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 ...
Anne Beetem Acker
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...
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....
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....
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 ...
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 ...
[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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...