. For the validity of this, my handwritten signature and seal are witness.
Vienna, March 12, 1778
Her Roman Imperial Majesty s actual Reichshofrat
Carl Adolph Freiherr v[on] Braun.
This German diplomat, Reichshofrat Carl Adolph von Braun, might have met Stein previously in Augsburg or in Vienna in 1777 when Stein came to Vienna to promote his own new vis- -vis fl gel (see chap. 9 ). Braun invited Stein to his home, where Stein inspected his fl gel fortepiano of six octaves-a very unusual range at this time (though in 1777 Merlin also built a pianoforte with this range for Charles Burney).
The second instrument Volkert mentioned in his petition as an extraordinary one and a proof of his abilities as a pianoforte builder was no doubt a combined instrument (today s harpsichord-piano), perhaps comparable to Stein s vis- -vis fl gel (or even copied from it). Did Volkert apprentice with Stein or work for him as journeyman, and did he learn from him how to make pianofortes with Prellzungen mechanisms as well as combined instruments? Stein traveled with his vis- -vis fl gel to Vienna sometime in the spring of 1777, possibly as early as February or March. An advertisement offered by a dealer named D rnberger, which appeared in the newspaper Wienerisches Diarium April 9, 1777, was perhaps this very vis- -vis fl gel that Stein brought to Vienna in those spring days. The advertisement was published by Richard Maunder who marked it as a private sale (a necessary precaution if it was Stein s instrument-Stein was indeed privately in Vienna):
Nachricht. Den Liebhabern des Clavicimbelinstruments wird hiemit erinnert, da ein derlei auf neue Art verfertigtes Instrument, welches keine[m] Fl g hnlich, sondern lang viereckigt, und h her oder ein sogenanntes Oktavinl ist, und artig klinget, anbey die obere Claviatur zum schieben ist, [so-]da auch die untere mitgehet, und mittelst Verschiebung der Docken, St cken und lauter Zugs verschiedene Mutationen zu haben sind; im anderen Ende hingegen mit einer Claviatur versehen und das sogenannte Pantalonische Instrument ist, zum Verkauf sey.
(Notice. Harpsichord lovers are hereby informed that an instrument made in the new way is for sale, made in such a way that it is unlike any wing-shaped harpsichord but long and rectangular; at one end are two manuals, of which one is in normal pitch and the other an octave higher; it is a so-called ottavino with a pleasing sound. The upper manual can be pushed in to couple it to the lower, and by shifting the jacks and the lute stop various other mutations are to be had. At the other end, however, a one-manual keyboard activates a pantaleon-type [piano-forte] instrument.)
With the pantaleon-type instrument connected to a keyboard, certainly a fortepiano was meant. Interestingly, for much of the century pantaleon continued to be used for a pianoforte in some German-speaking cities.
In the second recommendation letter, also written by a German wirklicher Reichshofrath (a diplomat at the imperial court representing a region in the German Reich; in this case Mecklenburg-Strelitz), Volkert s fl gel were once again highly recommended:
Zur Steuer der Wahrheit mu hiermit bezeugen, da ich bey meinem achtj hrigen Hierseyn verschiedene so genannte Fl gel, welche Herr Johann Volker verfertiget, unter Augen und H nde gehabt, und solche nach dem einm thigen Bekenntni und Beyfall aller Kenner an T chtig- und Dauerhaftigkeit der Arbeit, des Tones und Richtigkeit der mensur der Gestalt beschaffen gefunden habe, da schwerlich ein bertreffendes aufzufinden seyn, oder wenigstens sehr zu zweifeln seyn d rfte, ob ein unpartheyischer Sach-Verst ndiger mit Grund einigen Tadel daran aufzubringen verm gend seyn werde.
Wien den 13. May 1778.
Baron von Ditmar / w.[irklicher] Reichs-Hof-Rath 32
(In the service of truth it should be stated that in the eight years I have been here I have seen and played various fl gel made by Mr. Johann Volker, and these were unanimously approved by all knowledgeable persons for the efficiency and durability of work, the sound and the correctness of measurements; the connoisseurs considered it most unlikely that better fl gel [grand pianos] can be found or that an unbiased expert would find reason for criticism.
Vienna, May 13, 1778
Baron von Ditmar / Reichs-Hof-Rath)
It is more than likely that with the various fl gel pianoforte instruments were meant. Thus, the baron had inspected fortepianos of Volkert s since approximately 1770 (the year the baron moved to Vienna). That fl gel was used to refer to large pianoforte instruments in Vienna can be convincingly documented for the 1780s and 1790s but not so well for the 1770s. Because of the many Italians living in Vienna pianoforte was probably not used much. Perhaps it was disliked in Vienna as much as in Italy and therefore replaced by fl gel , meaning hammerfl gel .
In spite of the protests of the guild organ and instrument makers and the negative attitude of the mayor of Vienna and his advisers, the imperial court (by the command of Emperor Joseph II) decided the case in favor of Volkert. This can be seen from the following note written on the outside of the document file:
Durch Decret vom 30. Juny 1778 / erlediget, und ist ihm mit einem Gesellen bewilliget worden. 33
(With the decree of June 30, 1778, concluded, and he is allowed to work with one journeyman.)
Notice that the wording of this brief final decision of the emperor avoided using Schutzbefugnis. As we see in chapter 11 avoiding that title corresponds to the emperor s similar decision in Anton Walter s application.
Ingrid Fuchs discovered the correspondence of a Viennese agent with a nobleman in Hungary that gives us more information about Volkert. 34 The Hungarian gentleman wanted his agent to find a good fortepiano for his talented niece, who would be studying music and piano in Vienna. The agent reported that in 1783
Walther hat viele forte piano vorr thig, die sch n sind.- Und was bei Folkert fertig ist, findet Euer Hochwohlgeboren auf inliegendem Blatt specifiziert. Das dritte ist noch nicht fertig und erst in einigen ca 6 Wochen zu haben. Ich habe die anderen beyden durch den Capellmeister des K nigs von Schweden, Herrn Kraus, und den Clavierspieler Richter examiniren lassen und sie loben an beyden die Arbeit und den guten Thon. 35
(Walther has many fortepianos that are beautiful. And what is available from Folkert [Volkert] is listed on the enclosure. The third piano is not yet ready and one can get it only in approximately six weeks. The other two I have an examination requested from the Capellmeister of the king of Sweden, Mr. [Joseph Martin] Kraus, and the pianist [Georg Friedrich] Richter, and both admired the work and the good sound of them.)
This confirms that in 1783 Volkert was well known in Vienna as a maker of good pianos. ( Chapter 11 provides more excerpts of this interesting correspondence.)
None of Volkert s instruments have turned up, and therefore apart from the written praise of the tone quality we know nothing about the construction and the action of his fortepianos. Only once in the following years did Volkert decide to place an advertisement under his own name in the Wiener Zeitung . Dort hei t es
1783, 11 Jan., (M. Volkert): sind folgende Fl gel zu haben:
1. Ein Fl gel mit 2 Unison, und einer auf englischer Art mit B ffel-Leder anstatt Kielen, versehene Octavine, nebst Ver nderungen: ist gr n mit feinem Gold lakiert, und hat einen gemalten Resonanzboden.
2. Ein deto ganz gr n lakierter auch mit Ver nderungen, und 3 Saiten, worunter die Oktavine bekielt ist.
3. Ein ebenso beschaffener Fl gel von Nu baumholz.
4. Ein deto von Nu baumholz mit 2 Ver nderungen, und 2 Z gen, wovon einer mit B ffel-Leder.
5. Ein deto von Nu baumholz mit 2 Saiten ohne Ver nderung.
6. Ein deto von Nu baumholz mit 6 vollst ndigen Oktaven, ohne Ver nderung. 36
It is probable though not certain that the fl gel Volkert offered in this advertisement were combined harpsichord-pianos. Number 1 could have been a quilled harpsichord without a hammer-action register and instead with an octavine register with buff leather. With Fl gel in numbers 1 and 3, however, it is likely that because of the three strings per tone, combined harpsichord-pianos with an additional quilled four-foot register were probably meant. Perhaps Volkert wanted in 1783 to get rid of some old compound instruments his father-in-law left behind and had problems selling them privately because replacing quilled harpsichords with fortepianos having other stops (if any) had become fashionable in Vienna. The fl gel from walnut wood and with a range of six octaves mentioned as number 6 reminds us of the instrument Volkert made for Baron Ditmar; it seems certain that it was a fortepiano.
Marrying was traditionally forbidden for journeymen because the income of a Geselle was insufficient to support a family. But since a Geselle could not legally earn extra money through extraordinary diligence and perhaps night work (and never without rarely given special permission from his master), how could he marry? Empress Maria Theresa s purpose in abolishing the guild rule forbidding Gesellen to marry was to combat the many illegitimate children being born. The guild masters had managed to forbid a schutzbefugtem Gesellen to call himself Meister , but the trend was to accept the empress s decree that schutzbefugte craftsmen who owned a workshop could marry-often these craftsmen had allowed their Gesellen to marry. Anton Walter, whose long fight to become a legal owner of a workshop succeeded in 1779 with the court protecting him, married a few months later, in January 1780 (see chap. 12 ).
But when a Geselle opened a workshop as a St rer and married but later failed financially, he would be forced to work again as a journeyman for a guild master alongside other journeymen. Then the other unmarried journeymen would often protest the presence of the married colleague. In 1776 the empress issued a special decree that no unmarried journeyman could refuse to work next to a married journeyman.
Many musicians employed by noblemen or bishops faced the same restrictions on marriage. A famous case is Joseph Haydn s, who in 1759 signed a contract with Count Morzin stipulating he would not marry. A year later Haydn returned to Vienna as a freelance composer and quickly married (unhappily, unfortunately). Despite his marriage, Prince Esterhazy engaged him in 1761-the prince was rich enough to pay better salaries. Normally, however, it was much easier for an unmarried musician to find employment, and this might have been one of the many reasons why, two decades later, in 1781, Leopold Mozart vehemently opposed the marriage plans of his son Wolfgang.
In the contract, Prince Esterhazy also demanded possessory title to all of Haydn s compositions as long as he was employed by him. This was not unusual. In this time an employee was not a free person; for instance, he was not allowed to simply give notice if he wanted an employment change. Without special permission from his king, prince, or bishop, an employee usually could not leave his service at will. C. P. E. Bach in his autobiographical sketch remarked that he had repeatedly requested permission to leave the Prussian court service, but for years King Friedrich II would not allow him to leave. Toward the end of the eighteenth century, under the influence of the Enlightenment and as a result of the French Revolution, liberalization took place everywhere, and these kinds of restrictions became rarer not only in France but also in the German-speaking countries.
Emperor Joseph II, after the death of his mother in 1780, made radical reforms, such as abolishing serfdom in Bohemia and Moravia (1781) and granting more freedom to employed craftsmen. He also abolished religious intolerance toward non-Catholic Christians and eased the restrictions placed on illegitimately born persons and Jews (Toleranz-Edikt of 1781). Disliking the wealth and power of the Catholic Church, he brusquely reformed the duties of monks and reduced the excessive number of monasteries in Austria, closing many that did not serve the populace with education programs or hospitals or that neglected parishes. He founded poorhouses and homes for disabled soldiers by requisitioning monastery property. Joseph s reforms increasingly limited the power of the Catholic Church. In addition, the abolishment of serfdom permitted nearly all in his crown countries to learn a craft of their choice, something that had not been possible before the 1780s. He nullified all guild restrictions for musical instrument makers and thus paved the way for the competitive production of fortepianos during the 1780s. These reforms probably saved the emperor s German countries and regions from an upheaval comparable to that of the French Revolution in 1789. But the enlightened modernization of his countries met strong opposition and was not an easy task.
Joseph II died in 1790. He was followed as ruler of the Austrian crown countries and as German emperor by his brother Leopold, who had been peacefully ruling Tuscany for a quarter of a century. Leopold also had introduced modern reforms and abolished all compulsory guild memberships. When Leopold moved to Vienna and took over the government of the Habsburg crown countries, however, he immediately was confronted with applications from Viennese guild masters who had suffered under the radical reforms of Joseph II and now renewed their protests. The French Revolution had shaken Europe and strongly influenced the prudent and considerate ruler Leopold, who was wise enough to listen carefully to his Viennese advisers, who warned him of possible unrest among the population and suggested that he revise the most hated reforms of his late brother. Leopold restored some traditional guild rights. Many workshops of piano makers existed in 1790 that had been founded mostly during the 1780s by former St rer as well as by younger journeymen who came to Vienna during the 1780s. They had legally opened their workshops and could not be forced to close them again. This explains why certain documents preserved in Vienna archives from the end of the eighteenth century prove that there existed in Vienna suddenly about one hundred fortepiano-building workshops. 37 Compared to the few workshops of guild masters in previous decades this was a remarkably large number, and it continued to grow during the next decades of unrest and wars. Around 1820 approximately 150 workshops or small factories were located in Vienna-too many then to be able to survive in the long run.
Why would a young craftsman decide to endure years of additional apprenticeship to become a master in an organ- and instrument-builder guild? A mere employment chance was unlikely; far more likely was a special interest in music. To judge an instrument s sound, builders needed a minimum of playing ability. Far more often than nowadays during the eighteenth century organ and instrument builders were also known as organists or harpsichordists; others were proud that they could themselves demonstrate to interested purchasers their instruments tone qualities. Franz Jacob Sp th was a harpsichord builder who proudly stated that he could demonstrate impressively all the sound mutation possibilities and effects of his harpsichord-pianos. He told Johann Andreas Silbermann, his future son-in-law and thus successor as master, that an instrument builder should be able to play well on his instruments (see chap. 6 ). Johann Andreas Stein, after demonstrating in 1757 in Augsburg the sound of his new organ in the Barf er church to the parishioners, was chosen as organist of his newly constructed organ; he was proud of this and took care that his daughter Nanette became an admired professional pianist. Also, Anton Walter claimed to have taken music lessons and was a musically interested inventor who was blessed with a good ear and became known as an excellent tuner. From his biography we learn that he liked to teach tuning. Instrument makers needed to develop a good ear anyway if they were ambitious and wanted to achieve as builders the sound they imagined. Mozart loved Walter s fortepiano and ordered a second instrument, a pedal piano, from him. Walter might have had some previous experience in music making before he came to Vienna in 1772, and perhaps he could play more than a few chords and arpeggios, He probably took lessons from the piano teacher Zabizer in Vienna.
During the eighteenth century musicians were seldom in financially secure positions. They could earn additional money by acting as agents for music and musical instrument sales. Some musicians also built instruments or collaborated with an instrument builder to found a workshop or a small factory. Muzio Clementi was the most famous musician who became a successful entrepreneur. As a traveling musician, even though a virtuoso pianist, he was not considered to have a respectable profession, and in the late 1780s he decided to become a businessman instead. In this capacity he succeeded remarkably. Jan Louis Dussek, who like Clementi was known as a virtuoso pianist and for many years traveled throughout the European continent giving concerts, founded a piano factory in Hamburg, but his business soon collapsed. Another well-known musician who employed trained journeymen and founded a factory in 1807 in Paris was Haydn s gifted pupil Ignaz Pleyel. His son Camille Pleyel enlarged the factory and made it into a successful enterprise: The Pleyel piano factory existed in Paris longer than most other piano factories. But other ventures of this kind did not live long. Clementi was also successful with printing and selling music. Well-known publishing companies, such as Breitkopf in Leipzig, pianos for a short while. The nineteenth century witnessed the end of many of these projects, and the future belonged more often to professional piano makers who as ambitious builders became founders or leaders of their piano factories.

1 . Burney was unaware that Georg Friedrich Handel s librettist Charles Jennens had bought a piano in Florence in 1732 and had shipped it to England. See Donald Burrows and Rosemary Dunhill, Music and Theatre in Handel s World: The Family Papers of James Harris, 1732-1780 (London: Oxford University Press, 2002), 98-99, 314.
2 . Rosamond Harding, The Piano-Forte , 79.
3 . Charles Burney, Memoirs of Dr. Charles Burney, 1726-1769 , ed. Slava Klima, Garry Bowers, and Kerry S. Grant (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988), 734. Ibid., fragment 44, Autumn 1747, pp. 72-73.
4 . Ibid., fragment 44, Autumn 1747, pp. 72-73.
5 . Charles Burney, An Eighteenth-Century Musical Tour in France and Italy Being Dr. Charles Burney s Account of His Musical Experiences as It Appears in His Published Volume in Which Are Incorporated His Travel Experiences According to His Original Intention , ed. Percy A. Scholes (London: Oxford University Press, 1959), 1:152.
6 . Giovenale Sacchi, Vita del cavaliere don Carlo Broschi detto il Farinello (Venice: Coleti, 1784).
7 . Charles Burney, A General History of Music from the Earliest Ages to the Present (1789) , ed. Frank Mercer (1789; repr., New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1935), 960.
8 . Burney, Memoirs , 161.
9 . Quoted in J. J. Merlin: The Ingenious Mechanick (Exhibition catalogue, Greater London Council, 1985), 88.
10 . Johann Mattheson, Critica Musica (Hamburg, 1725), 2:198.
11 . As Robert Haas documented, an Austrian violinist named Beyer, even though he was a very gifted musician, could not get a desired position as an orchestra musician at court because he did not understand Italian. Robert Haas, Bach und Mozart in Wien (Vienna: Kaltschmid, 1951).
12 . Mattheson, Critica Musica , 2:198 (197.4).
13 . Burney, General History of Music , 950.
14 . Ibid., 950n.
15 . Ernst Flade, Gottfried Silbermann: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des deutschen Orgel- und Klavierbaus im Zeitalter Bachs , 2nd ed. (Leipzig: Breitkopf and H rtel, 1953), 220n.
16 . The law also forbade boys born illegitimately or from Protestant or Jewish families from becoming apprentices.
17 . Marc Schaefer, ed., Das Silbermann-Archiv: Der handschriftliche Nachlass des Orgelmachers Johann Andreas Silbermann (1712-1783) (Geneva: Amadeus, 1994).
18 . Ibid.
19 . What previously had been sometimes doubted can be documented today: Christian Ernst Friederici learned his art from Gottfried Silbermann.
20 . Haydn was not allowed to marry while he was in the service of Count Morzin, in 1759, although Prince Esterh zy later employed Haydn as a married man. However, Haydn s contract granted ownership rights of all his compositions to the prince, a paragraph considered natural by both contractual partners.
21 . See Thomas Bauman, Musicians in the Marketplace: The Venetian Guild of Instrumentalists in the Later Eighteenth Century, Early Music 19, no. 3 (1991): 345.
22 . Under Emperor Joseph II this law was declared null and void (Gesetz vom 10. Juli 1782 ber Abschaffung des Unterschiedes zwischen Stadt- und Vorstadt-Meistern).
23 . Hof-Rescript, May 17, 1699, Bohemia, quoted in Wenzel Gustav Kopetz, Allgemeine sterreichische Gewerbsgesetzkunde (Vienna, 1829), 2:19.
24 . See Sabine K. Klaus, Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des Saitendraht herstellenden Handwerks in N rnberg bis zum Beginn des 19. Jahrhunderts, in Der sch ne Klang , ed. Dieter Krickeberg (Nuremberg: German National Museum, 1996), 112-142.
25 . N. . Komm. Fasc.63/1 N4. 74 ex Martio 1776.
26 . Decree, July 27, 1768. Those who had hofbefreite status would retain it (decree, November 26, 1768). See Karl Pribram, Geschichte der sterreichischen Gewerbepolitik von 1740 bis 1860 auf Grund der Akten (Leipzig: Dunker and Humblot, 1907), 1:136-137.
27 . The Viennese city magistrate ruled largely independently in the inner city but was governed by Lower Austria.
28 . Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv, Sign. Alte Registratur A2 Nr. 159, April 29, 1778.
29 . This commentary attached to Volkert s application is in the Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv, Sign. Alte Registratur A2 Nr. 159, April 29, 1778.
30 . Emphasizing his work as cabinetmaker was obviously a matter of Volkert s cautious and clever self-protection.
31 . Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv, Sign. Alte Registratur A2 Nr. 159, April 29, 1778.
32 . Ibid.
33 . Ibid.
34 . Ingrid Fuchs, Nachrichten zu Anton Walter in der Korrespondenz eines seiner Kunden, Mitteilungen der Internationalen Stiftung Mozarteum 48 (2000): 107-113.
35 . Ibid., 112.
36 . Richard Maunder, Keyboard Instruments in Eighteenth-Century Vienna (Oxford: Clarendon, 1998), 152.
37 . See Helga Haupt, Wiener Instrumentenbauer von 1791-1815, Studien zur Musikwissenschaft 24 (1960): 120-184.

Bartolomeo Cristofori
DURING THE RENAISSANCE and Baroque periods it clearly had been a great desire among European musicians and instrument makers to invent a stringed keyboard instrument with a louder tone than a clavichord and capable of dynamic flexibility comparable to the human voice or a violin. In the fifteenth century, Henri Arnaut of Zwolle (in his treatise from 1440) had designed and described a clavisimbalum , and one of his designs shows a harpsichord mechanism that apparently was supposed to strike the strings with hammers rather than pluck them. 1 Thus, cum grano salis , it could be called a kind of forerunner of the piano; unfortunately, no such instrument has been preserved. Perhaps it was never built or used. During the next two centuries there were other attempts to tackle the abiding problem of how to construct a harpsichord capable of dynamic shadings or how to get a clavichord to become a louder instrument. Many sixteenth- and seventeenth-century attempts are known that might have been temporally considered useful, but only toward the very end of the seventeenth century was this desire finally realized. An invention by Bartolomeo Cristofori of a new arpicimbalo che fa il piano, e il forte (a wing-shaped cembalo that can make [allows] soft and loud) was described in an inventory dated 1700 and listed as belonging to the collection of musical instruments of Prince Ferdinando de Medici. 2 In principle it was already the successful hammer mechanism allowing dynamic changes: the cembalo con martelli , or harpsichord with hammers, in its first stage. The actual date of the invention of this action seems to have been the year 1697. 3
A hundred years earlier, the organ and instrument builder Hippolito Cricca, alias Paliarino, wrote in 1598 several letters in Ferrara to his employer, the Duke of Modena, 4 in which he mentioned not only an istromento piano e forte but also two combined instruments with different mechanisms to produce the tones. One of these interesting keyboard instruments was a combination of an organ with an istromento piano e forte, an innovative creation not otherwise known to us from that time; the other instrument was apparently a kind of harpsichord-piano. The relevant passage at the beginning of Cricca s letter from the last day of December 1598 reads:
A.S.A.S. ma Serenissimo Signor Mio.
L Altezza vostra sappia che mi ritrovo del suo che io ricuperatto da questi Pretti l horggano di cart l istromento piano e fortte co l horggano disotto, un altro l istromento di dua registri et il piano e fortte, quello che adoperava il ser. mo S. r Duca Alfonso buona memoria., et cosi li sonno andatj mantenento, et sonno benissimo al hordine cosi piacese a Dio.
Da Ferrara di Ultimo Decembre 1598
D.V.Altezza Ser .ma Ubidientissimo Ser. re
Hippolito Cricca ditto Paliarino. 5
(To my most serene and most respected Patron, the most serene Duke of Modena
May Your Highness know that in light of your letter I have reclaimed from these priests the organ with paper pipes, the istromento with the organ below, [and] another instrument with two registers and the piano e forte , that which was used by the Most Serene Lord Duke Alfonso of good memory, and they have been well maintained and are very well in order: may it please God that all the others that were taken from me should be in the same state as these [ones], for they are [in] very bad [shape], and if Your Highness does not give some order will go from bad to worse. I also make known to Your Highness that the Chapel organ is never looked after by anyone, so that it, too, will come to harm, and in a short time some pipe of importance might be stolen; and because on my departure I claim to Your Most Serene Highness that I have always been good and most faithful to the Este line.
From Ferrara, the last day of December 1598
Most Obedient Servant of Your Serene Highness
Hippolito Cricca, called Paliarino)
Though all the known extant letters from Cricca to the Duke were first published by Valdrighi, the original text of this most interesting letter and also a translation into English is fortunately reproduced by Konstantin Restle 6 and also in Stewart Pollens s book The Early Pianoforte , from where the quotation above stems. The letter excerpt hints at the most interesting probability that one of Cricca s two combined instruments was a combination of a quilled harpsichord with a piano e forte instrument as Pollens advocates: The description of the second instrument is most intriguing, as it suggests that piane e fortte is an additional resource of a two-register harpsichord. 7
Did Cricca consider the piano e forte instrument indeed as an additional resource? If this was the case and if it was known to Cristofori and he shared this view, it might explain the mysterious name Cristofori later gave his cimbalo (he always wrote cimbalo instead of cembalo ): cimbalo con un solo registro . Unfortunately, Cricca s instruments are all lost and no other documents mentioning these instruments in more detail are known. Many questions regarding the early piano e forte built by Cricca come to our mind, and most intriguing is this one: How much did Cristofori know about Cricca and his instruments? We shall probably never know the answer, but Cricca s surviving letter confirms what is known from other sources, namely, that combined keyboard instruments were built at the very beginning of the Baroque period, not only in the eighteenth but also in the seventeenth century. Cristofori may very well have heard of the existence of such instruments and of Cricca. Therefore, he might have called his first piano in 1700 cimbalo che fa il piano e il forte , though it is not certain that he ever saw an instrument of Cricca.
In the seventeenth century, other interesting keyboard instruments with dynamic gradation possibilities using tangents for striking the strings (Franciscus Bonafinis) or combined keyboard instruments (Michele Todini; see plate 1 ) were built, but apparently they had no lasting effects. An unfortunately incomplete description of the highly complicated Todini instrument, discussed first by Athanasius Kircher in 1650 in Rome, and a painting of it ( plate 2 ) are the only surviving remembrances.
In his book Bartolomeo Cristofori und die Anf nge des Hammerklaviers , Restle discusses in detail the few known descriptions of early attempts at building such keyboard instruments from Arnaut de Zwolle to the Ferrarese instrumenti pian e forte mentioned above and the Todini combined instruments. Todini s combination of four keyboard instruments is another example of apparently interesting but lost instruments of which we simply do not know enough. Following Restle s footsteps, Stewart Pollens also reviewed all the little known predecessors of Cristofori s harpsichord with hammers. In addition he discussed the interesting extant spinettino by Franciscus Bonafinis, which probably was turned into a tangent piano as early as 1632. 8 Both authors discuss and analyze these predecessors of Cristofori in detail and evaluate their achievements. Prior to both books and unknown to Restle, a 1988 article by Hubert Henkel appeared in Leipzig, East Germany, with the title Cristofori als Cembalobauer. It was translated in 1992 into English by Howard Schott and appeared as Bartolomeo Cristofori as Harpsichord Maker. 9 This study offers an especially detailed discussion of all Cristofori instruments kept in the Musikinstrumenten-Museum belonging to the University of Leipzig. This museum owns not only two Cristofori harpsichords with quills but also one with hammers and various spinets, and Henkel rendered an account of the unique mechanical and aesthetic achievements of Cristofori. 10 Reading all the descriptions of these competent museum curators and restorers yields abundant information about Cristofori and his Italian predecessors. Anyone interested in piano construction in general and in Cristofori s outstanding solution of mechanical problems in particular should study Restle, Pollens, and Henkel. Though it may turn out that one day more forerunners of Cristofori s piano will be discovered, surely none will be found whose hammer action could compete with Cristofori s ingenious sophisticated invention.
To sum up, in 1697 or 1698 Bartolomeo Cristofori may have invented his first promising mechanism for a harpsichord with hammers striking the strings, and he finished his very first piano one or two years later; it was described in the inventory of 1700 and listed as Medici property. A confirmation of this date 1700 is given by a marginal note from Federico Meccoli, a Florentine court musician (it was found in an edition of Gioseffo Zarlino s book Istitutioni harmoniche :
Questi sono gl andament che si possono adattare in su l Arpi Cimbalo del piano e forte inventato da Bartolomeo Christofani Padovano, l Anno 1700, Cimbalaro del Gran Principe Ferdinando di Toscana. 11
(These are the ways in which it is possible to play the Arpicimbalo del piano e forte , which was invented by the master Bartolomeo Christofani of Padua in 1700.) 12
The text of the inventory of 1700 ( plate 3 ) starts with the words:
Un Arpicimbalo di Bartolomeo Cristofori di nuova invenzione, che fa il piano, e il forte due registri principali unisono.
(A newly invented harpsichord of Bartolomeo Cristofori that allows the piano and the forte [playing] with two registers [ sic ] strings of the same pitch.)
The scribe obviously did not understand the functioning of Cristofori s new invention.
Probably only after continuous improvements, Cristofori s mechanism of a reliably working action proved itself eventually as being the solution of the century-old desire of instrument makers. Cristofori s pianos of the 1720s eventually became the much-admired model for later successful instruments of this type. An odd disagreement among German writers in the nineteenth century as to whether the first successful invention of a piano e forte had been built in Italy or in Germany ended around 1850, and it was generally understood everywhere that it was doubtless Bartolomeo Cristofori who invented the first hammer action that served as a model for later mechanisms (and not the ambitious young German Christoph Gottlieb Schroeter after 1717).
Around 1900 nearly all twentieth-century musicians and many music historians took it for granted that a cembalo or harpsichord or clavecin had always been nothing else than a harpsichord with quills. Cristofori, however, considered his new instrument with hammers throughout his life simply as a special kind of cembalo. Regardless of whether it was a cimbalo con penne (quills) or a cimbalo con martelli (hammers), he always was convinced that it belonged to the family of cimbalo instruments and thus was a cimbalo. Many modern musicians and musicologists still fail to understand the eighteenth-century terminological practice of calling all wing-shaped keyboard instruments harpsichord or clavecin or cembalo ( cimbalo ) or Fl gel ( fliegl, fl ge ), terms that only referred to the wing-shape form of these string instruments regardless of whether their strings were plucked or struck by hammers or tangents. In chapter 2 we shall discuss in detail the terminological problem that started in Italy with the first naming of Cristofori s nuovo cimbalo with a too-long string of words: che fa il piano e il forte .
Cristofori (Cristofani, Cristofali, Christofori) was baptized under the name Bartolommei Christofani on May 6, 1655, in the Church of St. Luke in Padua. It may be assumed that he was born the usual two days earlier and thus on May 4, in the parish district where he was baptized. Apart from this baptismal record in the relevant parish book, practically nothing is known about his childhood, his education, and the first decades of his professional life in Padua. Eventually he must have become known and highly regarded as a harpsichord builder ( cembalaro ), a good tuner ( bonaccordaio ), a mechanical inventor and probably also as a trained musician. 13 How the Grand Prince of Tuscany, Ferdinando de Medici, became acquainted with Cristofori and learned to value his talents is also not known.
This Grand Prince Ferdinando (1663-1713) was a highly intelligent, well-educated, and enlightened personality who soon became famous as patron of the arts. He was not only interested in music but also active as a musician who apparently enjoyed playing the cembalo. He liked to cultivate friendships with artists and was keenly interested in collecting musical instruments, especially those with keyboards. The prince also loved opera, added a theater to his villa in Pratolino near Florence and engaged important opera composers and equally well-known singers to compose and perform operas and ballets there. All kinds of artisans, including inventors such as Cristofori, interested the prince. He was also a famous collector of paintings.
According to his first biographer, Leto Puliti, the prince needed another cembalaro after the death of the Florentine harpsichord maker Antonio Bolgioni in February of 1688. 14 Bolgioni had been responsible for the tuning and maintenance work of keyboard instruments at the Medici court. Perhaps Prince Ferdinando became acquainted with Cristofori while traveling through Padua before or after the carnival in Venice in 1687 or 1688. The prince could of course have chosen any Florentine instrument maker and tuner as Bolgoni s successor, but perhaps he had already heard of Cristofori s experiments to construct the generally desired new kind of cimbalo che fa il piano e il forte, one with dynamic shading possibilities; and, when meeting him he might have been impressed by Cristofori s musical, mental, and mechanical abilities. In any event, the prince persuaded the reluctant Cristofori to join the artisans in Florence, and Cristofori s first salary was paid from the prince s Guardaroba account in 1688.
A renowned literary figure, the Marchese Scipione Maffei, apparently soon became one of the Cristofori s great admirers. He wrote an article about the new cembalo con martelli that was published in 1711 in the Giornale dei Letterati d Italia and eventually was read in and outside of Italy. Extant notes regarding a 1709 conversation between Cristofori and Maffei, preserved in an archive in Verona, have been found recently and published by Laura Och. 15 According to these notes, Prince Ferdinando had considerable difficulty in persuading the highly gifted and rather independent and proud Cristofori to move from Padua to Florence and to join the many artisans working there for the Medici court. As Cristofori told Maffei, he initially did not like the idea of leaving Padua but finally could not resist accepting the prince s generous offer. Because of exceptionally favorable conditions he decided to move to Florence in April 1688, where on May 6-the day he had been baptized thirty-three years earlier-he received his first payment from the Florentine court as Bartolomeo Cristofori Padovani, nuovo strumentaio del Serenissimo Principe Ferdinando. Records of this payment and of many other documents concerning Cristofori are mostly kept in the state archives in Florence, and some of them were only recently discovered and published by Giuliana Montanari. 16 A survey of source materials for Cristofori s biography apart from those documents that Puliti had already made known during the nineteenth century are also found in Michael O Brien s dissertation, 17 but what we know today about Cristofori s stay in Florence has been best and comprehensively documented and published in various articles mainly by Giuliana Montanari, by Vinicio Gai, and by Stewart Pollens (see selected bibliography).
The notes from the 1709 conversation between Maffei and Cristofori tell us also that Cristofori initially felt ill-at-ease in his new position in Florence. In 1688 he had been given a working place in the Galleria dei Lavoro that was located in the Uffizi. Here, as he told Maffei, it was hard for him to be in the big room with all the noise, but he also admitted that working there among nearly a hundred craftsmen brought with it certain advantages, and he learned a lot from some of the artisans. He managed, however, to keep a rather special position; unlike other workers, he was not dependent on the administration of the galleria but was in direct contact with-and responsible to-the prince, who allowed him a monthly payment, initially of ten scudi. This special court position permitted Cristofori a certain degree of freedom and the complete independence from the guild of instrument makers in Florence, a fact that probably not only saved him money but relieved him also from unpleasant guild restrictions. His duties at court included-besides restoring or supervising necessary restoration work-the construction of new keyboard instruments with the help of assistants. He also had to oversee the transport of instruments to and from the Palazzo Pitti or the opera theater in Pratolino. He probably also participated in some musical performances as a cembalista , an assumption suggested by the fact that after the death of Prince Ferdinando, Cristofori s name was mentioned alongside two dozen other musicians as a virtuoso of the Chamber, a title given otherwise only to musicians. Maffei called Cristofori in his article not only cembalaro (harpsichord maker) but also cembalista (harpsichord player).
Obviously, Cristofori s first steps to invent a more powerful keyboard instrument with dynamic shading possibilities than the clavichord were based on a conviction favored by his many Italian predecessors as well, that what was needed was another kind of cembalo action, a mechanism different from the one of harpsichords using quills to pluck the strings. Thus, Cristofori may have considered it most natural to begin his work with the construction of a harpsichord corpus, and he may have remembered previous experiments using martelli (Latin: marculi ) or martellini instead of tangents, because of the more forceful motion of hammers in moving not perpendicular to the strings but with more strength, taking the longer throw of a hammer. These ideas were probably not new and may have constituted Cristofori s initial considerations. Definitely new, however, and a more important decision was Cristofori s ingenious idea of inventing and supplying his action with an escapement mechanism and a backcheck as well as an intermediary lever so that keys and hammers were not in direct contact. And because he understood that the strings of a harpsichord with a hammer action needed to be thicker to resist the striking hammers, he decided to relieve the soundboard from having hinged the strings to it and fastened them somewhat higher to the frame.
The year 1698 is mentioned by Mario Fabbri as the year in which Cristofori had solved the major problem of constructing a model of the hammer action with an escapement mechanism, thus avoiding a rebounding of the hammer. 18 Fabbri claimed that he found an entry in a diary of the court musician Francesco Manucci and considered 1698 as the actual year of Cristofori s invention. According to Fabbri, in this diary passage Manucci wrote that Cristofori had shown him a model hammer of the newly invented action mechanism, saying that he was on his way to Prince Ferdinando de Medici to demonstrate it to him. Unfortunately, Manucci s diary (a document belonging to the Florentine Archivio Laurenziano) cannot be located at present. That caused doubts about the truthfulness of this story because some of Fabbri s other remarks are apparently wrong or in any case unexplainable; therefore the authenticity of Fabbri s story has been questioned. 19 What can be documented, however, is the fact that in the year 1698 Cristofori felt himself in a position to request an increase of his salary from the prince: twelve scudi instead of ten as a monthly payment plus the rent for his house and an additional payment for some needed repair of it, seems to have been his demand. This demand speaks inter alia for the assumption that he presumably owned already the house where (ca. 1695) he had established his own independent workshop. Although all his requests apparently were granted by Prince Ferdinando, it seems that subsequent payments were delayed or canceled-perhaps caused by the prince s own severe financial difficulties. 20 Probably a new and different financial arrangement between the prince and Cristofori might soon have been worked out. It obviously allowed Cristofori far more freedom and independence to work on his own but included perhaps no regular income. This may have been the main reason why in later years Cristofori was obviously in the position to work in complete independence and to sell privately his newly constructed cimbali che fa il piano e il forte .
In 1700 an Inventario di diversi sorte d instromenti musicali in proprio del Serenissimo Sig. Principe Ferdinando di Toscana (Inventory of different types of musical instruments belonging to His Highness Prince Ferdinando of Tuscany) was compiled. It contained a description of what was apparently Cristofori s first version of a cimbalo che fa il piano e il forte (as noted, Cristofori wrote always cimbalo instead of cembalo ). This inventory list (see plate 2 ) is not preserved in Cristofori s handwriting, and we do not know whether the text was drafted by him. He probably was not responsible for its wording.
The original text in Italian is reproduced in Pollens s valuable book The Early Pianoforte . 21 The English translation of the inventory text by Pollens reads
A grand harpsichord of new invention by Bartolomeo Cristofori, which can play piano and forte, with two registers at the same pitch, with a soundboard of cypress without rose, with sides and halfround moldings similarly inlaid with ebony strips, with some jacks with red cloth [dampers] that touch the strings and with hammers that produce the piano[s] and the forte[s]; and the entire mechanism is part of and covered by a sheet of cypress wood inlaid with ebony, with keys of boxwood and ebony without split sharps, which begin at ci [ sic ] sol fa ut in the low octave and end at cisolfaut [at the high octave] with 49 black and white keys, with two black end-blocks with one to position [the keyboard] and two black knobs above; length three b[racci]a and seven ottavi [= 217.6 cm], width of the front one b. and six soldi [= 98.6 cm], with its music desk of cypress wood, and its outer case of white poplar, and its red leather cover lined with green taffeta and edged with gold ribbon.
From this description in the inventory of 1700 we learn that the new cimbalo con martelli had forty-nine keys and a range of four octaves (C-c 3 ), and we may guess that the instrument most likely had bichord stringing, which the scribe of the inventory associated with quilled harpsichords as due registri principali unison. It seems no question that the word registro in this phrase is understood to refer to the bichord stringing. This perception reinforces the impression that not only the case construction was taken over from harpsichord building but probably also the bichord stringing of normal Italian one-manual quilled harpsichords. 22
The original meaning of the term registro , however, is a stop for a sound change (see chap. 2 ). In remembrance of the letter of Cricca and the fact that combined instruments previously were not only known but common (Todini), Cristofori could have imagined right at the beginning the hammer mechanism as becoming eventually a stop of a normally quilled harpsichord; in this case registro could have referred to the hammer mechanism as an additional register. The second register could have been perhaps then an una corda stop. Such an una corda registro Cristofori added indeed later to his pianos, for example, the extant piano dating from 1720 was built with such an una corda stop.
The Veronese Marchese Scipione Maffei (1675-1755), known as a writer and poet, was one of the editors of the Venetian journal on literature, the Giornale dei Letterati d Italia . When visiting Florence he was highly impressed by Cristofori s new hammer-harpsichord and apparently wanted to support Cristofori in making the new cimbalo con piano e forte better known. Maffei apparently fully grasped the importance of Cristofori s invention. Probably after having started to write his article, in 1709 Maffei visited Florence once more, this time together with the journal s main editor Apostolo Zeno (1668-1750). His purpose may have been to get a better understanding of Cristofori s invention. Of this conversation he made notes. His article finally appeared in 1711 in volume 5 of the Giornale dei Letterati d Italia (144 f.) under the title Nuova invenzione d un gravecembalo col piano e forte; aggiunte alcune considerazione sopra gli strumenti musicali, (A new invention of a large harpsichord with piano and forte ; with added considerations about musical instruments). Eight years later it was reprinted in Italian, 23 and the German translation appeared in 1725 in Hamburg; another one in Dutch followed later in Amsterdam.
Maffei s article is a long essay, containing first an elaborate introduction. It is followed by a lengthy description of the construction of the new cembalo con martelli, after which a short discussion of another curious keyboard instrument with five manuals follows, and finally Maffei commented on ideas about problems of tuning systems for keyboard instruments-an important issue in Cristofori s day. These problems remained to be relevant for many musicians throughout the eighteenth century.
The introduction of Maffei s article and the relevant parts of the description of Cristofori s invention read as follows in an English translation by Stewart Pollens (for the original complete Italian text see the appendix 3 of his book):
If the value of an invention is judged according to its novelty and difficulty, the one of which we shall give an account here is certainly not inferior to any other one reported in a long period of time. Every lover and expert of music knows that the main delight in listening to music concerns the soft and the strong, the piano and forte; it is comparable to light and shadow in painting, and it is the principal source from which skillful performers draw the secret to create a special pleasure for their listeners. Whether in a statement or its repetition or whether the voices diminish little by little in an artful diminuendo and then return suddenly to full power again-which artifice is frequently and to marvellous effect used in the great concerts in Rome, and it is an incredible delight for those who have the proper taste for this art and gives them great pleasure. This diversity and alteration of sound volume, however, in which among others the bowed instruments excell, is entirely absent from the harpsichord; and a person who claims that he could create such a harpsichord [capable of dynamic shadings] would be considered a vain talebearer. Nevertheless, in Florence such a bold invention has not only been conceived but also excellently executed by the Padovani cembalaro Bartolommeo Cristofali, who is a cembalista employed by the Most Serene [Grand] Prince of Tuscany. Thus far he has made three cembali of the size of ordinary harpsichords which perfectly succeeded. To produce a louder or softer sound on them depends upon the differing force with which the player presses the keys, and the diverse grades of pressing result not only in forte and piano but also in the diminishing and the [increasing] alteration of sound, similar to what can be done on a violoncello.
Some professors have not given this invention the applause which it deserves, firstly because they did not understand how much ingenuity was required to overcome all the mechanical difficulties and with what marvelous delicacy of touch his [Cristofori s] hands needed to work to get so accurately and correctly a result; secondly it had appeared to them as though the sound of the instrument, being different from the ordinary, is too soft and dull; but this is an impression which comes to those who for the first time put their hands on the instrument and expect the silvery tone of the other gravecembali; the ear, however, adapts itself to it in short time and then becomes so charmed that it will never tire of it, and the common gravecembali no longer please; and we should add that it [the new cimbalo] sounds even more sweet from some distance. Other critics complain that this instrument does not have such a powerful tone and is less loud than other gravecembali. To this, one may answer that firstly it does have more power than at first one may give it credit for, and secondly if someone knows how to play it, he can strike the keys with force. Besides, one has to accept things for what they are and should not demand something from one [instrument] for which it was not invented but which was designed for another. This is really a chamber music instrument and not adaptable for church music or a forceful orchestra. How many instruments exist which are used in chambers and which nevertheless are considered to be among the most delightful ones? It is certain that to accompany a singer or to support an instrument or even join a small ensemble, it sounds strong enough. But this is not the principal reason why it was invented but rather that it will be played alone, like the lute, the harp, the viola with six strings, and other most sweet-sounding instruments. But clearly, the greatest opposition under which this instrument suffers comes from the general lack of knowing how to play it when playing it for the first time. It is not enough to be able to play ordinary keyboard instruments quite well because, being a new instrument, it needs to be played by a master who understands its strength and who diligently practices on it and makes a particular study of the varied pressure on the keys needed to achieve a graceful diminuendo and crescendo at the proper time and place; and to find out which delicate pieces suit it best, and to play especially arpeggiando and to separate the parts [dynamically] so that a main subject can always be heard when it appears.
But turning to the particular structure of this instrument, if the maker who invented it knew how to describe it as well as he perfectly knew how to build it, it would not be difficult to explain the artifice to the reader. But as he has not succeeded in that [clear description], I am afraid it is not possible to describe it properly so that one can fully understand the idea and the skill with which it has been brought to function; moreover, I no longer have the instrument before my eyes but only those notes made while examining it, apart from a rough drawing [ designo rozzamente ] done from scratch.
From Maffei s essay and his notes we learn interesting details, for instance, that Cristofori had been soon confronted not only with praise but also with serious criticisms. Some musicians who tried to play his new instrument apparently found it too difficult to control the touch of the keys with the necessary subtlety, while others complained that the sonority of the instrument was not at all brilliant and loud enough to compete with a normal cimbalo. It is obvious that Maffei, who admired Cristofori s invention, wanted to emphasize its importance and considered it necessary to defend the invention. He certainly helped promote the new cimbalo con piano e forte with his article.
It seems probable (and Maffei s report indirectly suggests this) that Cristofori was not completely satisfied with his first hammer-harpsichord and after 1700 continued to experiment with details and invent new or better solutions for remaining problems. Apparently he built soon another cimbalo action with perhaps a simpler hammer mechanism. Maffei in his article of 1711 tells us of such a different construction:
Quest invenzione stata dall artefice ridotta ad effetto anche in altra form, avendo fatto un altro gravecembalo pur col piano e forte con differente, e alquanto pi facile construtta, ma nondimeno stata pi applaudita la prima. 24
(This invention has also been developed by the maker in another form, since he has built another gravecembalo , likewise with piano e forte in a different and somewhat simpler construction, but nevertheless, the first has been more applauded.)
At this time a new expressive cantabile style in instrumental music had developed in Italy. Keyboard music composers wrote melodically charming cantilenas structured in short periods and tended to like simpler textures with characteristic motifs often combined with their echo repetitions. Compositions in this style were in need of many dynamic gradations. Therefore, the new harpsichord con piano e forte must have aroused the interest of many musicians in Italy. However, this new instrument demanded a new playing style, a new subtle touch with all gradations of finger pressure, yet also a far more forceful one than those touches musicians used on a clavichord. Apparently, this kind of a careful control of touching the keys was not at all easy for organists and harpsichordists to achieve. Actually, it also became a problem and a cause for criticism later in Germany.
Maffei s preserved notes from 1709 were indeed neither clear nor comprehensive enough to immediately understand mechanical details of Cristofori s invention, but nevertheless they provide some valuable information. He demanded from Cristofori a design of his action with explanations in 1709, which he finally managed to get, but only in form of a rough drawing. In spite of his reluctance to approach the difficult task, Maffei did attempt a description of the action of the new instrument. Pollens offers the best detailed analysis of his efforts and supplies an explanation of the terms he uses. The text in Maffei s article (again quoted here based on the English translation of Pollens) continues:
In the first place we can state that instead of the usual jacks [ salterelli ] that sound with the help of quills, there is a row of little hammers [ martelletti ] that strike the strings from below. On the tops the hammers are covered with buckskin. Every hammer s end is inserted into a circular butt or rotella that renders it movable, and these butts are strung together and embedded in a rack. To prevent the hammers when falling back after their blow should not rebound and strike the string a second time, they are made to fall and rest upon crossed little cords of silk, which receive them without noise. But because, in instruments of this type, it is necessary to suppress, that is to stop, the sound, which by continuing would confuse the notes that follow, for which purpose spinets have cloth at the ends of the jacks, since it is also necessary in this new instrument to deaden it entirely and quickly, therefore each of the aforesaid levers has a little tail-piece, and on these tail-pieces is placed a row, or rather a register, of jacks, which from their use might be called dampers ( spegnitoi ). When the keys are at rest, these touch the string with cloth, which they have on their top, and they prevent the vibration which would be caused by the vibration of other struck [strings]; but when the key is pressed, and the point of the lever is raised, the tail-piece is consequently lowered, and with it the damper, so as to leave the string free to sound, which then dies down as soon as the key is released, with the damper rising again to touch the string. However, in order to understand more clearly every movement of this mechanism, and its internal contrivance, examine the diagram and observe its components item by item.
In his next paragraph Maffei tries to explain why and how the wrestplank is turned around, and he mentions the important fact that the strings had to be thicker than normal. He also explains that Cristofori used thin leather and cloth at all points of contact wherever any disturbing noise or rattle might otherwise occur. As mentioned above, Maffei then reports that Cristofori had also made a second cembalo with hammers with a different action, simpler but altogether less satisfying. Afterward, in a long paragraph, Maffei says that Cristofori pointed to the necessity of a hole to let the air out of the corpus, which, however, he considered to be not necessarily the usual rosette; he also pointed to the important fact that Cristofori freed the soundboard from being fixed to the side wood, and finally he described some few additional necessities.
It is understandable that in the main part of his article, the Marchese found it desirable to offer his readers this lengthy detailed description of Cristofori s new cimbalo. Pollens rightly has pointed to the fact that this distinguished literary figure [Maffei] undertook the remarkable challenge of describing a new and complex mechanical device, and considers it a sign that provides some indication of the broad interest generated among intellectual circles over Cristofori s piano. 25 Indeed, Maffei s article contradicts the still widely held impression that there was a lack of interest in Italy in Cristofori s new instrument among musicians and dilettanti .
Marchese Maffei s motivation to write in detail about Cristofori s invention of the hammer-harpsichord was certainly caused by his genuine personal enthusiasm for the new cimbalo, which he had probably heard demonstrated by Cristofori himself. But the motivation could also have been aroused by compassion with the inventor when hearing of immediate and perhaps really unjust criticisms and by noticing Cristofori s disappointment that his new cimbalo apparently did not get the praise it deserved.
In preparing his article, Maffei obviously wanted all readers to understand the enormous difficulties Cristofori had managed to overcome, and he pointed to the great merit this invention deserved. It is questionable, however, whether the published rough design allowed other instrument builders to imitate Cristofori s invention. Perhaps Cristofori was not really interested in fulfilling better the request to supply a design with all details so that actual copying was possible. As with every inventor, he perhaps did not like the idea of being copied without his permission.

FIGURE 1.1 (A) String; (B) frame, or bed of the keyboard; (C) ordinary key, or first lever, which at its extremity raises the second; (D) block mounted on the key; (E) second lever, on each side of which is attached a piece that supports the tongue; (F) pivot of the second lever; (G) movable tongue, which when raised by the second lever, forces up the hammer; (H) thin pieces between which the tongue is pivoted; (I) brass wire pressed together, to keep the little tongue firm; (L) spring of brass wire that passes under the tongue; (M) rack in which all the hammer butts rest; (O) hammer, which when propelled upward by the tongue strikes the string; (P) crossed cords of silk, upon which the hammer shanks rest; (Q) back of the second lever, lowered when the key is pressed; (R) register of jacks or dampers; and (S) part of the frame to strengthen the hammer rack. Terminology based on Pollen s translation of Rime e prose del sig. marchese Scipione Maffei (Venice: Coleti, 1719).
As mentioned above, most parts of Maffei s article were eventually translated into German by the Dresden court poet Johann Ulrich K nig and appeared 1725 in Mattheson s Critica Musica II . 26 Thus, with his article Maffei probably succeeded in convincing readers scattered all over Europe that Cristofori indeed had found an effective though rather complicated solution to an old mechanical problem. At the same time, he made it also clear that it was not so easy for keyboard players to immediately enjoy playing the new harpsichord with hammers or cimbalo con martelli. It needed a versatile and talented Italian harpsichordist willing to practice and to explore the possibilities of the instrument s new dynamic flexibility. Furthermore, the new instrument demanded from the musicians-apart from the necessary practice to achieve an especially subtle touch-the acceptance of a new kind of sound, softer and darker and more neutral in timbre than that of the normal harpsichord with quills.
The fact is well-known that in Italy, as in France and England, clavichords were built as simple instruments and in general not highly valued by professional keyboard players. Hardly anybody played them for private enjoyment or performances. In these countries their use was limited to mere practical purposes mainly by singers. This is one of the reasons why a refined touch on the new piano was most likely more difficult to achieve for Cristofori s Italian colleagues, who were accustomed to the constantly strong strokes needed to play organs and quilled harpsichords. For them, a challenging amount of practice time as well as special efforts were necessary for harpsichordists to master the new keyboard technique with soft touch gradations. Even today, trained harpsichordists usually have more problems with learning to master the fortepiano touch than trained pianists, while at the same time pianists used to Steinways or B sendorfers sometimes struggle for weeks to get the needed light weight arm that an eighteenth-century pianoforte needs to sound at its best. This was easier for those German musicians during the eighteenth century who used to play clavichords to get the necessary touch control needed to play the new instrument.
Maffei s remark that in 1709 Cristofori had made no more than three pianos should probably not be taken literally; it is likely that in 1709 Cristofori had made only three pianos to his own satisfaction, pianos that he found good enough to give them out of his hands and to sell them. One of these three instruments was probably the one acquired in 1702 by the castrato Carlo Antonio Zanardi from Bologna, because in his will of 1703 he left a cimbalo con martelli made by Cristofori to the castrato Francesco de Castris, who was in the service of Prince Ferdinando. 27 Another piano was apparently purchased by the Grand Prince Ferdinando with the intention to present this new raro cimbalo to Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni in Rome; this fact we learn from a preserved repair document of 1716, when Ottoboni s piano was sent back to Florence to be repaired. The third cimbalo col piano e forte Cristofori probably sold to Prince Ferdinando-the prince had acquired it for his musical instrument collection.
As mentioned above, between 1688 and 1698 Cristofori received a regular salary from Prince Ferdinando s Guardaroba plus eventual extra payments. However, no regular payment can be documented afterward, and only a few documents, which apparently always concerned special repair services, exist that refer to any extra payments after 1700. All this speaks for a new arrangement of the employment ties between Grand Prince Ferdinando and Cristofori after 1698. The prince may have been forced to dismiss Cristofori due to his own-by then disastrous-financial situation, as O Brien has discovered. 28 It is also possible that Cristofori, after finishing his first nuovo cimbalo, felt naturally proud and perhaps took care himself to regain his complete freedom. By then he owned a house and his independent workshop and, as a home owner, he probably had become automatically a citizen of Florence. As David Sutherland has stated, 29 it may well have been the case that Cristofori preferred to make his own way in the open market, if only because the Medici purse had proven not to be entirely reliable. 30 According to O Brien, after Ferdinando s death unpaid invoices for repair work had accumulated to an enormously high sum. He writes: As late as 1720 Cristofori s unpaid balance of 300.4.7.4. scudi on his invoices to the Grand Prince was recorded in the volume of Ferdinando s debtors and creditors as still outstanding. 31
It seems therefore plausible that after 1700 Cristofori had indeed the freedom to build and sell his instruments in complete independence. When Cristofori regained this independence, he first may have worked with only one assistant, but later he must have had at least two helpers. It is not known in which year his most famous pupil, Giovanni Ferrini, started to work for him-perhaps first as an apprentice and, after the training years, the usual three more years as journeyman. Eventually he became a master himself. A picture of his perhaps earliest instrument is a beautifully decorated large harpsichord with quills, signed Giovanni Ferrini Florentinus fecit anno Domini 1699. It is preserved in a museum in Stuttgart/Germany. 32 When Cristofori became seriously ill, Ferrini worked independently and creatively as master instrument builder, able to take over all the tasks and orders of his teacher. Finally, after Cristofori was too old for any kind of work, Ferrini first inherited his workshop and finally continued there to build and sell his own instruments. Pollens s article Three keyboard instruments signed by Cristofori s Assistant Giovanni Ferrini refers to an advertisement in The Public Adviser of May 7, 1774, offering a Piano Forte harpsichord made in Florence. 33 (It is likely that Piano Forte harpsichord meant a combined instrument.)
In the late summer of 1702, at the invitation of Prince Ferdinando, Alessandro Scarlatti and his son Domenico came to Florence. Alessandro Scarlatti had agreed to compose an opera for the theatre in Pratolino. For that purpose and to supervise its staging, he remained in Florence until the spring months of 1703. However, his seventeen-year-old son Domenico, already known as a gifted keyboard player and employed in Naples as an organist, had to return to Naples in November of 1702, so his sojourn was shortened to three or four months.
Domenico Scarlatti was the first great keyboard composer-performer, it has been generally assumed, who not only met Cristofori in Florence but also tried out the new cimbalo che fa il piano e il forte and learned to play it properly. Obviously he was fascinated by the new possibility of flexible dynamics because apparently it was Domenico Scarlatti who introduced the new Cristofori instruments in Portugal after 1719. During those months Scarlatti spent at the Medici court in 1702, there certainly was enough time at his disposal to become intimately familiar with Cristofori s new cimbalo con martelli.
In some of what are probably Scarlatti s early sonatas, we find various hints that he experimented with new technical possibilities. Obviously, the pianoforte inspired his creative mind. He must have become an enthusiastic admirer of Cristofori s invention because, in all probability, it was that enthusiasm for the piano that prompted the king of Portugal to order several new instruments from Cristofori when he engaged Scarlatti. The king s daughter, Princess Maria Barbara, became Scarlatti s pupil in Lisbon, and when she married the Spanish crown prince and moved to Seville in 1729, Scarlatti followed her and, except for a few trips to Italy, spent the rest of his life in her service in Spain (see chap. 3 ). Arriving with Scarlatti in Seville in 1729, Crown Princess Barbara apparently immediately ordered a hammer-harpsichord from Florence. Scarlatti s personal great interest in Cristofori s new instruments explains best the acquisition of pianos at the royal courts in Portugal and Spain. It cannot have been a mere coincidence that Scarlatti took great care to see that at least half a dozen of Cristofori s and Ferrini s new pianos were exported to Portugal and Spain.
Prince Ferdinando s admiration of Scarlatti as a brilliant keyboard player in Florence in 1702 is confirmed by a letter from Alessandro Scarlatti to Prince Ferdinando, written in 1705, in which Alessandro referred to the prince s knowledge of the virtuoso abilities of his son. Domenico was about to visit Florence again in 1705, this time without his father, and Alessandro apparently hoped that the Florentine court would offer Domenico a position. That did not happen, but Prince Ferdinando s letter to a nobleman in Venice recommending Domenico as a virtuoso musician makes it obvious that the prince highly valued the keyboard playing of Domenico.
As observed above and reported by Maffei, Cristofori must have been disappointed that at first his newly invented cimbalo con piano e forte did not generally meet with great enthusiasm. It may have taken him some time to understand that musicians missed the bright sound of a normal harpsichord with quills, and he had to admit that the sound of his new cimbalo without quills and with only a hammer action was indeed softer, darker, and not at all as brilliant as that of a normal harpsichord. Being a performer himself, he himself may have missed the brilliant sound of quills. Evidently, his understanding of this lack as a defect may soon have given him the idea to consider the construction of a combined instrument, the combination of a harpsichord with quills and an action with hammers, an instrument that allows the enjoyment of brilliance and dynamic flexibility as well. Today we call these instruments harpsichord-pianos.
It is possible and likely that Cristofori remembered the old tradition of combining instruments, and perhaps he even had heard of Cricca s or Todini s instruments. Probably shortly after 1711, and thus in the second decade of the century, he may have started to consider the invention of a combined instrument, and he may have worked on solving the construction problems of such a combination of the two kinds of harpsichord, perhaps with the help of his assistant Giovanni Ferrini. 34 The text of an entry on Ferrini in a dictionary (that appeared anonymously in the second half of the eighteenth century and once was in the possession of Padre Martini in Bologna) hints at Ferrini s involvement and collaboration:
Ferrini Giovanni morto in Fiorenze sua patria nell anno 1758 fu celebre artefice di gravecembali, ne fu ottimo resarcitore, fu il migliore di due scolari di Bartolomeo Cristofori da Padova; costrui gravecembali a martelli sulla norma e invenzione del suo maestro con aggiungervi di pi il poterli sonare ancora di penne, e fu il primo a costruire gravecembali con le corde di minugia. 35
(Ferrini Giovanni, who died in his birthplace, Florence, in the year 1758, was a famous harpsichord artisan, an excellent restorer, and the better of the two students of Bartolomeo Cristofori from Padua; he made harpsichords with hammers according to the standards and invention of his master and added to them so that they also could be played with quills, and he was the first to build harpsichords with gut strings.)
It is obvious that Ferrini had learned from Cristofori how to make hammer-harpsichords, and it seems likely that under the guidance of his teacher, he already learned how to construct the first combined instruments with quills and hammers in those years after 1711. Such a considered early existence of combined harpsichord-pianos in Florence is not an absurd assumption; verifiable evidence suggests that in Cristofori s lifetime combined harpsichord-pianos were built in his workshop. The notion that an instrument of this kind was in the possession of Princess Maria Barbara of Asturia (later Queen Barbara of Spain), was once proposed by Hubert Henkel and by John-Henry van der Meer 36 (although I was told that after protests in Italy born of linguistic differences, both authors became insecure and doubted the correctness of their observation). But as early as 1712 or 1713 Cristofori and Ferrini may well have considered building combined cimbali (harpsichord-pianos in modern terminology) as the by far best response to the demands of most musicians, because harpsichords with both qualities-the brilliance (due to quills plucking the strings) and the expressiveness and sonority of increased melodic sweetness along with flexible dynamic nuances-addressed the main criticism with which Cristofori s nuovo cimbalo had been confronted in the earliest years of its existence: the lack of brilliance. And if Cristofori considered the hammer action to be a new register for the quilled harpsichord, then his way of listing his cimbalo col piano e forte in 1716 as Cimbali con un solo registro (see chap. 2 ) certainly becomes understandable and even likely if one considers the argument of the French Guild against Marius claiming that his action models were copies of a foreign invention.
Fortunately, a compound instrument in its final mature form and manufactured considerably later by Ferrini has survived the times: it is dated 1746; thus, it was built long after Cristofori s death. It shows a fully developed and refined mechanism, perfectly functioning, and thus, it displays a perfection that was achieved probably after many revisions of details; it is ein ausgereiftes Produkt as its proud owner Pier-Luigi Tagliavini observed some years ago ( plate 4 ). The fact that it is from such a comparatively late time does not exclude the possibility that the very first instruments of this kind could have been invented three decades earlier. This harpsichord-piano previously was part of the famous instrument collection of Luigi-Ferdinando Tagliavini in Bologna and belongs now to a museum of that city. 37 The important question of when a combined instrument actually was built in Florence needs some more thought and consideration. Was it only a matter of chance that in 1716 in Paris Jean M. Marius sketched also a combined harpsichord? 38 The Parisian guild members may have known of an invention Cristofori and/or Ferrini had built.
In Vienna in 1725 the organ builder Christoph Leo from Augsburg advertised Fl gel mit und ohne Kiele (harpsichords with and without quills), 39 a wording that apparently meant that he offered normal harpsichords with quills as well as other harpsichords with hammers or tangents. But perhaps Leo meant and offered a combined harpsichord-piano and thus a fl gel mit und ohne kiele (the term fl gel referred only to the wing-shaped form of a keyboard instrument-see chap. 2 ). Leo like Marius might have received a message from Italy that in Florence not only hammer-harpsichords but also combined harpsichord-pianos were built; or perhaps he heard from Paris that Marius designed such an instrument with quills and hammers. He then might have taken such reports as a hint to construct a combined harpsichord-piano as well. Reports and rumors of this kind may well have traveled around Europe. It seems at least possible that the manufacturing of a combined harpsichord-piano started in Cristofori s workshop and existed in Florence even before 1715. The late Howard Schott wrote in 1989 in The New Grove Early Keyboard Instruments a revised version of some of Edwin Ripin s articles for The New Grove (Papermac, MacMillan London 1989). On page 183 of this little book we find the following text:
The earliest experiments [to combine harpsichords with quills and hammer-harpsichords] must predate 1716, when Jean Marius submitted models of four different hammer-harpsichords ( clavecins maillets ) to the Acad mie Royale des Sciences in Paris, one of which was a combined piano and harpsichord with both hammers and jacks. An arpicembalo by Cristofori (listed in a Medici inventory, apparently from 1700) also had hammers and a jack mechanism. 40
Where Schott learned that such an arpicembalo existed in 1700 or whether Schott personally had discovered a document in Florentine archives telling this fact are unknown to me. But it is probable that the idea of a combined instrument was first that of Cristofori and Ferrini and then taken up by Marius (and later copied by Leo and perhaps also by other instrument builders still unknown to us). The Parisian guild members insisted that foreign inventions existed prior to 1716. Therefore, it seems unlikely that the idea of a combined instruments was developed independently by Marius.
A celebrity by 1712, Cristofori apparently continued to experiment in his own workshop in Florence with his two trained assistants. Maffei s article in the Giornale dei Lettere d Italia and perhaps correspondence between European courts and men of letters contributed to his fame. Whether Jean Marius read Maffei s article in Paris or whether a direct connection to the Florentine court (the Medici family acquired a perhaps genuine clavecin bris made by him) gave him the impulse to design not only a piano action but also a combined keyboard instrument (harpsichord-piano), we do not and probably shall never know, unless correspondence between him and Prince Ferdinando or a Florentine official is discovered and supplies an answer to this question. Albert Cohen studied the Dossier Marius in the archives of the Academy of Sciences in Paris. 41 In an excellent article, he reported a dispute between Marius, an independent instrument builder, and the Parisian guilds of instrument makers ( Communaut des ma tres faiseurs d instruments de musique ). When around 1710 Marius petitioned to receive a letters patent from the French king granting him a 20-year privilege to produce clavecins bris , the guild protested. In this fight, however, Marius remained successful, the king apparently supported the patent, and the parliament in Paris granted it. In March 1716 Marius submitted to the Academy of Sciences first two designs of pantal on actions (harpsichords without dampers) and in June 1716 two more designs of hammer actions. The description of the last two designs read in Cohen s translation as follows:
In the report, one action is described as having hammers ( maillets ) entirely replacing the jacks, and the other as providing a portable hammer action keyboard that can be placed on an existing instrument, giving the harpsichordist a choice of hammer or quill action during performance. 42
The described design of a quilled harpsichord into which a portable hammer action can be placed reminds us not only of Ferrini s extant instrument of 1746 but also of German inventions of later times and of John Merlin s instrument described in a London patent of 1774 and an advertisement (see plate 5 ) and of those German pantalon instruments, which were supplied with keyboards. When Marius in 1716 applied for a letters patent, the guild masters protested, and Marius, in his conflict with the Parisian guild, was not successful. After years of fights with Marius, the guild masters prevented his patent from being registered by the parliament.
Among relevant old reports Cohen found an interesting remark written by a disappointed Marius and wrote about it:
The letters patent for Marius new hammer action was never registered in parliament, and while available official documents do not specify the reason for this, a statement found in the Dossier Marius does. It is a bitter statement, charged with emotion, in Marius hand. It reflects Marius reaction to the rejection of his hammer action as a new invention, because (it was declared) the idea had been conceived earlier by a foreign builder. 43
Is this not a document that proves an early invention of combined harpsichord-pianos in Florence?
Due to his untimely death in 1713, Grand Prince Ferdinando never became the ruler of Tuscany. Although Cristofori lost his mentor in that year, he apparently was no longer tempted in 1713 to move back to Padua. In 1716 Cristofori was appointed officially the keeper of the late Prince Ferdinando s musical instrument collection, and Duke Cosimo III requested that Cristofori compile a list of the late prince s collection of instruments. The list exists, written by Cristofori himself and with the following title:
Inventario di tutti gli instrumenti da Sonare di corde, e fiato, pervenuti dall Eredit del Principe Ferdinando di G.M. consegnati di comandamento di S.A.R. a Bartolomeo Cristofori Custode dei medesime.
(Inventory of all the string and wind instruments from the inheritance of His Highness Prince Ferdinando, delivered at the order of His Highness to Bartolomeo Cristofori, guardian of the same.)
According to Giuliana Montanari, the inventories from both 1700 and 1716 are located in the Florentine State Archive (Guarderoba Medicea 117 and 1241 resp.) and have been made available through modern publications. 44 The inventory of 1700, from which the excerpt about the Arpicimbalo di nuova invenzione was quoted above ( plate 3 ), listed seven instruments as being built by Cristofori, including the first described hammer-harpsichord, a number that included several harpsichords with quills and a spinettone. It was first published by Leto Puliti in 1869 and recently published again by Vinicio Gai. 45
Thanks to Giuliana Montanari, today we know more about the incompleteness of both inventories of 1700 and 1716. Montanari wrote:
They list 38 and 47 keyboard instruments respectively. Such inventories usually record those objects found at the date the inventories were made and apply to one specific place; however, and indeed, the 1700 and 1716 inventories do not take account of those instruments that were in other ducal residencies, or of other instruments that were on loan to musicians, court functionaries or other members of the ducal family. For this reason, neither the 1700 inventory nor that of 1716 can be taken to represent the Prince s entire collection. Nevertheless, a collation of these two inventories with other unpublished ones of various dates shows that the collection included a total of 60 keyboard instruments in 1700, and 79 in 1713, the year Prince Ferdinando died. 46
In the inventory of 1700, Prince Ferdinando s collection lists about 130 instruments, among them only thirty-eight keyboard instruments. The Medici family owned, however, many more keyboard instruments, namely, sixty instruments, many of them valuable and made by famous makers. These sixty keyboard instruments, Montanari counted in 1700, comprised twenty-two harpsichords, twenty spinets, two clavicytheria , eight organs, three claviorgana , two clavichords, one hammer-harpsichord (Cristofori s first piano), and two Geigenwercken .
Montanari rightly pointed to the possibility that in 1702 Domenico Scarlatti saw and admired in Florence not only the first cimbalo con martelli but also many of the other interesting instruments of the Medici collection. It was a collection of an encyclopedic character, as all the different known ways of sound production on keyboard instruments were represented: dynamic flexibility could be achieved not only on clavichords but also on the so-called geigenwercken, acquired by the Medici family. Interestingly, also experimental examples of harpsichords were listed-a proof of the interest in developing a harpsichord with flexible dynamics.
Between 1701 and 1713, Prince Ferdinando added an additional nineteen keyboard instruments to his collection, among them a valuable old clavichord, but then also three instruments listed in 1716 as cimbali con un registro, instruments that also were mentioned as having been made by Cristofori. The curious wording Cristofori used for listing these three instruments has created a puzzle for modern organologists and led to many disputes. Tagliavini, Pollens, and other organologists could not believe that pianos were meant by this curious name. Montanari was the first scholar who dared in writing to express her assumption that Cristofori meant and named his pianos this way (see chap. 2 ).
We are confronted with a riddle and a number of questions when comparing the lists from 1700 and 1716. At first glance, it seems that in 1716 not even one cimbalo che fa il piano e il forte is listed, and no cimbalo con martelli is found in the list. Why was not at least the very first arpicimbalo che fa il piano e il forte, described in the inventory of 1700 as belonging to Prince Ferdinando, mentioned in the list of 1716? That Prince Ferdinando did not own at least this very first cimbalo con piano e forte or one of the improved piano-forte instruments from a later year is quite unbelievable. Elsewhere it is documented that Cristofori made his best instruments for Prince Ferdinando. In the 1716 inventory, only a large number of cimbali (without explaining words whether the harpsichord strings were struck or plucked) were listed together with these three cimbali con un registro. Thus, the most important problem concerns the answer to the question: what instruments are meant with three cimbali con un registro and are these instruments not the missing pianos? The prince died in 1713. Cristofori was appointed curator of the instrument collection in the years after Ferdinando s death and personally wrote and signed this inventory list of 1716. There exists more than one reason for assuming that the Medici court still owned at least one if not more Cristofori pianos in 1716 and thereafter; at least the one mentioned in the inventory of 1700 should have been part of Prince Ferdinando s Musical Instruments Collection. But apparently no such cimbalo can be identified if we do not count these latter instruments as pianos-neither in this inventory list of 1716 or in the later inventory of 1732, where, however, four instead of three cimbali con un solo registro are listed. In the next chapter we shall answer positively the question Are these three cimbali the missing pianos and offer a new explanation why Cristofori choose this odd name for them.
The inventories of 1700 and 1716 of Prince Ferdinando s collection had already received a special discussion by Montanari in her article in Early Music of 1991. 47 In one of her more recent articles, Montanari expressed more clearly her conviction that cembali con un registro meant hammer-harpsichords . Her commentary reads
Between 1700 and 1713 the Prince added to his collection another clavichord, again by Domenico da Pesaro, another small organ, a large positive organ by Lorenzo Testa with seven stops, and three cembali a martelletti by Cristofori [with these words Montanari clearly refers to the tre cimbali con un registro ] These additions to the collection clearly point to the Prince s interest in a variety of instruments and in a variety of different sounds. Variation in volume was available in many of the Prince s instruments, either by adding and excluding stops in harpsichords, organs and claviorgana, or by modifying the pressure of the touch in clavichords, pianos and Geigenwercken. The gathering of all the possible timbres including the sounds of a variety of harpsichords with differing sets of stops, harpsichords with plectra and some with hammers, the sounds of clavichords, organs and Geigenwercken, seems indeed to have been the fundamental principle on which the Prince built his collection. 48
Cristofori died in 1732 (1731, according to the Julian calendar). The entry on Cristofori in the anonymous mid-eighteenth-century dictionary (found among the papers of Padre Martini and already mentioned above in connection with Ferrini) reads like a necrologue. 49
Christofori Bartolomeo da Padova morto in Firenze fu celebre artifice di gravecembali, ne fu insigne resarcitore, rendendo ottimi i buoni gi costruiti da migliori antichi autori, e fu inventore da gravecembali a martelli, i quale producono diversa qualit di voce si per il colpo de martelli nelle corde, si ancora per l interna diversa struttura del corpodello strumento, ma questa non visibile nell esterno i migliori strumenti, que egli fece, furono per Ferdinando de Medici Gran-Principe di Toscana suo protettore e figliuolo del Granduca Cosimo III. 50
(Christofori Bartolomeo of Padua died in Florence. he was the famous harpsichord maker, a distinguished restorer rendering even better good instruments made by other past masters, and he also was the inventor of large harpsichords with hammers which produce a different quality of sonority both on account of the hammers striking the strings and the completely different internal structure of the body of the instrument, not visible from the outside. The best instruments that he made were for Prince Ferdinando de Medici Great Prince of Tuscany, his protector and son of the Grand Duke Cosimo III.)
At the end of his article, the anonymous author of this dictionary mentions that he owns a piano made by Cristofori dated 1720.
As stated, in 1716 Cristofori identified only seven keyboard instruments in his inventory list as made by him, among them spinets and quilled harpsichords besides the tre cimbali con un registro. What happened to the best instruments that he made for Prince Ferdinando mentioned in this dictionary article if we do not identify them with those three cimbali con un registro? It is the merit of Giuliana Montanari to insist when writing her articles that her understanding of the mysterious wording Cristofori used for listing his pianos in 1716 is the only plausible explanation of an otherwise insoluble riddle-an opinion that I fully share.
Today only three pianos built by Cristofori are extant, and these three pianos were built and dated long after Maffei s article appeared in 1711. The oldest one stems from 1720 (only theoretically it could have been identical to the one in the possession of the anonymous dictionary writer), the others are from 1722 and 1726, and all three are preserved now in museums. They were signed on the nameboard with the inscription
and afterward each of the proper dates follow in Roman numerals. The oldest of these pianos has been in the possession of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York since 1895. This piano once could have been the property of Prince Ferdinando s widow Violante Beatrice of Bavaria, who after the death of her husband became governatrice of Siena in 1717. 51 Only slightly younger is the extant Cristofori piano dated 1722. It is found today in Rome in the Museo Nazionale Strumenti Musicali ; the rich decoration and perhaps other details caused the suspicion that it once had been the property of Alessandro Marcello (see below). The third extant piano, signed and dated by Cristofori with 1726, is now in the possession of the Musikinstrumenten-Museum of the University of Leipzig in Germany. Apart from these three surviving pianos, there exists a single hammer action of Cristofori that Pollens dated ca 1725 ; 52 it was kept in private possession in Vancouver, Canada.
Important construction details of the extant hammer actions of Cristofori s pianos differ considerably, and these differences make it obvious that Cristofori constantly, and probably right from the beginning in 1700, continued to experiment and work on improvements. Pollens offers the best explanation in English of all these construction details, starting with a description of Cristofori s invention and Maffei s incomplete explanations of 1711 and finishing with the studies of the differences found in the extant piano actions of the 1720s. Pollens s thorough investigations allow an evaluation also of Cristofori s final achievements and show the main differences among the extant actions that Cristofori built. 53 As restorer of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art s Musical Instruments Department in the 1980s, Pollens was responsible for a careful restoration of the Cristofori piano from 1720 owned by this museum, and it was admirable how successfully he reconstructed original parts and brought the piano into a playable condition. 54
In 1726 an unknown Florentine painter made a portrait of Bartolomeo Cristofori. It eventually came into the possession of the Prussian State Library in Berlin. During World War II, it was destroyed, but fortunately it had been reproduced and published by Georg Sch nemann in the early 1930s. It shows a drawing of the hammer action in Cristofori s hand, and this is described by Sch nemann 55 and Pollens as well.
During the late 1720s Cristofori probably became seriously ill. When in 1729 the Spanish Crown Princess Barbara from Seville ordered at least one if not two pianos in Florence, it seems that Cristofori was already too ill to work himself on building or finishing an instrument-he had to leave this task to his assistant Ferrini, who took care of this prestigious order and sent the piano(s) to Spain. Toward the end of his life it is obvious that Cristofori considered Ferrini his best pupil and assistant and a worthy successor as master in his workshop. In Cristofori s first will, dated March 25, 1728, Ferrini was mentioned as his successor and heir to his workshop with all the tools.
In a second will from 1730, however, Cristofori left nearly all his possessions to the sisters Del Mela in gratitude for their continued assistance lent to him during his illnesses and indispositions, but also in the name of charity. 56 According to this second testament, Ferrini received only five scudi:
per ragione di legato e per qualche recognizione per la buona servit prestatagli 57
(for the reason of the bequest and in appreciation of his accomplished good services)
In this second will Cristofori left even all workshop tools to the sisters Del Mela, who sold them to Ferrini. Why? Had Cristofori become dissatisfied and felt perhaps disappointed about Ferrini s financial behavior and his possible decision to keep the payments from Spain for himself? However, in changing his will, it seems that Cristofori s main purpose was to show his gratitude to the Del Mela sisters Anna and Margherita. They were rewarded properly through the fact that Ferrini had to pay them probably a considerable amount of money for getting back the workshop tools.
The Del Mela sisters probably were related to Domenico Del Mela (1683-after 1751), who must have been-at least temporarily-also a pupil of Cristofori. He is known as the maker of an extant upright pianoforte dated 1739, currently kept in the Museo del Conservatorio in Florence. This instrument used the mechanism of Cristofori s action.
After Cristofori s death, Ferrini succeeded in continuing to work in Cristofori s workshop, which is still exhibited in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, 58 and he did so until his own death in 1755. But unlike Cristofori, Ferrini neither was appointed curator of Prince Ferdinando s instrument collection nor did he become a member of the Medici household. After Cristofori s death Pietro Mazzetti occupa il luogo vacante di strumentaio della Real Casa. 59 Occasionally, however, Giovanni Ferrini was asked to repair some instruments of the court collection. He remained working as an independent freelance craftsman and teacher of his two sons, Giuseppe and Filippo, who later also were asked to repair some instruments of the court collection. 60
Cristofori was seventy-six years old when he died in Florence on January 24, 1732 (1731, according to the Julian calendar). On this occasion, Niccol Susier, a lutenist employed at the Medici court, wrote in his diary,
Mor Bartolomeo Cristofani detto Bartolo Padovano famoso strumentaio del gran principe Ferdinando di felice memoria et questo fu un valente huomo in fabbricare clavicembali, ed anche inventore del cimbalo del piano e forte che si fatto conoscere per tutta l Europa servitore ne di esso, la maest del re di Portogallo con pagare detti istrumenti per insino 200 luigi d oro. 61
(Bartolomeo Cristofani, alias Bartolo Padovani, famous instrument maker of the serene Grand Prince Ferdinando, died; highly regarded and memorable he was a worthy personality for the building of clavicembali and the inventor of the cimbalo di piano e forte , a fact for which he became known all over Europe. His majesty the king of Portugal paid for those instruments two hundred gold ducats.)
Susier s interesting remark that the king of Portugal had purchased pianofortes from Cristofori for as much as two hundred louis d or, an enormous sum at that time, is informative as it confirms the assumption that when Domenico Scarlatti was offered a position in Lisbon in 1719, he probably demanded that Cristofori s new instruments should be ordered. The Portuguese king may have received as many as three cimbali col pian e forte instruments for such an amount. This note also confirms that, toward the end of his life, Cristofori was considered a famous celebrity, known as inventor of the cimbalo del piano e forte (or cimbalo con un solo registro) who-at least according to his musician colleague Susier- has become known all over Europe.

1 . See Konstantin Restle, Bartolomeo Cristofori und die Anf nge des Hammerklaviers: Quellen, Dokumente und Instrumente des 15. bis 18. Jahrhunderts (Munich: Editio Maris, 1991). The most informative modern collections of data that led to the sources of these early attempts to construct keyboard instruments with flexible dynamics are found in this book of Restle s and in article book by Stewart Pollens, The Early Pianoforte (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).
2 . Pollens, The Early Pianoforte , 238-243.
3 . See K. Restle, Die Anf nge des Hammerklaviers in Italien , in: Jahruch des Staatlichen Instituts f r Musikforschung Preu ischer Kulturbesitz (Stuttgart: Metzler, 1998), 71.
4 . First published by Luigi-Francesco Valdrighi, Nomocheliurgografia antica e moderna , Modena 1884, p. 273-276.
5 . Document No. LV. Reproduced by K. Restle, Bartolomeo Cristofori und die Anf nge des Hammerklaviers , (pp. 30-37) and also by Stewart Pollens, The Early Pianoforte , Cambridge 1995, Appendix 1 and p. 28. Text here quoted after Pollens.
6 . See K. Restle, Bartolomeo Cristofori und die Anf nge des Hammerclaviers , Munich 1991 (Editio Maris).
7 . See S. Pollens, op. cit., p.29.
8 . Stewart Pollens, The Bonafinis Spinet: An Early Harpsichord Converted into a Tangent Piano, Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society 13 (1987): 5-22.
9 . Hubert Henkel, Bartolomeo Cristofori as Harpsichord Maker, trans. Howard Schott, in The Historical Harpsichord , ed. Howard Schott, vol. 3 (Stuyvesant, NY: Pendragon, 1992).
10 . Besides technological explanations and comparisons, Henkel offered also a fascinating-though possibly erroneous-theory about Cristofori s very first arpicimbalo che fa il piano e il forte claiming that it must have been built as a quilled harpsichord with an additional hammer action.
11 . Quoted in Luisa Cervelli, Noterelle Cristoforiane, Quadrivium 22, no. 1 (1981): 159.
12 . Ibid.
13 . A certain Christoforo Bartolomei, who lived as a resident in 1680 in the house of the old Nicolo Amati in Cremona had been thought for a while to be identical with Bartolomeo Cristofori from Padova; but though it is possible that the latter was also interested in the manufacture of violins and lutes-there exist several larger string instruments with questionable labels using his name-it is now certain that this Bartolomei of Cremona was another person and only a coincidence of similar names suggested a connection. Pollens, The Early Pianoforte , 50-51.
14 . Leto Puliti, Della vita del Serenissimo Ferdinando dei Medici Granprincipe di Toscana e della origine del pianoforte (Florence: Accademia del R. Istituto Musicale di Firenze, 1874), 12: 130.
15 . See Laura Och, Bartolomeo Cristofori, Scipione Maffei e la prima descrizione del gravicembalo col piano e forte, Il Flauto Dolce 14-15 (April-August 1986): 16-31. An English translation of the notes is in Pollens, The Early Pianoforte , 232-237.
16 . Giuliana Montanari, Bartolomeo Cristofori: A List and Historical Survey of His Instruments, Early Music 19, no. 3 (1991): 383-398
17 . Michael K. O Brien, Bartolomeo Cristofori at Court in Late Medici Florence (PhD diss., Catholic University of America, 1994).
18 . Mario Fabbri, Nuova luce sull attivit fiorentina di Giacomo Antonio Perti, Bartolomeo Cristofori e Giorgio F. Haendel: Valore storico e critico di una Memoria di Francesco M. Mannucci, Chigiana 21 (1964): 143-190.
19 . Michael K. O Brien, Dark Shadows across the Nuova Luce of Mario Fabbri (paper presented at the American Music Society Annual Meeting, Bethlehem, PA, 1991). O Brien questions the authenticity of Fabbri s remarks of the lost Manucci diary.
20 . O Brien, Bartolomeo Cristofori at Court in Late Medici Florence.
21 . Pollens, The Early Pianoforte , 238-243.
22 . Hubert Henkel had another suggestion. In his article, quoted above, he came to conclude that Cristofori wanted to add to a normal harpsichord with quills a second register, a new stop, namely that of a hammer action with which the desired dynamic nuances piano and forte were possible; in other words he thought that Cristofori had initially invented what later was called a compound instrument or harpsichord-piano . It is a fascinating idea but Henkel abandoned it in later years because it was hardly a correct interpretation of the text-nowhere in Maffei s description (see below) are hints that Cristofori s new cimbalo was a combined instrument. (See Laura Och, Bartolomeo Cristofori ).
23 . Rime e prose del sig. marchese Scipione Maffei (Venice: Coleti, 1719).
24 . Ibid., 241.
25 . Ibid., 56.
26 . See Johann Mattheson, Critica Musica (Hamburg, 1725), 2:337-338.
27 . Pollens, The Early Pianoforte , 53. See also The New Grove Dictionary of Opera , s.v. Zanardi.
28 . O Brien, Bartolomeo Cristofori at Court in Late Medici Florence.
29 . See David Sutherland, Bartolomeo Cristofori s Paired Cembalos of 1726 , in: Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, vol. XXVI/2000, p. 30.
30 . David Sutherland, Bartolomeo Cristofori s Paired Cembalos of 1726, Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society 26 (2000): 30.
31 . O Brien, Bartolomeo Cristofori at Court in Late Medici Florence, 85.
32 . See F.J.Hirt, Meisterwerke des Klavierbaus. Geschichte der Saitenklaviere von 1440 bis 1880 , Olten 1955, p. 225.
33 . Stewart Pollens, Three Keyboard Instruments Signed by Cristofori s Assistant Giovanni Ferrini, Galpin Society Journal 44 (1991): 93.
34 . Unfortunately, no document proves clearly that Cristofori or Ferrini built combined harpsichord-pianos before 1715; it is likely, however, because the French guild members spoke of a foreign invention that might hinder Jean Marius s pursuit of a patent for his inventions. Albert Cohen, Jean Marius Clavecin bris and Clavecin maillets Revisited: The Dossier Marius at the Paris Academy of Sciences, Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society 13 (1987): 23-38.
35 . Quoted in Montanari, Bartolomeo Cristofori, 387-388. This anonymous dictionary was found among the papers of Padre Martini of Bologna.
36 . See John-Henry van der Meer, Cristofori und Ferrini als Hersteller von Kombinations-Instrumenten, in Studien zur Auff hrungspraxis und Interpretation von Musik des 18. Jahrhunderts , vol. 29: Zur Weiterentwicklung des Instrumentariums in 18. Jahrhundert , ed. Thom Eitelfriedrich (Michaelstein, 1986), 86-87.
37 . This instrument can be seen and heard on Eva Badura-Skoda, The History of the Pianoforte: A Documentary in Sound (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013), DVD.
38 . Quatri me clavecin maillets e sautereau x (see below).
39 . These fl gel and other instruments were offered for sale in the Wiener Diarium in 1725 (see below).
40 . Edwin Ripin, Howard Schott, John Barnes, G. Grant O Brien, William Dowd, Denzil Wraight, Howard Ferguson, and John Caldwell, Early Keyboard Instruments (London: Macmillan, 1989), 183.
41 . See Albert Cohen, Jean Marius Clavecin bris and Clavecin Maillets, in Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society XIII/1987, pp. 23-38.
42 . Ibid., 30.
43 . Ibid., 34.
44 . Giuliana Montanari, The Keyboard Instrument Collection of Grand Prince Ferdinando de Medici at the Time of Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti s Journeys to Florence, 1702-1705, in Domenico Scarlatti in Spain: Proceedings of FIMTE Symposia 2006-2007 , ed. Luisa Morales (Almeria, Spain: Asociacio n Cultural LEAL, 2009), 136 n4.
45 . Vinicio Gai, Gli strumenti musicali della corte Medicea e il Museo del Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini di Firenze (Florence: Licosa, 1969), 6 ff.
46 . Montanari, The Keyboard Instrument Collection of Grand Prince Ferdinando de Medici, 119.
47 . Ibid.
48 . Montanari, The Keyboard Instrument Collection of Grand Prince Ferdinando de Medici, 134.
49 . Early Music 1991, 383.
50 . Quoted in Montanari, Bartolomeo Cristofori, 383.
51 . Pollens, The Early Pianoforte , 89.
52 . Ibid., 67.
53 . Ibid., 62-63.
54 . The beautiful sound of this instrument can be heard on a DVD by Badura-Skoda, The History of the Pianoforte .
55 . Georg Sch nemann, Ein Bildnis Bartolomeo Cristoforis, Zeitschrift f r Musikwissenschaft 16 (1934): 534-536.
56 . Pollens, The Early Pianoforte , 55.
57 . Ibid.
58 . This is also seen on the DVD of Badura-Skoda, The History of the Pianoforte .
59 . Pierluigi Ferrari and Giuliana Montanari, Giovanni, Giuseppe e Filippo Ferrini: Cembalari della corte del granducato di Toscana-Uno studio documentario, in Musicus perfectus: Studi in onore di Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini (Bologna: P tron, 1995), 29-48.
60 . Ibid., 30.
61 . Niccol Susier, Diario di tutto quello che seguito nella citt di Firenze , ms., Biblioteca Ricciardiana, Florence, Acquisti diversi 54, vol. 8, no. 3, quoted in Pollens, The Early Pianoforte , 54-55.

Giving Cristofori s Nuovo Cimbalo a Name
DURING THE LATE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY , relatively peaceful times in Tuscany enabled the Medici family to support the arts and sciences. Toward the end of this century the musically interested Grand Prince Ferdinando de Medici was in a position to collect musical instruments as well as paintings. He was especially interested in keyboard instruments and perhaps had heard some rumors about the innovative ideas and the mechanical abilities of Bartolomeo Cristofori in Padua. It seems that he went out of his way to persuade this gifted cembalaro to come to Florence as an artisan and to work there as a creative inventor of a stringed keyboard instrument capable of flexible dynamics.
Cristofori moved to Florence in 1688. He used a cembalo corpus when he began building his first instrument supplied with an action capable of dynamic shadings. After its completion, he himself probably called his new instrument with hammers an arpicimbalo che fa il piano e il forte. But this long name, supplied with so many added words, was in use for a short time. Why arpicimbalo instead of simply cimbalo ? Perhaps Cristofori s own first sound experiences with his new action might have reminded him of the softer harp sounds; in comparison with the tone volume of the quilled harpsichord the hammer action produced, of course, only relatively soft sounds. But apparently after 1700 Cristofori might have also called his newly invented instrument nuovo cimbalo , a term Scipione Maffei used. 1 Over the course of the next decades Cristofori s new instrument was often called simply cembalo without any such explanatory additions of words such as col pian e forte, con martelli, di martellati , and so on; not even the word nuovo was often added. But it is worth remembering that for Cristofori the harpsichord was always a cimbalo that belonged to the family of cembali .
Thus Cristofori never invented for his new instrument a proper short name. In chapter 1 I showed that in later centuries this fact created misunderstandings and riddles. It was often forgotten that the family of harpsichords was traditionally considered to be a large group of instruments. Different kinds of harpsichords existed before 1700-for instance, those with more than one keyboard or with additional registers or with different ranges. This could be an explanation for the reason why Cristofori failed to invent a completely new term. The lack of a short new name, however, became a problem especially in recent times.
Initially, it seems that a real need for a distinction between a harpsichord with plectra and a harpsichord with hammers was generally not felt. The distinction became more desirable around 1750 in Germany when the possibility of espressivo interpretation with the help of dynamic shadings on pianofortes increased tremendously and the importance of Gottfried Silbermann s the excellent copies of Cristofori s hammer-action instruments developed. Prussian King Friedrich II had become an enthusiastic admirer of Silbermann s pianos, whose instruments were especially appreciated and used in Berlin and Potsdam. A nearly general acceptance of the name pianoforte happened first in Saxony and soon after in Berlin. Therefore, at the court of Friedrich II in Berlin, the two future authors of immensely popular treatises, Johann Joachim Quantz and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, 2 decided, probably in concurrence, to use the German word fl gel solely for harpsichords with quills and Silbermann s proclaimed term pianofort(e) for harpsichords with hammers.
In the Catholic parts of Germany s south the terms bekielter Fl gel and Hammerfl gel instead came into use. Internationally a much slower but finally successful acceptance of Silbermann s term piano-forte led eventually everywhere in Europe to the modern shorter term piano .
Even today there are differences between the north and the south of Germany in the use of the terms Fl gel and Klavier : In Vienna and in Munich, the general meaning of the old word Clavier is preserved and, therefore, all kinds of pianos are named Klavier , regardless of whether a large Konzertfl gel or an upright piano is meant. In Berlin or Hamburg on the other hand Klavier automatically designates today an upright piano, whereas a grand piano is called Fl gel . In Vienna, however, to refer precisely to an upright piano one has to say Pianino . In modern times it became also usual to distinguish between pianoforte and fortepiano . Today musicians usually employ the term pianoforte for original instruments or copies of eighteenth-century pianos with an English action while fortepiano is reserved more or less consistently for instruments with a Viennese action, or Prellmechanik .
In 1688, after Cristofori had moved to Florence, it took him approximately ten years to finish his invention of an action with hammers. The name with the addition of il piano e il forte might have been chosen in remembrance of Paliarino s instruments. But these seven words che fa il piano e il forte after arpicimbalo, a phrase found in the Inventario of the Medici collection of musical instruments from 1700 (see plate 3 ), 3 were too ungainly to serve as a proper name for a new instrument. In 1709 when talking to Marchese Maffei, Cristofori might have mentioned the slightly shorter name cimbalo col piano e forte , a name Maffei adopted in his Giornale dei Letterati d Italia article. Soon thereafter, friends and other musicians would refer to the new harpsichord with hammers also as cembalo con martelli, cembalo senza penne, nuovo stromento, cimbalo con martelletti , and Cimbalo di piano e forte volgarimento di martellato (Lodovico Giustini, title of sonate op.I, Florence 1732). Mostly, however, Italian musicians-regardless of whether they were living in Italy or traveling or settling in various European countries-wrote only cembalo without any additional words, even when circumstances otherwise make it likely that they referred to a cembalo con martelli. In many documents, Italian scribes did not even add the one simple word nuovo when mentioning the new cembalo, a word by which they could have easily clarified the reference to a hammer-harpsichord. One might guess that the scribes probably wanted to avoid additional labor, or perhaps they did not care. But was this the main reason? We shall soon come back to this important question and to other seemingly insoluble riddles connected with the naming of the new.
For modern musicians and musicologists it is difficult to decide whether in a particular case a piano was meant when an eighteenth-century scribe wrote simply cembalo ; only when a document at another occasion was referring to the same instrument and then called it a hammer-harpsichord or piano-forte one can be sure that a piano was meant. When Cardinal Ottoboni thanked Prince Ferdinando in a letter for il raro cembalo, che mi ha favorito, he most likely meant Cristofori s piano that he had received (as a gift?) from the prince; but this wording alone does not conclusively identify the instrument as the new cimbalo che fa il forte e il piano. (Fortunately, in this case, later a repair matter makes it obvious that this raro cimbalo was indeed a nuovo stromento con martelli made by Cristofori.) Likewise, when J. S. Bach announced a Collegium musicum concert in Leipzig in 1733 and the advertisement promised that the audience would hear

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