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Lorenzo da Pavia [Gusnaschi, Lorenzo; Gusnasco, Lorenzo]locked

  • Denzil Wraight

(d 1517). Italian instrument maker who worked in Venice. He is known both through an organ with paper pipes of 1494 and his correspondence with Isabella d'Este, a customer and patron who commissioned a virginal (clavicordio) from Lorenzo in 1496. This instrument is probably the one depicted in an intarsia in Isabella's grotta in the Palazzo Ducale, Mantua, which shows the earliest known use of the C/E–c compass in string keyboard instruments. Although Lorenzo made several harpsichords and lutes, his organ of 1494 is the only instrument known to have survived. This is a rare example of the use of paper pipes and also testifies to the probable use of a tuning close to ⅓-comma mean-tone (see Wraight) 77 years before it was first described in print by Zarlino (Dimostrationi harmoniche, 1571, p.221). According to Donati it had a compass FG–f with two ranks of pipes at 6′ and 3′ pitch. It is held in the Museo Correr, Venice.


  • M. Tiella: ‘The Positive Organ of Lorenzo da Pavia’, Organ Yearbook, 7 (1976), 4–15
  • C.M. Brown and A.M. Lorenzoni: Isabella d'Este and Lorenzo da Pavia (Geneva, 1982)
  • P.P. Donati: ‘1470–90: Organi di cartone degli studiolo dei principi’, La Musica a Firenze al tempo di Lorenzo il Magnifico: Florence 1992, 275–81
  • D. Wraight: The Stringing of Italian Keyboard Instruments c1500–c1650, 2 (diss., Queen's U. of Belfast, 1997), 194–210