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Ruth M. Wilson

revised by Stephen L. Pinel

(b Philadelphia, PA, Aug 16, 1771; d Brooklyn, NY, Apr 30, 1861). American organist, church musician, teacher, instrument-maker, tunebook compiler, and composer. In addition to serving as the organist of Trinity Church, Peter Erben was a prominent church musician, organ builder, and music teacher in antebellum New York.

Peter was the son of Johann Adam Erben (d c1781), a Philadelphia distiller. By 1791 he was in New York working as a tanner, but turned his attention to music after a bankruptcy in 1796. He was successively the organist of Christ Church (1800), the Middle Dutch Reformed Church (1806), St. George’s Chapel (1808), St. John’s Chapel (1813), and ultimately Trinity Church (1820–39). From about 1800 he was also the founder and director of the Society for Cultivating Church Music and frequently presented public concerts with the charity children. Between ...

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Patrizio Barbieri

(b Gunzing, near Lohnsburg am Inn, Germany, Nov 28, 1669, d Mainz, Germany, April 30, 1728). German priest, philosopher, editor of Latin works of Raymond Lull, and inventor of an enharmonic keyboard. While working at the court of Johann Wilhelm, Prince-Elector of the Palatinate, in Düsseldorf, Salzinger invented and built a keyboard (‘Tastatura nova perfecta’) accommodating the division of the octave into 31 equal parts. His enharmonic harpsichord is mentioned by Joseph Paris Feckler, who reports (1713) that a further two had been ordered: one for the Emperor in Augsburg, the other for the Grand Duke of Tuscany, in Florence. Details of this instrument appear in Salzinger’s ‘Revelatio secretorum artis’ (1721), which he published as an introduction to his edition of Lull’s Ars magna et major. This work tells that ‘the Most Serene Elector continuously used this harpsichord for music at court’, and that years earlier the construction of an organ with the same kind of keyboard had begun, only to be halted in ...