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Wasp  

Hugh Davies

revised by Anne Beetem Acker

Small analogue–digital hybrid synthesizer designed by Chris Huggett with rock musician Adrian Wagner and manufactured between 1978 and 1981 by their firm, Electronic Dream Plant (EDP), in Combe, near Oxford. The Wasp was also briefly available in kit form. This synthesizer has a two-octave, solid, monophonic ‘keyboard’ with pitch-bend and portamento controls; the diatonic keys, knobs, and lettering are yellow on a black background, to match the instrument’s name. For a real keyboard, it substitutes flat copper plates under a printed vinyl sticker. The conductive plates sense skin capacitance to trigger the associated pitches. The Wasp contains two oscillators, a white-noise generator, a filter, and an envelope shaper, and offers various voltage-controlled features, as well as a small built-in loud speaker and sockets for connecting to other EDP products. The circuitry incorporates a digital pitch-coding system which facilitates links with other devices, including microcomputers. In its shiny black plastic case and with batteries in place, the Wasp weighs only 1.8 kg (a deluxe version with wooden case and conventional keyboard is heavier but still easily portable). Although relatively inexpensive, small, and rather fragile, the Wasp was powerful and versatile for its time and developed an enduring following. EDP developed a still smaller model, the Gnat, with one oscillator and pulse width modulation, and the Caterpillar, a three-octave keyboard controller with four-voice polyphony. Other EDP creations included the Keytar, a guitar controller based on the Wasp, which was never produced, and a microcomputer-based 252-step sequencer called the Spider....

Article

Weber  

Nancy Groce

American firm of piano makers. Albert Weber (i) (b Heilingenstadt, Bavaria, Germany, 8 July 1829; d New York, NY, 25 June 1879), a gifted pianist as a child, immigrated to New York in 1845. He apprenticed as a piano maker in the workshop of Charles J. Holden, then worked several years in Van Winkle’s piano factory. In 1852, he established his own shop at 103 West Broadway. Following a disastrous 1854 fire, he moved to a larger factory at Broome and Crosby Streets, which the thriving firm quickly outgrew. By 1869, when Weber opened an impressive showroom at 108 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, the firm had become the sixth largest producer of pianos in the United States, with gross annual sales of $221,444. Weber was succeeded by his son, Albert Weber (ii) (b New York, NY, 1858; d Florida, 1908), who established a branch in Chicago in ...

Article

Weigle  

Walter Supper

German firm of organ builders. It was founded in Stuttgart in 1845 by Carl Gottlieb Weigle (b Ludwigsburg, 19 Nov 1810; d 1882), formerly an apprentice to his brother-in-law, Eberhard Friedrich Walcker. Weigle built some 100 organs by 1880, when his son Wilhelm Theodor Friedrich Weigle (b Stuttgart, 17 Nov 1850; d Stuttgart, 6 Jan 1906) took over the company; he moved it to Echterdingen in 1888. There he patented (1893–4) a type of loud, high-pressure metal pipe (Stentor) with mouth extending across half the pipe’s circumference, like a steam whistle; it did not endure. Yet under his direction the firm produced well-regarded pneumatic-action organs and exported instruments overseas. In 1902 the firm escaped bankruptcy. Together with J. & P. Schiedmayer, in 1908 Weigle built for the Protestant church in Eichwalde a hybrid harmonium and nine-stop pipe organ, called Parabrahm from an Indian term meaning ‘perfection’ and ‘completion’; two others were built, in ...

Article

Maria Calderisi

Canadian publisher, instrument maker and dealer . It was founded in Toronto in 1888 by Eri Whaley and G.C. Royce, with a branch in Winnipeg 1889–1922. Its earliest publications were deposited at the copyright office in 1890 and by 1920 the firm’s output (c1500 pieces) surpassed that of all other Canadian music publishers. Unlike most of its competitors, Whaley, Royce & Co. owned a printing plant and functioned also as a job printer. Evidence of the firm’s enterprise is contained in its Descriptive and Select Catalogue of Sheet Music and Music Books published and for sale by Whaley, Royce & Co.(1895). Besides the usual popular and light classical repertory, the company published serious works including a piano arrangement of Sibelius’s Finlandia (1894) and Rhakmaninov’s Prelude op.3 no.2 (1923), as well as the music of many Canadian composers, notably R.S. Ambrose, Gena Branscombe, W.O. Forsyth, C.A.E. Harriss and Clarence Lucas. Calling itself ‘Canada’s Greatest Music House’, the firm also produced songbooks, operatic vocal scores, cantatas and oratorios, educational music and two periodicals. Its publishing activities waned considerably from ...

Article

Frank Kidson

revised by William C. Smith and Peter Ward Jones

English firm of music publishers and instrument makers . Although supposedly established in London about 1750, the earliest identifiable figure in the business was Charles Wheatstone (1768–1823), who came from a Gloucester family, and who was active in London from about 1791. The firm was known as Wheatstone & Co. from about 1815. Charles's brother William (b Gloucester, 17 Aug 1775; d London, 12 July 1854) moved with his family to London in 1806, where he became a flute teacher and manufacturer and music seller on his own account from about 1813, holding patents for improvements to the instrument. He also published a number of books of airs for the flute.

His sons, the future Sir Charles Wheatstone (b Gloucester, 6 Feb 1802; d Paris, 19 Oct 1875) and William Dolman (b Gloucester, 1804; d London, 30 Aug 1862) entered their uncle's business, which they took over following his death, and William senior then amalgamated his own business with theirs about ...

Article

Margaret Cranmer

British firm of piano makers. The firm was founded in 1876 by W.M.Y. Maxwell to import and distribute Blüthner pianos from Leipzig to the British Isles. Later, he entered a partnership with W.J. Whelpdale (d 1913) and, following a fire at the uninsured London factory of Squire and Longson in 1934, they hired the staff from this firm, acquired premises and began manufacturing an upright piano which they named the Welmar after the two directors. In 1939 the company was renamed Whelpdale, Maxwell & Codd Ltd, after the directors of the time. The firm was allowed to continue manufacturing instruments during World War II and due to wartime regulations five other manufacturers were taken under its wing. The factory of one of these firms, Sir Herbert Marshall & Sons Ltd, makers of Marshall & Rose upright Pianos, suffered considerable bomb damage during the war, and Whelpdale, Maxwell & Codd have continued to produce these instruments to the present day. Following the liquidation of the Bentley Piano Company in ...

Article

Percival Price

revised by Charles Bodman Rae

Since 1968 the official name of a bellfoundry located in Whitechapel Road, east London. The lineage of the foundry can be traced back to at least 1420. From 1570 its bells have been produced by master bellfounders of the following families: Mot (16th century); Carter, Bartlett and Clifton (17th century); Phelps, Lester, Pack, Chapman and Mears (18th century); Mears, Stainbank and Lawson (19th century); and Hughes (from 1904). From 1865 to 1968 the foundry was known as Mears & Stainbank. It has been principally engaged in making tower bells, both single and in short-range diatonic series: the latter mostly for swinging in the manner of English change-ringing, but some to be rung hanging stationary, as chimes. From the early 19th century or before, it also made musical handbells. At first these were mostly sets of 8 to 12 bells in diatonic series for practising change-ringing; but with the increasing popularity of handbell music in the 20th century (...

Article

Wiard  

Anne Beetem Acker

Modular synthesizer manufacturer owned and operated in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by Grant Richter (b Racine, WI, 1956). Richter, a design engineer at Micronetics International, Inc. from 1990 to 1999, collects vintage synthesizer equipment and was a founding member of the Midwestern Electronic Music Ensemble (MEME). Wiard produces two series of modules (all with a distinctive blue front panel with a Celtic knot design): the custom-order 300 line and the less expensive, less versatile FracRac-compatible 1200 line. Richter describes the Wiard system as a cross between the ARP 2600 and Buchla Music Easel. Production of the 1200 series ended in March 2012, but several module designs have been licensed to other manufacturers. The popular Miniwave, a wave table audio and control voltage processor, licenced to Blacet Research, makes use of EPROMS (erasable programmable read-only memories) to hold 256 waves that can be tailored to specific functions, either using available wavetables, or by programming the EPROMS with Richter’s Wave256 software. The synthesizer module manufacturer Malekko is reissuing early Wiard designs in Eurorack format....

Article

Anne Beetem Acker and Laurence Libin

German manufacturer of harpsichords, spinets, and clavichords of modern design (Serien Instrumente). The company was founded in Wolfratshausen by the organist Kurt Wittmayer (b Hermannstadt, 22 Nov 1917; d Bad Tölz, 4 Sept 1997) in 1949 after he moved from Munich, where he had begun building harpsichords in 1947 with Rudolf Schüler as Wittmayer & Schüler while both were students. Although the two builders worked independently after Wittmayer moved to Munich, their instruments have many similarities, particularly their jacks. Recognizing that the sound of his Serien models ‘was not ideal’ (as he wrote to Wallace Zuckermann), in the late 1960s Wittmayer expanded production to include copies after traditional models. To overcome acoustic deficiencies, some of Wittmayer’s early, very heavy modern harpsichords were fitted with electronic amplification and loudspeakers installed in the soundboard; one of these was sold to the Indianapolis Symphony after it had been used by Herbert von Karajan with the Berlin Philharmonic in a concert in New York. Isolde Ahlgrimm, Glenn Gould, and Malcolm Hamilton are among performers who recorded with Wittmayer’s modern harpsichords. As of ...

Article

Laurence Libin

[Woodstock Chimes]

American manufacturer of wind chimes, headquartered in Shokan, New York. The company was founded in 1979 by the percussionist Garry Kvistad (b Oak Park, IL, 9 Nov 1949). Kvistad studied music at the Interlochen Arts Academy, Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, and Northern Illinois University and taught at NIU and the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. He was a co-founder of the Blackearth Percussion Group, collaborated with composer Lukas Foss, and performed professionally with orchestras in the USA and Europe; in 1980 he began performing with Steve Reich and Musicians and since 2002 he has toured with the percussion ensemble NEXUS. In 1987 he formed the Balinese gamelan Giri Mekar, active in the Hudson Valley of New York State, and in 2011 joined the faculty of Bard College Conservatory of Music. Kvistad made his first metallophone in 1974, using aluminium from discarded lawn chairs, then turned to manufacturing wind chimes of metal, bamboo, and ‘capiz’ shell, tuned to various scales such as Celtic, Indonesian, Navajo, etc. Other Woodstock products include wind bells, suspended gongs, and musical fountains. The company also distributes toy and educational instruments and is known for environmental sensitivity and socially responsible operation....

Article

Wornum  

Peter Ward Jones

[Wornham]

English family of music publishers and piano makers . Robert Wornum (i) (b ?Berkshire, 1742; d London, 1815) was established in Glasshouse Street, London (c1772–7), and then at 42 Wigmore Street (c1777–1815). He published many small books of dances and airs for the flute or violin, and was also a maker of violins and cellos. His son Robert Wornum (ii) (b London, bap. 19 Nov 1780; d London, 29 Sept 1852) went into partnership with George Wilkinson in a piano business in Oxford Street from 1810 to about 1813. Following his father’s death in 1815 Robert (ii) continued the family business making pianos, moving in 1832 to Store Street, Bedford Square. He played an important role in developing small upright pianos which were acceptable as articles of drawing-room furniture. Wornum invented the diagonally and vertically strung low upright pianos in 1811...

Article

Cynthia Adams Hoover, Roslyn Rensch and Hugh Davies

American firm of instrument makers and dealers of German origin.

Cynthia Adams Hoover

(Franz) Rudolph Wurlitzer (b Schöneck, Saxony, 31 Jan 1831; d Cincinnati, 14 Jan 1914) came to the USA in 1853; he settled in Cincinnati and began dealing in musical instruments in addition to working in a local bank. It is likely that he was one of a long line of Saxon instrument makers, beginning with Heinrich Wurlitzer (1595–1656), a lute maker. By 1860 he had a thriving trade and is said to have been a leading supplier of military wind instruments and drums during the Civil War. In 1865 he opened a branch in Chicago and in 1872 joined his brother Anton to form the partnership of Rudolph Wurlitzer & Bro. On 25 March 1890 the firm was incorporated as the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company. Rudolph served as president of the corporation from 1890 to 1912...

Article

Cynthia Adams Hoover, Roslyn Rensch and Hugh Davies

Firm of instrument makers and dealers of German origin.

Rudolph Wurlitzer (Franz Rudolph Wurlitzer; b Schöneck, Saxony, 31 Jan 1831; d Cincinnati, OH, 14 Jan 1914) came to the United States in 1853; he settled in Cincinnati and began dealing in musical instruments in addition to working in a local bank. It is likely that he was one of a long line of Saxon instrument makers, beginning with Heinrich Wurlitzer (1595–1656), a lute maker. By 1860 he had a thriving trade and is said to have been a leading supplier of military wind instruments and drums during the Civil War. In 1865 he opened a branch in Chicago and in 1872 joined his brother Anton to form the partnership of Rudolph Wurlitzer & Bro. On 25 March 1890 the firm was incorporated as the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company. Rudolph served as president of the corporation from 1890 to 1912...

Article

Peter Ward Jones

(b ?London, c1672; d London, c1732). English music printer, publisher and instrument maker . The researches of Dawe, together with those of Ashbee, have helped clarify the identification of members of this family. Young's father was also John, but since he was still alive in 1693, he was evidently not, as earlier surmised, the John Young who was appointed musician-in-ordinary to the king as a viol player on 23 May 1673 and who had died by 1680 (according to the Lord Chamberlain's records). Young junior was apprenticed to the music seller and publisher John Clarke, and was established on his own by 1695. His publications included A Choice Collection of Ayres for the Harpsichord or Spinett by Blow and others (1700), William Gorton's A Choice Collection of New Ayres, Compos'd and Contriv'd for Two Bass-Viols (1701), The Flute-Master Compleat Improv'd (1706), the fifth and sixth editions of Christopher Simpson's ...

Article

Edward Garden

(b Sternberg, Sept 22, 1851; d Berlin, April 25, 1922). German music publisher and woodwind and brass instrument manufacturer . He had factories in St Petersburg (1876), Moscow (1882) and Riga (1903). The headquarters of the publishing firm was established in Leipzig in 1886, with the actual printing being carried out by Breitkopf & Härtel. Zimmermann became friendly with Balakirev in 1899 and thereafter published all the works of that composer. It may be that it was Zimmermann’s exhortations that encouraged the prolificness of the final decade of Balakirev’s life. He also published the majority of the compositions of Balakirev’s protégé Sergey Lyapunov. Other composers’ music published by him include Medtner, Josef Hofmann, Tausig, A.S. Taneyev and Reinecke. He suffered financial hardship during World War I, but, although he resumed the publication of music by Russian composers in 1919, he was unable to reopen his former Russian factories and shops. In ...