(b 1623–8; d Bologna, 1699, before 28 Jan). Italian singer, composer and instrument maker. He was an Augustinian monk who was employed from about 1649 as a soprano castrato at the Este court at Modena. On 13 November 1660 he was appointed to the choir of S Petronio, Bologna, with a stipend of 50 lire a month; he was discharged on 24 April 1662 but rejoined on 25 July 1663. In October 1665 he returned to Modena, where he succeeded Marco Uccellini as choirmaster of the cathedral. He vacated this post in November 1673 and by early 1674 was again living at Bologna. Between 1677 and 1681 he served as a singer in the cappella of Duke Francesco II of Modena. In 1685 he was made a member of the Accademia Filarmonica, Bologna, and seems to have spent his last years in or near that city. He wrote to the Duke of Modena in ...
( b 1872; d Switzerland, Jan 1938). Italian flute maker, flautist and composer . He was a flautist at La Scala, Milan, from 1897. In 1910 he invented his ‘Albisiphon’, a vertically-held, Boehm-system bass flute in C, with a T-shaped head, which he described in his Albisiphon: flauto ottava bassa (Milan, 1910). It was used by, among others, Mascagni in Parisina (1913), and Zandonai in Melenis (1912) and Francesca da Rimini (1914). The Dayton Miller Collection (Library of Congress, Washington, DC) possesses two models of an ‘albisiphon baritono’ in C and a tenor in F. There is also an example of another invention which Miller termed ‘half flute in C’ (that part of a regular flute played by the left hand, with a wooden handle for right hand) for which Albisi composed a concerto. He also made flutes in collaboration with the Milanese maker Luigi Vanotti in about ...
Lyndesay G. Langwill
revised by James B. Kopp
(b Ronsdorf [now Wuppertal], Germany, Oct 3, 1786; d Biebrich, Germany, Sept 14, 1843). German bassoonist, inventor, and composer. Largely self-taught, he was a professional bassoonist in Cologne from 1808. After a period with the Frankfurt Nationaltheater (1812–14) he returned to Cologne as bandmaster of the 3rd Prussian Militia, then accepted a similar position in Mainz (1816), where he met the acoustician and theorist Gottfried Weber. His association with Weber influenced his subsequent career and led him to make fundamental improvements to the bassoon. In 1817 he experimented in the instrument factory of B. Schotts Söhne. He first published his findings in Traité sur le perfectionnement du basson avec deux tableaux (Mainz, c1823), describing his improved 15-key bassoon. In 1820, after Weber’s departure from Mainz, Almenräder returned to Cologne where he taught and performed and also made flutes and clarinets in his own workshop. He gave this up in ...
Hugh Davies and Susan McClary
(b Chicago, IL, June 5, 1947). American performance artist, composer, and instrument innovator. Although she played the violin from childhood, she received her formal training in the visual arts (Barnard College, BA 1969; Columbia University, MFA 1972). During the 1970s she became one of the most celebrated practitioners of performance art. Her work has incorporated graphics, lighting, sculpture, mime, slides, film, speech, music, and many electronic devices, some of her own design. By 1976 her performances were featured prominently in museums and concert venues across Europe and North America.
Anderson has achieved great visibility, in part because of her originality: coming to music from the visual arts, she was free to manipulate sounds as she liked. Her unexpected crossover into the popular domain brought her a degree of fame and influence usually unavailable to avant-garde artists.
Since the mid-1970s Anderson has developed several instruments for use in her performances and exhibitions. A typical programme for one of her live shows includes all or part of her large-scale music theatre work ...
Roger J.V. Cotte
(b Fockenhof, Kurland, Feb 14, 1722; d Paris, March 24, 1791). French dilettante, amateur violinist and composer, patron of the arts and instrument collector. A magnificent and very wealthy nobleman, he both amused and astounded his contemporaries. M. Audinot in his comic opera La musicomanie (1779), and possibly E.T.A. Hoffmann in his tale Die Serapionsbrüder (1819), attempted to evoke his strange personality, emphasizing its ridiculous nature.
At the death of his father, a landed nobleman, in 1747, Bagge inherited a large fortune which enabled him to study the violin in Italy with Tartini. By 1750 he had settled in Paris; in the following year he was awarded the title chambellan du Roi de Prusse (then Frederick II) and married the daughter of the Swiss banker Jacob Maudry. With Maudry's death in 1762 the very large inheritance proved a source of contention to the ill-matched couple and they soon separated. Bagge later attempted to gain possession of the inheritance of Mme Maudry, who had died in ...
revised by Andrea Chegai
(b Urbino; fl 1591–6; d ?Venice, ?1607). Italian composer, poet and instrument inventor. A connection with Urbino is suggested by the dedications to the Della Rovere family of his two surviving publications; his book of madrigals further includes a preface addressed to ‘miei Signori & Patriotti’ of Urbino. He was maestro di cappella at Venice Cathedral (S Pietro di Castello) from 1591 until at least 1596. His whereabouts after 1596 are unknown; a notice in a necrology from S Maria Formosa, Venice, may refer to his death in 1607.
Balsamino is the author of a tragicomedy, La perla (Venice, 1596), which draws heavily on Tasso’s Aminta. He may have intended portions of the drama to be sung: one scene closes with a parody of the poem Ancor che col partir, famous for its setting by Rore. His only music publication, a book of six-part madrigals (Venice, 1594...
(b Bay Shore, NY, April 7, 1946). American composer, performer, instrument builder and ethnomusicologist. She received the BA from Sarah Lawrence College, and the MA and PhD from Wesleyan University, where she studied Indonesian and Indian music. She has performed with the ensembles of Philip Glass, Jon Gibson, Alvin Lucier, Philip Corner and Daniel Goode. In 1976 she co-founded, with Corner and Goode, the Gamelan Son of Lion, New York, a new music collective and repertory ensemble under her direction. In addition, she has built several Javanese-style iron gamelans, including the instruments used by the Gamelan Son of Lion and Gamelan Encantada, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Benary’s compositional output has been primarily in the areas of ensemble and chamber music, and music for the theatre. She has described herself as a ‘part-time minimalist who also likes to write melody’. Many of her works integrate world music forms, structures and instruments with traditional Western materials. Her works for gamelan ensemble, which number more than 30, have been performed internationally. ...
(b Memel, Prussia, May 12, 1714; d Trondheim, Nov 4, 1787). Norwegian organist, composer, inventor and writer of German birth. He studied the organ with his father Heinrich Berlin, and in 1730 went to Copenhagen, where he became the pupil of the city musician Andreas Berg. In 1737 Berlin was appointed city musician in Trondheim, a post he held until 1767. From 1740 to his death he was organist at Trondheim Cathedral and from 1752 to 1761 at the Vår Frue Kirke. Berlin was probably the most exceptional and versatile figure in 18th-century Trondheim: he not only conscientiously carried out his duties as city musician, but published books and papers on a variety of subjects (including music theory, meteorology and astronomy); he arranged concerts, composed, and built instruments; he was for many years the head of the city fire-service and inspector of the city waterworks; he was a map designer and architect; and he owned one of the largest collections of music literature and instruments in Norway. His ...
(b Reggio nell’Emilia, before 1675; d ?Ferrara, after 1694). Italian writer on wind instruments, cornettist and composer. A few biographical details are in his correspondence with the princes of Este, preserved in the Modena state archive. He was educated in Reggio nell’Emilia at the Servite convent and joined the Servite order; after studying away from home (possibly in Bologna, according to Cavicchi) he returned to Reggio nell’Emilia, then went to Ferrara in 1675 and lived in the Servite convent there. He was a musician at Ferrara Cathedral and a cornett virtuoso at the Accademia dello Spirito Santo. His Compendio musicale, its foreword dating from 1677, survives as a manuscript ( I-REm ). Dedicated to his patron, Abbot Ferrante Bentivoglio, it was probably intended for publication; a postscript of 1694 implies that it was not printed because of his patron’s death. It is mostly rather conservative; its significance lies in the detailed instructions on playing the recorder, the flageolet and especially the cornett, as practically no other wind instrument tutor is known from Italy or France for the period between ...
(b Springfield, MA, June 13, 1965). American composer, performer, and instrument maker, based in Oakland, California. She holds the BA in Computer Science and Music from Dartmouth College (1987) and MA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College (1992), and since 1993 has taught electronic music at the College of San Mateo. She performs on french horn and acoustic and electronic instruments of her own design, often with the improvisation ensemble Vorticella. Among her original instruments are amplified rocking chairs, bull kelp horns, Leaf Speakers, the Gliss Glass, and the Sliding Speaker. Her composition Lift, Loft, Lull explores the sonic properties of balloons as resonators in instruments made of metal bars, pipes, plates, and scraps. Bobrowski’s kelp horns (1989 and later) are long, slender conical tubes of natural kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana), slowly dried and shaped, and blown like a brass instrument. Leaf Speakers (...
revised by Ludwig Böhm
(b Munich, April 9, 1794; d Munich, Nov 25, 1881). German flute maker, flautist, composer and inventor. He worked out the proportions and devised the mechanism which are the bases of the modern flute. Boehm was the son of a goldsmith, in whose craft he became fully skilled at an early age. In childhood he taught himself the flageolet and one-keyed flute; by the age of 16 he had already grown dissatisfied with the latter, and in 1810 made himself a copy of a four-keyed instrument by Grenser of Dresden. Around the same time he also made a nine-keyed flute with a movable golden mouth-hole, based on the ideas of Johann Nepomuk Kapeller (1776–1825), flautist in the royal court orchestra in Munich. In 1810 Boehm began flute lessons with Kapeller, who gave him formal instruction until 1812, admitting then that he had no more to teach him....
( b Paris, June 13, 1799; d Paris, 5/April 6, 1839). French oboist, wind instrument maker and composer . He studied at the Paris Conservatoire from 1812 under Gustave Vogt, who shared Brod’s Protestant Alsatian background. Having received the premier prix in 1818, the following year Brod was appointed second oboist in the Opéra orchestra alongside his teacher. During Vogt’s absences in 1826 and 1828 Brod filled Vogt’s place as first oboist. The abilities of the two players were often compared; Fétis found Brod’s tone sweeter than that of his teacher. A statuette by Dantan jeune (Paris, Musée Carnavalet) caricatures Brod playing a musette. He died just 3 months before he would have been eligible for a pension to support his wife and young son. His widow petitioned repeatedly for support from the administration of both the Conservatoire and Opéra.
Oboes by Brod, some made in collaboration with his brother Jean-Godefroy (...
revised by Kyle Devine
(b Southgate, CA, April 17, 1937; d Berkeley, Sept 14, 2016). American electronic instrument designer and builder, composer, and performer. After graduating from UC Berkeley (BA in physics, 1961) Buchla worked on a variety of projects, including a transistorized hearing aid and a NASA bid to send monkeys on long-term space missions. He also became affiliated with the San Francisco Tape Music Center where, alongside composers like Morton Subotnick and Ramon Sender, he refined his interest in musique concrète and began searching for electronic alternatives to the laborious and necessarily preplanned cutting and splicing that characterized tape composition. In 1963, with the aid of a Rockefeller Foundation grant, and simultaneously but independently from Robert Moog, he designed and built one of the first voltage-controlled synthesizers, the Modular Electronic Music System (part of the Buchla 100 series). By 1966, the first complete Buchla synthesizer was installed at the Tape Center. He formed Buchla & Associates in Berkeley in the same year to manufacture synthesizers. Apart from a brief period (...
Lyndesay G. Langwill
revised by Rosemary Williamson
(b Newcastle upon Tyne, May 19, 1878; d Great Missenden, Nov 2, 1958). English collector and historian of instruments and composer. He was educated in Hanover (1892) and as a Macfarren scholar at the Royal Academy of Music (1893–1902, ARAM 1902), where he studied composition with Corder. After serving as assistant music master at Winchester College (1909–22), he returned to the RAM in 1922 as professor of harmony and counterpoint, becoming a Fellow of the RAM in the same year; he held the professorship until 1940.
Carse’s early compositions include an orchestral prelude to Byron’s Manfred, a dramatic cantata, The Lay of the Brown Rosary and two symphonies; his later works, for student orchestras and beginners, are light, tuneful and individual, and ideally suited to their purpose as teaching material. His reputation, however, rests on his study of the history of instruments and the orchestra, and on his collection of some 350 old wind instruments, which he gave to the Horniman Museum, London, in ...
revised by Luca Lévi Sala
[Clementi, Mutius Philippus Vincentius Franciscus Xaverius]
(b Rome, Jan 23, 1752; d Evesham, Worcs., March 10, 1832). English composer, keyboard player and virtuoso, teacher, music publisher, entrepreneur, and piano manufacturer of Italian birth.
The oldest of seven children of Nicola Clementi (1720–89), a silversmith, and Magdalena (née Kaiser), Clementi began studies in music in Rome at a very early age; his teachers were Antonio Boroni (1738–92), an organist named Cordicelli, Giuseppi Santarelli (1710–90), and possibly Gaetano Carpani. In January 1766, at the age of 13, he secured the post of organist at his home church, S Lorenzo in Damaso. In that year, however, his playing attracted the attention of an English traveller, Peter Beckford (1740–1811), cousin of the novelist William Beckford (1760–1844) and nephew of William Beckford (1709–70), twice Lord Mayor of London. According to Peter Beckford’s own forthright explanation, he ‘bought Clementi of his father for seven years’, and in late ...
revised by Robert Bigio
(b Dublin, Ireland, 1809; d London, England, May 7, 1864). Irish flutist, composer, flute designer, and manufacturer. He became professor of flute at the Royal Academy of Music in the 1840s, and was an enthusiastic player of Boehm’s 1832 conical flute as made by Rudall & Rose from 1843. He published the first English-language tutor for the instrument, followed by further editions. However, Clinton appears to have fallen out with Boehm after failing to persuade him to allow Clinton to produce Boehm’s newly invented (1847) cylindrical flute in London (Boehm sold the rights to Rudall & Rose instead). Clinton then denounced Boehm’s work, declaring his opposition to Boehm’s open-standing (fully vented) key system (the virtues of which he had previously extolled) as well as to Boehm’s cylindrical bore and his use of metal for the body.
In 1848 Clinton registered the first of his four patents for flutes, to which he gave the name Equisonant. These use a fingering system similar to that of the eight-keyed flute, on a conical bore but with a mechanism that allows the tone holes to be better placed. After ...
Dale Cockrell and Hugh Davies
(b San Francisco, May 17, 1941). American composer, writer, and instrument maker. He studied composition with Grant Fletcher at Arizona State University (BM 1963) and with Halsey Stevens, Dahl, and Perle at the University of Southern California (MM 1965). He then taught at Kansas State College, California Lutheran College, the Cleveland Institute, Miami University of Ohio, and the University of California, Santa Cruz. Since the early 1970s (particularly from 1979, working at Santa Cruz) he has constructed several percussion instruments for use in his own compositions. The Way (completed 1981) is based on Navajo Indian rituals, and is written in a system of just intonation having 33 notes to the octave. The instruments it uses are mostly of familiar types, and include aluminium bells, a large drum, plastic tubes blown transversely, and musical glasses. There are also parts for several ‘symbiotic’ instruments based on interacting systems of vibration and resonance: the Logsprinoka, for example, consists of a form of nail violin, and long springs stretched over bridges, which are attached to a 2-metre log drum. Some instruments, some with only one note, were made from Navajo prayer stones and other materials obtained from Canyon de Chelley in Arizona. Cope has also explored unconventional playing techniques and prepared instruments....
John Chalmers and Brian McLaren
[O'Hara, Kenneth Vincent Gerard]
(b Portland, OR, May 5, 1917; d San Diego, CA, Feb 13, 1994). American composer, instrument inventor and theorist. He studied the cello, the piano and wind instruments at an early age. A composition student of Charles Wakefield Cadman, he began to compose using quarter-tones and just intonation during the 1930s. Although ill health prevented him from attending college, he taught himself electrical engineering and invented pioneering electro-acoustical instruments, including the microtonal keyboard oboe (1936), the amplifying clavichord (1940), the amplified cello (1941) and the electric keyboard drum (around 1945). During the 1960s he designed and built a 60-tone electronic organ with an ‘elastic tuning’ system that automatically justified traditional musical intervals.
In 1962 M. Joel Mandelbaum’s 19-tone compositions and Ervin Wilson’s microtonal instrument patents introduced Darreg to new tuning systems. He began an intensive programme of musical exploration and discovered that all equal temperaments have uniquely valuable musical properties (‘moods’). To hear these scales, he refretted guitars to 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 24 and 31 notes per octave and constructed metallophones with 5, 10, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24 and 53 notes per octave. During the 1970s he created justly-tuned Megalyra and Kosmolyra amplified steel-guitar-like instruments, the sound of which has been described as ‘tuned thunder’. His last compositions use retunable MIDI synthesizers....
(b Exmouth, April 23, 1943; d London, Jan 1, 2005). English composer, instrument inventor, performer and writer on music. After reading music at Oxford University (1961–4) he worked with Stockhausen between 1964 and 1966; in the following year he became director of the electronic music studio at Goldsmiths College, London, later becoming its research consultant (1986–91). He was the first Secretary of the International Confederation for Electroacoustic Music (1982–6) and an external consultant for electronic musical instruments at the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (1986–93). From 1999 he was a part-time researcher in sonic art at the Centre for Electronic Arts, Middlesex University.
Starting in 1968 he was active in a number of groups specializing in improvisation and the realization of indeterminate scores. From 1967 he devised and constructed over 120 instruments, sound sculptures, sound installations and musical toys, many of which incorporate found objects and cast-off materials. About half, primarily the concert instruments, are electro-acoustic, using mainly contact and magnetic microphones; they include different types of ‘shozyg’ (Davies’s generic name for the instruments he has built using a selection of commonplace sound-producing objects mounted inside everyday containers) and a family of a dozen ‘springboards’ (amplified springs stretched over blockboard). He composed for conventional forces, tape, live electronics and his own instruments, including several music theatre works, and devised environmental music projects and documented unusual sound environments....
(b St Joseph, MO, July 11, 1939; d Petaluma, CA, July 9, 2005). American musician, composer, and experimental instrument maker. He was a jazz pianist in Kansas City before turning in the 1960s to playing keyboard with San Francisco rock groups. Disillusioned by commercial work, he began composing ‘fusion’ music and making instruments (often inspired by non-Western models) with which to play it. He described himself as an itinerant flute-maker and sold his popular bamboo flutes and other creations at Bay Area fairs and concerts. Inventions of his include the Wind Wand (a long dowel with a handle and an adjustable cross-piece intersecting a large rubber band stretched over the ends of the dowel; swung in a circle or back and forth, it produces four pitches); Spirit Catcher (a smaller Wind Wand with two rubber bands, producing eight tones); Butu (a section of bamboo with fingerholes, played by striking the bottom on a hard surface and fingering the holes to change the pitch); Groove Stick (a long bamboo scraper), as well as the Tank, the Circular Violin, and a bamboo xylophone. He shared his music and instruments with public school classes, where he was known as ‘Mr. Sound Magic’. In later years DeVore explored improvisation together with like-minded musicians and experimental instrument makers including Bart Hopkin, Tom Nunn, and Richard Waters. After DeVore’s death many of his instruments were donated to local schools....