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Article

Denzil Wraight

[Jerome of Bologna]

(fl c1521). Italian harpsichord maker. A ‘Jerome of Bologna’ was referred to by Michel Corrette in Le maître de clavecin (Paris, 1753), but otherwise little is known of this maker who worked in Rome. His only known harpsichord, dated 1521, is now at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. It was held to be the oldest surviving harpsichord, which distinction has passed to an instrument of 1515–16 by Vincentius. A harpsichord in the Castello Sforzesco, Milan (cat. no. 579), falsely dated 1503 and now converted to a crude clavichord, was probably made in 1539 but is of similar size and style and assists in identifying the original state of the Hieronymus instrument.

Recent examinations of the 1521 harpsichord have led to conclusions that supersede some of those of earlier literature (Hubbard, Schott and Grove I). Originally the instrument was single strung and, as Debenham discovered, had a 50-note compass. Wraight (...

Article

Lynda Sayce

(d Nuremberg, Dec 4, 1521). German lute maker. He was active at Nuremberg in 1465 and became well known for his instruments in France as well as in Germany. In 1469 Charles the Bold of Burgundy bought three of his lutes for players at his court. Gerle lived at one time in the Kotgasse in Nuremberg, and moved from there to the Breitengasse in ...

Article

Hybrid  

Laurence Libin

[duplex]

Instrument that combines in one unit essential features of two or more different instruments. Produced since the Renaissance if not earlier, hybrids can offer unusual performance capabilities, although many have been created only for novelty purposes, for reasons of economy and convenience, or to demonstrate their makers’ ingenuity. Modern examples include the unique Bassoforte (incorporating parts of an electric bass guitar and a piano) and Experibass (assembled from parts of various bowed instruments) built by the composer Diego Stocco for his own use.

Combining unlike instruments can require structural compromises that impair sonority. For example, the 18th-century marriage of violin and post horn (Salzburg) did acoustical justice to neither; the violin’s body encloses narrow, tightly bent tubing blown through a mouthpiece protruding from the back of the violin’s scroll. But the lira organizzata, a hurdy-gurdy containing a tiny pipe organ, was a vehicle for charming compositions by Haydn and Pleyel. Earlier, guitars had been ‘organized’; in ...

Article

Herbert Heyde

This article discusses trends in organizing the production of European instruments from the 15th century to the mid-19th.

During the 15th century European instrument making entered a new phase with the rise of polyphonic instrumental music. Previously, folk and minstrel instruments had been made mostly by the players themselves. The intricacies of polyphonic music and the social context in which sophisticated instruments such as clavichords, trombones, lutes, and viols were played demanded craft refinement and specialization. The professional traditions of organ building and bell founding provided precedents upon which the new branches of trade could build. While the production of folk instruments continued as it had previously, the new, commercial approach to instrument making gradually evolved into two major forms, which were first observable in the processes of both bell founding and organ building. These forms were small craft-workshops and entrepreneurial businesses. These two forms sometimes intersected; small workshops would sometimes grow and develop into entrepreneurial businesses....

Article

Jantar  

Philippe Bruguière and Genevieve Dournon

(Sanskrit yantra, Hindi jantar)

(1) Sanskrit word yantra means ‘any instrument or apparatus’. The musical term jantra appears in the 15th-century Kallināth’s commentary of Sangītaratnākara as the popular name of the tritantrī vīnā, a vīnā mentioned two centuries earlier by Sarngadeva and likely to belong to the tube zither family. The yantra is primarily mentioned and briefly described before the bīn among the stringed instruments listed in the Ā’n-i Akbarī of Abu’l-Fazl ‘Allami (1595–96). Made of a ‘hollow neck of wood a yard in length, at the end of which are attached the halves of two gourds’, the jantar had five metal strings while the bīn had three. Also quoted in the Kulliyāt-i-Tughrā written under the reign of Jahangir (1605–27) and in the Rāg Darpan (1665–6), it was once an important fretted tube zither in Mughal India. The jantar was not only appreciated in the Northern Mughal courts but also in Central India Deccani sultanates: it is recorded in Zuhurī’s ...

Article

Wolfgang Boetticher

(b Schwäbisch Gmünd, c1445–50; d Vienna, early March 1526). German lutenist, composer and probably lute maker. His family came from Württemberg; his father may have been one Hartmann Judenkünig. He is first recorded in 1518 as a lutenist in the Corpus Christi confraternity at the Stephansdom in Vienna; he had probably already been working as a musician there for some time, and he lived in the oldest quarter of Vienna in a house called the ‘Gundlachhaus’, later celebrated under the name of ‘Köllnerhof’ as a centre for musicians and merchants. Although he was not a member of the nobility, his prominent position as a citizen is indicated by a coat of arms depicting a string player, which appeared in both his books; both books also include a full-page woodcut showing a bearded lutenist (probably Judenkünig himself), together with a pupil playing a large viol. Judenkünig was in contact with the learned humanistic community of Vienna: he arranged some of the odes of Petrus Tritonius, and he seems also to have been familiar with the ideals of the poetic-mathematical circle around Conrad Celtis. His date of death at an advanced age was recorded in the margin of one copy of his ...

Article

(b Breslau, c1425; d ?Schweidnitz, Silesia, after Feb 4, 1499). German organ builder. He was initially apprenticed to a carpenter called Nickel; it is not known who taught him organ building. By 1460 he was considered an ‘egregius magister in ista arte’. He was active in a wide geographical area extending from Silesia to Saxony, Thuringia, Franconia and Swabia far into southern Germany. Like many leading organ builders of the second half of the 15th century (such as Heinrich Traxdorf, Leonhard Mertz, Burkhart Dinstlinger, Friedrich Krebs and Hans Tugi) he was well-travelled. His organs are characterized by the use of independent divisions and stops (Hauptwerk and Rückpositiv or Brustwerk); no specifications have survived. He built organs for St Maria Magdalena, Breslau (1455), the St Egidien, Nuremberg (1460), St Elisabeth, Breslau (1460–64), the Georgskirche, Nördlingen (1464–6), the Frauenkirche, Nuremberg (...

Article

(b Schalkhausen, nr Ansbach; d Strasbourg, 1493). German organ builder. He was active in Franconia from 1471 until his death. New organs or restorations are known for the churches of St Sebaldus, Nuremberg (small organ 1471; large organ 1481), St Martin, Amberg (1476), the Moritzkirche, Coburg (Meister Friedrich 1487), and Strasbourg Cathedral (small organ 1478; large organ 1491); his work at St Georges, Haguenau (1493), was completed by his nephew Michael Dürr. Krebs was a significant organ builder in the line of development from the Gothic Blockwerk organ to the slider-chest organ with divided Blockwerk, as reflected in his specification of Fleiten (Principal), Zymmel (Zimbel) and Werck (Hintersatz or Mixture). The organ was divided into Diskant (Hauptwerk), Rückpositiv and Tenor (pedal). Krebs extended the range of the manuals (F to a″, previously B to f″) and that of the pedals (...

Article

Denzil Wraight

[Gusnaschi, Lorenzo; Gusnasco, Lorenzo]

(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....

Article

Hans Klotz

(b Delft, ?c1400; d Delft, 1480). Netherlandish organ builder . He may have learnt his trade from the Delft organ builders Godschalk and Jannes. In 1446 he was granted, as an organ builder, the freedom of the city of Bruges. In 1472 he was in Tournai, and was also in Lille as a surveyor. He was patron of a prebend at St Pancraskerk, Leiden, and in 1476 named a Franco Wilhelmi as his deputy. He lived to a great age and died in a Delft home for the aged.

In 1448 Pieterszoon built a new organ in St Niklaaskerk, Veurne, and in 1449–50 enlarged the organ in Antwerp Cathedral. In 1450 or 1451 he returned to Delft, where in 1451 he built a new organ in the Nieuwe Kerk for the Fellowship of the Cross. He built a large organ for the same church in 1454–5 (which during his lifetime was replaced by another) and in ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

(b Vienna, Austria, 1370; d Nuremberg, Germany, 1401). Viennese physician, medical astrologer, organist, and presumed harpsichord maker. The earliest dated reference to what might be a harpsichord is in a letter from Padua of 1397 that names Hermann Poll as its inventor. Poll earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Vienna between 1388 and 1395. In 1397 Poll went to the University of Pavia to study medicine (MD, 1398), and en route met the Paduan jurist Giovanni Lodovico Lambertacci, who asked Poll to deliver a cup to his son-in-law in Pavia. In the letter, Lambertacci wrote to his son-in-law describing Poll as ‘a very ingenious young man and inventor of an instrument called the clavicembalum.’ At the age of 31, Poll was discovered in a plot to poison the Elector Palatine of the Rhine, and died on the wheel.

R. Strohm: ‘Die private Kunst und das öffentliche Schicksal von Hermann Poll, dem Erfinder des Cembalos’, ...

Article

Denzil Wraight

[Bruneto dalli Organi; Bruneto dalli alpichordi]

(b 1499–1506; fl 1530–64). Italian maker of keyboard instruments. Active in Verona, he is known from four signed and dated virginals (1532, 1556, 1558 and 1564). A further three virginals and one harpsichord have been attributed to him (see Wraight) and he is linked with two other harpsichords. He is also known to have worked on the organ of S Maria in Organo, Verona, in 1530 and again in 1540–41. His virginals display a style of construction that is midway between the Milanese and the Venetian. The casework is like Venetian virginals but the keyboards are only partially projecting. These virginals are unusual in showing the use of a high 8′ pitch (a′ = c530). One harpsichord (Musée de la Renaissance, Ecouen) is unusually decorated compared with other Italian harpsichords and may have been made for a foreign customer, possibly from southern Germany or Austria....

Article

Umberto Pineschi

( b Prato, 1417; d Napoli, 1492). Italian organ builder . He was the foremost member of the important 15th-century Tuscan school of organ building centred in Prato (another notable member was Matteo da Prato). His organs include those built for S Agostino and S Maria della Scala, both in Siena (before 1459 and 1460), S Francesco, Cortona (1467), and Pistoia Cathedral (commissioned in 1473), but he is known principally as the builder of the organ in cornu Epistolae of the basilica of S Petronio in Bologna, commissioned on 2 June 1470 and completed in 1475. The original gilded case survives, enclosed in a carved stone Baroque outer case of 1674–5. The original instrument had the following specification: Principale 24′ (probably doubled from c), Ottava 12′ (doubled from c, tripled from c′), Quintadecima 6′ (doubled from c′), Decimanona, Vigesimaseconda, Vigesimasesta, Vigesimanona, Trigesimaterza, Trigesimasesta, Flauto in XV (6′). It had a manual of 51 keys (...

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(fl Mainz, c1440–44). German organ builder. He built three organs in Nuremberg between 1440 and 1443: the large organ for St Sebaldus (the modified case was destroyed in 1945) and two (medium and small) for the Frauenkirche. In 1444 he made an organ with Rückpositiv and ‘lödiges’ positive (probably with tin pipes) for St Peter, Salzburg. Traxdorf’s organs consist of one manual, Positive or Rückpositiv and Pedal. Traxdorf was one of the first to depart from the gothic Blockwerk organ by dividing the chests and separating the front stops into Flute (Principal) and Octave (Quoika termed this the ‘Nuremberg type’). The range of the manual was B to d″ and that of the Pedal A to b♭.

PraetoriusSM, ii G. Pietzsch: ‘Orgelbauer, Organisten und Orgelspiel in Deutschland bis zum Ende des 16. Jahrhunderts’, Mf , 12 (1959), 25–35, 152–61, 294–8, 415–21 K. Bormann: Die gotische Orgel zu Halberstadt...

Article

[Johannes; Hans von Basel]

(b Basle, c1460; d Basle, summer 1519). Swiss organ builder. He was the son of a Basle gunsmith and matriculated at Basle University, 1476–7. By about 1500 he was one of the most important organ builders in Switzerland and south-west Germany. He appears to have worked in Mantua Cathedral in 1503. He built new organs in Basle (1487, 1496–9 and before 1510), Mainz (before 1496, perhaps 1490), Brugg (1493 and the following years), Zürich Grossmünster (1505–7), Colmar (before 1513) and Biel (1517–19). He also rebuilt and repaired organs in Basle (1482), Konstanz Cathedral (1489–90; he may also have built a small organ there in 1490–91), Zürich Grossmünster (1511–13), Mainz Cathedral (1514), Berne Minster (1517–19) and Colmar (1513, 1518).

Tugi should not be confused with the German organist Johannes Gross (...

Article

Guy Oldham

revised by Stephen Bicknell

(fl Oxford, 1483–9). English organ builder . In 1486 he constructed a ‘pair of organs’ (i.e. an organ) for the chapel of Magdalen College, Oxford for the sum of £28, and in 1488 repaired it for 40s. In 1487 he entered into an agreement with R. Fitzjames, warden of Merton College, to make a similar instrument, also for £28. According to the late 17th-century antiquary Anthony Wood, who believed that Wotton's first name was William, he was the father of Lambert Simnel, pretender to the English throne in ...