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Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Swedish piano manufacturer established in Göteborg in December 1843 by Johan Gustaf Malmsjö (b Skane, Sweden, Jan 14, 1815; d Göteborg, Sweden, Sept 13, 1891). A talented musician, Malmsjö studied carpentry for six years, then worked with the luthier Olaf Berndt Ekström in Malmö. From 1838 to 1842 he studied with Andreas Marschall, then the largest piano maker in Copenhagen, after which he returned to Malmö. There, working again with Ekström, he made two square pianos, which he sold upon moving to start his own firm in Göteborg. He first rented a workshop at Gustof Adolf Square, but in April 1844 moved to a larger shop in a house where he worked with two assistants, adding two more the following year. In 1847 he moved the workshop to a larger building nearby. C.H. Billberg, who was Malmsjö’s partner from 1859 to 1864, had visited piano makers in America from ...

Article

Hans Klotz

revised by Ole Olesen

Danish firm of organ builders . It was founded in 1806 by Jürgen Marcussen (1781–1860); it operated under the name of Marcussen & Reuter from 1826 to 1848, when it became Marcussen & Søn. Johannes Lassen Zachariassen (1864–1922), a great grandson of the founder, was managing director from 1902 to 1922, and his son Sybrand (1900–60) from 1922 to 1960. Sybrand’s son Sybrand Jürgen (b Flensburg, 22 Oct 1931) became director in 1960, and the latter’s daughter Claudia Zachariassen (b Sønderborg, 26 May 1969) joined the firm in 1995. The firm is based in Åbenrå, southern Jutland, and has been active chiefly in Denmark, but it has also built in northern Germany, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Japan and the USA. Among its important works are the organs in Christiansborg Slotskirche, Copenhagen (1829), the Nikolaikirche, Kiel (1842...

Article

Enrico Weller

German town famous for instrument production since the mid-17th century. It was named Neukirchen until 1858. Instrument making first developed there when Bohemian luthiers began settling in the area (Vogtland) as a consequence of the Counter-Reformation. A guild of violin makers was founded in 1677; a violin, a cittern, and a viola da gamba were at first required as masterpieces. Early violin making in the Vogtland was characterized by free-form construction (without use of an inside mould) and an integral neck and upper block. The various violin workshops (Ficker, Gläsel, Hamm, Heberlein, Reichel, Schönfelder, Voigt, etc.) had individual styles, but Italian stylistic influence became evident from about 1800 to 1840.

In the mid-19th century, specialized division of labour led to mass-production of violin bodies and parts by means of cottage industry. Inexpensive violins were manufactured (often more than 100,000 instruments per year) until the 1930s. Between 1906 and 1930 a joint-stock (cooperative) company for violin making existed....

Article

Tony Bacon

British amplifier manufacturer. After requests from British rock guitarists and bass players who needed an affordable amplifier capable of high sound levels, the drum teacher and music shop owner Jim Marshall teamed up with his service engineer Ken Bran in 1962 to produce a British-made musical instrument amplifier based on the Californian-made Fender Bassman. Marshall and Bran’s amplifiers were soon developed into the famous ‘Marshall stack’, consisting of an amplifier head containing the valves, circuitry and controls sitting on top of two ‘four-by-twelve’ cabinets, each containing four Celestion 12-inch (30·48 cm) loudspeakers. Delivering 50 watts RMS and frequently more, the ‘stacks’ provided exactly the sort of high power demanded by emerging players such as Pete Townshend of The Who and Jimi Hendrix. Players such as these were playing electric guitars through Marshall amplifiers at increasingly extreme volume levels in the late 1960s as venues became larger and outdoor festivals more popular. Marshall also produced ‘combo’ amplifiers which combined the amplifier and loudspeakers within one cabinet. Building on the fame of their early innovations, Marshall has become a leading supplier of equipment wherever high quality and high volume amplification is required....

Article

Margaret Cranmer and Barbara Owen

American firm of piano and reed organ makers . It was founded in Boston in 1854 by Henry Mason (1831–90), son of the composer Lowell Mason, and Emmons Hamlin (1821–85). Hamlin had previously been employed by the George A. Prince melodeon factory as superintendent of tuning, in which capacity he had developed the art of voicing free reeds to produce imitative effects; this system ultimately led to the development of the modern theatre organ. The firm’s first instruments were of the traditional melodeon type; it soon began making larger models with a greater variety of stops, and in 1861 changed the name of these products to ‘cabinet organ’ (sometimes referred to as the ‘flat top’ melodeon). By 1867, when it was awarded a first prize at the Paris Exposition, the firm was manufacturing about a quarter of the reed organs produced in the USA. In the 1890s its models ranged from the tiny ‘Baby’ organ (introduced ...

Article

Jaak Liivoja-Lorius

revised by Philip J. Kass

French firm of violin and bow makers and dealers. Charles-Nicolas Maucotel (b Mirecourt, France, 1 Nov 1807; d after 1860) served his apprenticeship with Blaise Mast in Mirecourt and later worked for Gand in Paris (from 1834) and for William Davis in London (from 1844). In 1849 he established his own workshop in London, which he operated until the mid-1850s, when he returned permanently to France. As far as is known all his mature work bears a brief latinized printed label dated from London. His younger brother, Charles Adolphe Maucotel (b Dombasle, nr Mirecourt, France, 11 Dec 1818; d Paris, France, 5 Feb 1858), also served his apprenticeship in Mirecourt. Between 1839 and 1844 he worked for Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume in Paris, then had his own workshop in Paris, first at the Gallerie Vivienne, next on the rue Croix des Petits Champs, and finally on the rue Princesse. He was very highly regarded as a maker, winning awards at the expositions of ...

Article

Laurence Libin

[Theodore M. ]

(b Somerset, KY, 1910; d Twin Falls, ID, April 1, 2001). American guitar company executive and pioneer in the development of electric guitars. An engineering graduate of the University of Cincinnati (1933), he worked for the Rudolph Wurlitzer Co., first as an accountant and eventually as director of purchasing for the retail division. During World War II he was an army engineer. He became general manager of the Gibson Guitar Corporation in 1948, vice president in 1949, and was its president from 1950 to 1966. During this period he secured several patents and profitably advanced Gibson’s manufacture of electric guitars, notably in the early 1950s the warm-toned solid-body Les Paul models that later formed the core of Gibson’s reputation. McCarty promoted the design of innovative models (e.g. the three-pickup ES-5, the classic ES-175 ‘jazz box’, and the classic semi-hollow ES-335) and various improvements such as Gibson’s Tune-o-matic bridge system, humbucking pickup (designed by Seth Lover), and the futuristic Explorer, Flying V, Moderne (these three designed by the automobile designer Ray Dietrich), SG, and Firebird lines. During McCarty’s tenure Gibson’s output grew to more than 100,000 instruments annually. He left Gibson to become part-owner and president of the Kalamazoo-based Bigsby Company, specializing in guitar vibrato systems and accessories; he retired in ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Multipurpose musician-machine interface and gesture transducer for electro-acoustic music and multimedia use, developed by the French musician and sound engineer Serge de Laubier (coordinator/designer), Yvon Alopeau (designer), Jean Loup Dierstein (electronics), and Dominque Brégeard (mechanical design) at the Puce Muse studios/Espace Musical in Rungis, south of Paris. Laubier is also co-inventor of the Space octophonic processor and author of the MIDI Former software distributed by Opcode Systems, Inc. The Meta-Instrument was designed to be portable, MIDI compatible, fun to play and look at, and ergonomic in operation.

The first Meta-Instrument was built in 1989, the second generation completed in October 1995, and the third completed in 2004. Each later instrument is compatible with the previous version. The player interface is connected to an analogue-to-digital interface which is connected to a Mac laptop computer that runs different programs for the many different possible ‘instruments’ that the Meta-Instrument can control. The early versions allowed the manipulation of 32 variables simultaneously and independently, while the third version accommodates up to 54 simultaneous and independent variables. The seated performer’s arms embrace the two symmetric sides of the Meta-Instrument. Ten keys for the performer’s fingers, arranged in two rows of five keys each, measure attack speed and then key position. In the ...

Article

Gillian Weir

Swiss firm of organ builders , formerly Metzler & Söhne. It was founded in 1890 in Graubünden by Jakob Metzler. In 1930 his son Oscar moved the company to Dietikon (Zurich). In 1968 the direction was taken over jointly by his sons, Oskar and Hansueli. Since 1990 the company has been managed by a fourth generation of Metzlers: Andreas (planning and voicing) and Matthias (business and technical).

Although always craftsmanlike, the work of the firm was not especially distinctive until the mid-1950s when, on the insistence of the family’s younger generation, it became more closely allied with the European organ reform movement. It achieved notable success, with its instruments in Schaffhausen and the Grossmünster, Zürich, built in consultation with the distinguished Danish organ builder and designer Poul-Gerhard Andersen. An enlightened tonal design and ‘reformed’ voicing techniques joined with the firm’s traditional precision of workmanship to produce a general excellence which established it as Switzerland’s most important builder. A new organ in ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Interactive audiovisual instrument created by the music and sound designer Norbert Schnell of the Institut de Recherce et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) with the Berlin-based artist and composer Christian Graupner and software artist Nils Peter of Humatic Berlin, in cooperation with the Trans Media Academy (TMA) Hellerau and dancer/choreographer Roberto Zappalà of Compa-gnia Zappalà Danza. Humatic, a media arts and tools firm, was founded in 2000 by Christian Graupner and Nils Peter.

The Mindbox Slot Machine was originally created as a stand-alone media installation that performed pre-recorded songs ‘from the swamps of Casino Capitalism and Total Body Control’, according to Graupner. In 2000 Zappalà began to experiment with repeating amplified environmental noises together with the rhythmic vocal patterns integral to his dance performances. Graupner met Zappalà’s managing partner in Monaco where both were showing their work at the Monaco Dance Forum, and in 2006 Zappalà and Graupner began working jointly on the slot machine project. They created an extensive video and audio library of choreographed gestures and sound patterns that became the basic material for MindBox. In summer ...

Article

Seven-octave upright electric piano produced by the English company W.G. Eavestaff & Sons Ltd, based on the patent for Benjamin F. Miessner’s Electronic Piano. It has no soundboard. Hammers strike the short, horizontal strings (one per note) and the vibrations are converted by electrostatic pickups, amplified and played over a loudspeaker or through headphones. The Minitronic was introduced at the ...

Article

Modcan  

Anne Beetem Acker

Modular synthesizer company established by Bruce Duncan (b Toronto, ON, 30 April 1958) in 1995 in Toronto. The name comes from ‘modular Canada’. Duncan first worked with string instruments, apprenticing with the lute maker Michael Schreiner in Toronto and Stephen Gottlieb in the UK. A Canada Arts Council grant enabled him to set up his own workshop for historical string instruments. In 1985 he took a course in piano tuning and worked briefly as a piano tuner, then switched to architectural model making. He also freelanced making prototypes for industrial designers, developing skills in working with plastics and teaching himself electronics and programming.

Inspired by the score for the film A Clockwork Orange (1971) and by the synthesized recordings of Bach by Walter Carlos, Duncan played the synthesizer for local bands in the late 1970s and later started collecting vintage synthesizers. Modcan, begun as a hobby, grew into Duncan’s full-time occupation from ...

Article

Möller  

Barbara Owen

American firm of organ builders . It was founded as M.P. Möller at Warren, Pennsylvania, in 1875 by Mathias Peter Möller (b Bornholm, Denmark, 1854; d Hagerstown, MD, 1937). After training as a mechanic Möller emigrated to the USA in 1872 and worked for the organ builders Derrick & Felgemaker, of Erie, Pennsylvania. While there he developed an improved wind-chest. In 1880 he moved his business to Hagerstown, where it remained, becoming the largest manufacturer of pipe organs in the USA. During the 1930s Richard Whitelegg, a noted voicer, was Möller’s tonal director. On Möller’s death, his son, M.P. Möller jr (1902–61), became president of the firm. Control stayed with the founder’s family: his son-in-law W. Riley Daniels became president in 1961, his grandson Kevin Mackenzie Möller in 1978, and another grandson, Peter Möller Daniels, in 1984. Two former employees of the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co. became tonal directors for Möller: Donald Gillett in ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

English keyboard instrument manufacturer and dealer, located in Lewisham, London. In 1796 James Morley started a music lending library in Greenwich. His sons made and sold pianos and other instruments; one son, George Morley (1790–1852), registered his firm for making, tuning, and repairing harps in 1818 in London. George’s son, Joseph George Morley (1847–1921), was apprenticed to Erard and designed a 48-string pedal harp. In 1890 the family took over the Erard operation in London, making large concert harps until World War I, after which demand dropped and they concentrated on repairs and on making small Irish harps. John Sebastian Morley (1897–1988) was a founding member of the United Kingdom Harp Association.

James Morley’s grandson Robert ran a showroom in the City of London, where he sold Broadwood, Bechstein, Blüthner, and Steinway pianos; in 1881 he opened a factory for conventional upright pianos in Lewisham. Robert’s grandson Douglas designed new lines of grands and more elaborate uprights, which sold successfully in the 1930s. By the 1950s, interest in early keyboards led John Morley (...

Article

MOTM  

Brandon Smith and Anne Beetem Acker

[Mother of the Modulars]

Line of high-quality synthesizer modules designed by Paul Schreiber (b Beaumont, TX, 29 May 1956) for Synthesis Technology in Fort Worth. Schreiber, founder and current owner of the firm, studied electrical engineering at Texas A&M (BSEE 1979) and Southern Methodist University (MSEE 1992). He holds nine patents and has designed synthesizers part-time since 1979 while also working as a design engineer for such firms as Tandy/Radio Shack, Cirrus Logic, and Corning Fiber. He founded Synthesis Technology in 1988, first building digital speech processor systems for Texas Instruments.

The acronym MOTM also refers to the format used for synthesizer modules by Synthesis Technology and other companies such as Modcan and Encore. First shipped in April 1998, the MOTM modules are functionally similar to older modular synthesizer designs like those by Moog, Emu, and Polyfusion, and can be configured and patched in the same manner. Originally, MOTM modules came in either kit or assembled form, but supplier and distributor problems beginning in ...

Article

Neupert  

Howard Schott

revised by Martin Elste

German firm of piano and harpsichord makers . Founded by Johann Christoph Neupert (1848–1921) in 1868 as piano builders, it was among the first German makers to add harpsichords, clavichords and fortepianos to its production, in 1906. The company, which has been based in Bamberg since 1874, had begun to assemble a collection of historical stringed keyboard instruments even earlier, in 1895. Eventually this grew to number more than 250 specimens when it was donated to the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg in 1968 (a number of instruments from the collection considered to duplicate other examples had been transferred to the Händel-Haus Museum in Halle in 1939).

Hanns Neupert (1902–1980) joined the firm as technical director in 1928, after a three-year apprenticeship in piano building and studies in musicology and physics at the universities of Erlangen and Munich. He wrote a number of works dealing with historical stringed keyboard instruments and their revival in the 20th century. In ...

Article

John A. Emerson

revised by David Hiley

Site of the former Benedictine monastery of S Silvestro in the Lombard kingdom outside Modena. With Monte Cassino, it was one of the most important monastic centres of medieval Italy.

Nonantola was founded about 752 by St Anselm of Nonantola, formerly Duke of Friuli, and endowed by Aistulf, King of the Lombards (reigned 749–56). In 753 the oratory and altar were consecrated to SS Peter and Paul by Sergius, Archbishop of Ravenna, and shortly afterwards Anselm was appointed the first abbot by Pope Stephen II. In 756 the relics of Pope Sylvester I (reigned 314–35) were transferred from Rome to Nonantola, and the abbey received its present dedication.

Anselm spent the period from 760/61 to 773, during the reign of Desiderius, Aistulf’s successor, in exile at Monte Cassino. In 774 he returned with a number of manuscripts which formed the nucleus of the important medieval library at Nonantola. Anselm died in 803 and was buried in the church; he was succeeded by a number of Lombard abbots with Germanic names. In 885 the body of Pope Adrian III (reigned 884–5) was buried at the abbey. After a major fire, a reconstruction of the church of S Silvestro was begun in ...

Article

Maria Calderisi

Canadian firm of music publishers, dealers and piano manufacturers . It was established by Abraham and Samuel Nordheimer, who, having emigrated from Germany to New York in 1839, opened a music shop in Kingston in 1842 and moved to Toronto in June 1844. By 1845 they had issued Joseph Labitzky’s The Dublin Waltzes, the earliest engraved sheet music in Canada. Despite provision for copyright protection under Canadian law, many of the firm’s early publications were engraved in New York and registered there by agents; Nordheimer did not choose to begin registering works in Canada until 1859. That year the firm became the only Canadian member of the Board of Music Trade of the USA, and nearly 300 of its publications were included in the Board’s catalogue (1870).

A. & S. Nordheimer, as the company was first known, issued the usual reprints of popular European songs and piano pieces, as well as new works by such Canadian residents as J.P. Clarke, Crozier, Hecht, Lazare, Schallehn and Strathy. Publications registered between ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

British analogue synthesizer design and repair firm, established by Tony Allgood (b London, 1967) in 1996. Allgood started a synthesizer and sound equipment repair business, Sound Systems, in 1984, while he was still studying electrical engineering. He worked for Marconi and then Soundcraft for a time, then returned to university to train as a teacher, meanwhile continuing to design and repair synthesizers. He taught physics for five years before forming Oakley Sound Systems, based in his home in Cumbria. From 1999 to 2005 the business sold synthesizer modules and printed circuit boards (PCBs) of Allgood’s designs. In 2007, he handed merchandizing to a partner firm, Krisp1, run by Paul Darlow. Krisp1 supplies ready-made Oakley-designed modules in various formats including MOTM, Frac, and Euro. Oakley began to sell PCBs again in September 2010, allowing Darlow to concentrate on the ready-made modules. Allgood sells bare circuit boards to customers, supplying project designs on special web pages. He offers designs and boards for a wide range of oscillators, filters, amplifiers, effects, utility modules, envelope generators, and power suppliers, as well as two larger stand-alone projects, the TM3030 (a MIDI-controlled bassline unit) and the Filtrex II (an analogue filter rack). Allgood also composes and records synthesizer music under the name Takla Makan....

Article

Odell  

Barbara Owen

American firm of organ builders . It was founded (as J.H. & C.S. Odell) in 1859 by John Henry Odell (1830–99) and Caleb Sherwood Odell (1827–93) in New York. Before starting their own company, the Odell brothers had worked for Richard Ferris, and for William Robjohn, whom they succeeded. Although the firm's output was never great and was largely confined to the New York area, the Odells are credited with several important inventions, mostly patented during the 1860s and 1870s, including a reversible coupler action, an early combination action and a crescendo pedal. They were also early experimenters with tubular-pneumatic action, for which they obtained patents in 1872 and 1898. Among their more notable instruments were those built for the Fort Street Presbyterian Church, Detroit (1876), and Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York (1893). After the deaths of the founders, the firm was operated for a time by John Henry's son, George Washington Odell, under the name of J.H. & C.S. Odell & Co., and the scope of the company's work gradually narrowed to small organs, rebuilding and maintenance. William Henry Odell, son of Caleb, later operated the company with his sons Caleb H. (...