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date: 19 November 2019

Boni (da Cortona), Giovanni Battistalocked

  • Denzil Wraight

Extract

(d 1641). Italian harpsichord maker. He originated in Cortona but spent all of his working life in Rome. He was employed at various times by three nephews of Pope Urban VIII to maintain and supply harpsichords, and also to work on chamber organs. His successor in these establishments was Girolamo Zenti. Five surviving harpsichords (only two of which are signed) can reliably be attributed to Boni. Of the two virginals bearing his name (both in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC), only the 1602 instrument might be his work, the 1617 virginals having been made by Bolcioni (see Wraight, 1997). His instruments are chiefly of interest as examples of the Italian practice of using split sharps to provide enharmonically equivalent notes (see Enharmonic keyboard, esp.). One harpsichord of about 1619 (private collection) also has divided natural keys in the bass octave, being the earliest example of this....

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D.H. Boalch: Makers of the Harpsichord and Clavichord 1440 to 1840
Galpin Society Journal