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Carisch  

Stefano Ajani

Italian firm of publishers and dealers of music and instruments. It was founded in Milan in 1887 by Giovanni Andrea Carisch (b Poschiavo, Switzerland, 14 March 1834; d Milan, 1 May 1901) and Arturo Jänichen (b Leipzig, 24 May 1861; d Leipzig, 21 Dec 1920). Music publishing began in earnest when Otto Carisch (d 1895) and Adolfo Carisch (b Tirano, 18 Nov 1867; d Poschiavo, 2 Oct 1936), sons and successors of Giovanni Andrea, took over the firm. In 1905 it absorbed the music publications of Genesio Venturini’s publishing firm in Florence and in July 1915 altered its title to Carisch & C., headed by Adolfo and Otto’s son Guido (b Milan, 8 Feb 1892; d Milan, 9 July 1935). The new Carisch joint-stock company came under the management of a different group in 1936, with the musician Igino Robbiani (...

Article

Carvin  

Matthew Hill

Firm of musical instrument manufacturers and distributors, primarily of electric guitars, amplifiers and sound-reinforcement equipment. The company was founded in 1946 in Los Angeles, California by Hawaiian guitarist Lowell C. Kiesel (b Eustis, NE, 22 Feb 1915; d San Diego, 28 Dec 2009) as the L.C. Kiesel Company. In the late 1940s the company relocated to Gothenburg, Nebraska. In 1949, Kiesel moved back to the Los Angeles area and renamed the company “Carvin,” after his two eldest sons Carson and Gavin. The company has relocated and expanded several times during its existence; to Baldwin Park in the early 1950s, Covina in 1956, Escondido in 1975, and to San Diego in 1995.

The company began by marketing electric guitar pickups of Kiesel’s design, but soon expanded to selling complete instruments (mostly Hawaiian guitars), and amplifiers. In 1954, the company began extensive mail-order sales, featuring Spanish and Hawaiian electric guitars, double-neck instruments, electric guitar kits, electronic components for musical instruments, and even accordions. At various times in the 1950s and 60s, catalogs featured not only the company’s own offerings, but instruments and accessories made by Fender, Martin, Bigsby, and DeArmond. In addition to consumer sales, Carvin also made electric guitar pickups for other manufacturers, notably those found in early Mosrite instruments....

Article

Casio  

Hugh Davies

Japanese electronic instrument manufacturer. Casio was founded in Tokyo about 1956 by Toshio Kashio as the Casio Computer Co., to make smaller electronic machines; it has been specially successful with its pocket calculators, digital watches and cash registers. Its first musical keyboard was marketed in 1980. Casio pioneered electronic keyboards designed for children. It has manufacturered organ-like home keyboards (since ...

Article

Leonard Burkat

A division created in 1966 by the Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. (CBS, Inc., from 1974), to manage and expand its instrument business. The corporation had entered the field in 1965 with the acquisition of Fender (electric guitars and electric bass guitars, Fender-Rhodes pianos, and V.C. Squier strings) and Electro-Music (Leslie speakers for electronic organs), to which Rogers (drums) was added in 1966. CBS Musical Instruments operated first as part of the Columbia Records Division, both of which became part of a corporate group in 1966. Later acquisitions were Buchla (synthesizers, 1969–71), Steinway (pianos, 1972), Gulbransen (electronic organs, 1973), Gemeinhardt (flutes, 1977), Lyon & Healy (harps, 1977), and Rodgers (electronic organs, 1977); from 1982 to 1985 the Chroma synthesizer and two electronic pianos, acquired from ARP, were marketed by the Fender unit. In 1980, Electro-Music (Leslie) was sold to the Hammond Corporation. In 1985...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

[Mobile]

Ensemble of performers using programmable mobile (cellular) phones. MoPhoO, the Mobile Phone Orchestra of CCRMA at Stanford University, formed in 2007 with 16 phones and players under the supervision of Ge Wang, Georg Essl, and Henri Penttinen, claims to be the first repertoire- and ensemble-based mobile phone performance group. Notably it uses only the phone’s onboard speakers. Since MoPhoO’s founding, other cell phone ensembles have been founded at the University of Michigan, Berlin (both founded by Georg Essl), and in Helsinki (directors Henri Penttinen and Antti Jylhä). The Michigan ensemble uses custom-made wearable speaker systems. Repertoire consists of scored compositions, sonic sculpture, and structured improvisation. For each piece, the phones run customised programmes that direct how they respond sonically to inputs that can come from the keypad or touchpad, the accelerometer positions, the built-in camera, or the microphone. For example, the keypad numbers can be mapped to different pitches in different modes, or to any sort of sound or sequence of sounds. While cell phones have considerable computing capability, they have limited acoustic bandwidth, but partial selection can suggest bass frequencies that are below the cell phone’s actual capability....

Article

Challen  

Margaret Cranmer

English firm of piano makers. Thomas Butcher (fl 1804–47) started making pianos at 41 Great Titchfield Street, London, in 1804. William Challen (d London, 1861) was associated with Butcher from 1816, and by 1839 the firm had become Challen and Hollis. William’s son Charles went into partnership with (?Charles) Hodgson but when C.H. Challen joined, the firm became Challen and Son. They won a reputation for good-quality pianos at moderate prices. In World War I part of the firm’s woodworking machinery was commandeered and it was allowed to produce only four pianos a week. This led it to continue making relatively few models, thereby economizing in the range of machinery and raw materials required. Since the 1930s over 180 Challen pianos, from large concert grand pianos to small studio uprights have been used in BBC studios. Challen specialized in small grand pianos, and made the smallest on the market (122 cm long). The firm was acquired in ...

Article

Article

Kyle Devine

American manufacturer of electronic keyboards and drum machines. The company was founded in Upland, California, by Harry Chamberlin in the late 1940s. Instead of the electronic circuits and digital processors used to generate sound in most synthesizers, Chamberlins replay the sounds of existing instruments and effects recorded to electromagnetic tape. In using prerecorded sound, Chamberlins are considered forerunners of digital sampling techniques and technologies.

Harry Chamberlin’s first device, the Rhythmate (considered one of the first drum machines) used a series of dials and switches to play back fourteen looped drum patterns. Later designs, such as the Model 200 (1950s) and the M1 (1970s), used a conventional keyboard to activate the tape mechanism. Instead of tape loops, these keyboard models used tape strips that played for several seconds before automatically rewinding. Using tape strips allowed the initial attack of the instrument to be heard.

Sales were sizeable but never enormous: several hundred Chamberlins were produced during the company’s lifespan (...

Article

W.H. Husk

revised by Margaret Cranmer, Peter Ward Jones and Kenneth R. Snell

English firm of publishers, concert agents and piano manufacturers. The firm, active in London, was started on 3 December 1810 by the pianist and composer Johann Baptist Cramer, Francis Tatton Latour and Samuel Chappell (b ?London, c1782; d London, Dec 1834), who formed a partnership. Chappell was formerly employed by the music publisher Birchall. In addition to substantial publishing activities, including educational music, the firm sold pianos from 1812, undertook concert promotion, and played a leading part in the creation of the Philharmonic Society (1813). In 1819 Cramer retired from the business; in about 1826 Latour withdrew and carried on a separate business until about 1830, when he sold it to Chappell, who was also in partnership with the instrument makers George Longman and T.C. Bates from 1829.

After Samuel Chappell’s death, the business was continued by his widow Emily Chappell and her sons. The eldest, William (...

Article

Chef  

Article

Cynthia Adams Hoover

American firm of piano makers. Jonas Chickering (b Mason, NH, 5 April 1797; d Boston, MA, 8 Dec 1853) had apprenticeships with cabinetmakers in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, and Boston, and from 1819 to 1823 with the Boston piano maker John Osborne. He formed a partnership in 1823 with the British maker James Stewart; they built about 100 pianos in Boston until 1826, when Stewart returned to London. Chickering then built about 30 to 40 pianos a year until 1830, when he joined in partnership with the wealthy Boston shipping merchant John Mackay. The infusion of capital allowed Chickering to improve and increase the manufacture of square, cabinet upright, and by 1840 grand pianos (in 1839 his firm made over 580 pianos), while Mackay expanded markets for the instruments in American and foreign ports. By 1837 Chickering had developed a one-piece cast-iron frame (patented 1840) for the square piano that improved on a design of Alpheus Babcock, who was then working for Chickering. By ...

Article

Article

Clavia  

Brandon Smith

[Clavia Digital Musical Instruments AB]

Swedish producer of virtual analogue synthesizers and digital organ and electric piano emulations. The company was founded in 1983 in Stockholm by Hans Nordelius (b1949) and Mikael Carlsson, and it sells its products under the brand name Nord. Clavia’s first product, the Digital Percussion Plate 1, introduced in 1983, developed into the ‘ddrum’ series of digital drum synthesizers. In 1995 Clavia produced its first keyboard synthesizer, a virtual analogue called the Nord Lead. Two years later Clavia developed a hardware synthesizer with a computer interface called the Nord Modular, which was fully patchable via the supplied editor software. In 2001, Clavia released the Nord Electro line of performance-oriented keyboards featuring realistic emulations of classic electromechanical instruments such as the Rhodes piano and Clavinet plus a virtual Hammond tonewheel organ. The Electro series (now in its second version) is used by many performing groups. The double-manual Nord C1 (introduced in ...

Article

Niall O’Loughlin

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 ...

Article

Margaret Cranmer

English firm of piano makers. The firm was descended from the business established by James Longman in 1767, which changed partners over the years and became Longman & Broderip and later Clementi & Co.; the cumulative ink serial numbers in Collard & Collard square pianos continue Clementi’s serial numbers. It was Frederick William Collard (bap. Wiveliscombe, 21 June 1772; d London, 31 Jan 1860) who directed the business as senior partner after Clementi’s death in 1832. His brother William Frederick Collard (bap. Wiveliscombe, 25 Aug 1776; d Folkestone, 11 Oct 1866) – to whom Clementi had written from abroad: ‘Now, young Collard, you have a good pair of ears, see that the tone is pure and true’ – was a specialist in piano tone production. In 1821 he patented the ‘harmonic swell’ (see Clementi). When W.F. Collard retired in 1842, F.W. Collard, then sole proprietor, took into partnership his two nephews Frederick William Collard (bap. ...

Article

Richard Johnston

Guitar, mandolin, and ukulele manufacturer. It was founded in Houston, Texas, in 1976 by Bill Collings (b 1948), who had moved from Ohio to Texas following a failed attempt at medical school. After building a few guitars and some banjos, Collings moved to Austin in 1979. His background as a machinist led him to emphasize precise jigs and fixtures even when he was working out of a small single-car garage. Demand for Collings guitars, specifically for updated versions of Martin and Gibson flat-top styles from the 1930s, prompted his move to a 1,000-square-foot shop in 1989. Two woodworkers were hired, including Bruce Van Wart, who is still in charge of wood selection and top voicing on the firm’s acoustic guitars. By this time, production had increased to a level that allowed sales to a few retailers.

In late 1991 the company relocated to a much larger facility on the outskirts of Austin, and the number of Collings guitar models, and employees, began to grow. Bill Collings was one of the first flat-top guitar builders to offer fully carved arch-top models as well. These deluxe jazz guitars were quickly accepted as the equals of those from premier American builders, and they sold for similar prices; but only a few were completed each year. Collings was also one of the first small, independent guitar companies to incorporate CNC (computer numerical control) carving machines for building both guitar parts and the precise tooling to aid in their assembly, which is still done by hand. One of the signature differences between the Collings models and the Gibson and Martin originals that inspired them is that Collings uses an unglued bolted mortise and tenon neck joint, rather than a traditional dovetail....

Article

Guy Oldham

English firm of organ builders. Established in 1854 at Huddersfield by Peter Conacher, by 1906 it had built or enlarged more than 400 organs (many with tubular pneumatic action) and by 1921 more than 1600 organs in all parts of the world. Peter Conacher (b Scotland, 1823) is said to have served an apprenticeship in Leipzig, and worked for Hill & Sons and Walker & Sons before entering a brief partnership in 1854 with a Mr Brown. Financing from a new partner, Joseph H. Hebblethwaite, enabled Conacher to build a workshop equipped with a steam-driven circular saw. After Hebblethwaite’s death, Conacher was joined by his brother; their first organ won a medal at the Yorkshire Exhibition of 1866. Peter’s son, Joseph H. Conacher, joined his father’s firm after training in France.

At its opening, in 1873, Conacher’s Springwood Organ Works was claimed to be the largest and best-equipped organ factory in England; its 80 employees built about 30 organs annually before the works burned in ...

Article

Hugh Davies

[Connsonata]

Electronic organ originally designed by Earle L. Kent (who later developed the electronic music box) and manufactured in a large number of models by C.G. Conn of Elkhart, Indiana, from about 1947. It was known until the mid-1950s as the Connsonata. The organs were later made in Carol Stream, Illinois, and from about 1960 to 1979 in Madison, Indiana. The Conn company was purchased in 1969 by the publisher Crowell-Collier & Macmillan, Inc., and organ production was taken over from 1980 by the Kimball Piano & Organ Co., which later closed the operation in the face of competition from digital organs.

Conn organs normally have two manuals and pedals, and they range from church and theatre organs with traditional consoles to home organs, including several of the ‘spinet’ design in which two manuals (each usually having 44 notes) are staggered by one octave. The Model 700, introduced in 1955, originally had two 61-note manuals and 25 pedals, later increased to 32 pedals. Exceptionally, some of the theatre organs and the Theatrette spinet have three manuals, and other large instruments were customised, usually by combining features of of existing models. The sounds are generated by a single oscillator for each note (the first model contained 166 oscillators). Some models include an additional Leslie tremulant loudspeaker. Advances in electronic technology from about ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Brand name for a 41-note electronic piano accordion and for electronic organs and pianos and amplifiers. These were manufactured by CRB Elettronica of Ancona, Italy, from about 1960 into the 1970s and distributed by Chicago Musical Instrument Co. (CMI). While there are similarities with electronic instruments made by Farfisa (also distributed by CMI), the Cordovox schematic diagrams are clearly marked with CRB’s logo. Most models of Cordovox organ have one manual, but the CDX has two. An unusual feature of this model is the ‘Arpeggio/Glissando’ switch which when set to ‘Arpeggio’ allows the player to hold a chord on the lower manual, and the chord will arpeggiate using the sustain voices. Similarly, the ‘Glissando’ setting will cause a chromatic sustained glissando. The two-manual CDX-0652 ‘White Elephant’ is a Cordovox organ with a built-in Moog Satellite monosynth, designed by Thomas Organ, which bought the rights to the Moog Satellite. The synthesizer voices play only from the upper manual, the organ on both. The CDX-P425 and CRD-P423 are 60-key electronic pianos....

Article

Charles H. Purday

revised by William C. Smith and Peter Ward Jones

English firm of music publishers and, formerly,piano manufacturers active in London. The firm was founded as Cramer, Addison & Beale in 1824 when the pianist and composer J.B. Cramer (see Cramer family, §2) joined the partnership of Robert Addison (d London, 17 Jan 1868) and Thomas Frederick Beale (b ?1804 or 1805; d Chislehurst, 26 June 1863). With the addition of Cramer’s name the publication of piano music became the firm’s chief interest, and in 1830 it bought many of the plates of the Royal Harmonic Institution, which gave it works by Beethoven, Clementi, Dussek, Haydn, Hummel, Mozart, Steibelt and others. Italian songs and duets and English operas by composers such as Balfe and Benedict were soon added to the catalogue.

In 1844 Addison retired and was succeeded by William Chappell (seeChappell), and the firm then became known as Cramer, Beale & Chappell, or Cramer, Beale & Co. In ...