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Article

Schantz  

Barbara Owen

[Tschantz]

American firm of organ builders. It was founded in Kidron, Ohio, in 1873 by Abraham J. Tschantz (b Kidron, 7 March 1849; d Orrville, Ohio, 14 Sept 1921), a cabinet maker of Swiss descent. Abraham (who dropped the T from his name in 1899) at first built only reed organs, and was so successful that he moved to a larger factory in Orrville in 1875. His first pipe organ was built in 1890 for the First United Brethren Church of Canton, Ohio, and not long afterwards he developed and produced the Zephyr electric fan blower. Shortly after the turn of the century Abraham’s sons Edison (1878–1974), Oliver (1882–1938) and Victor (i) (1885–1973) joined the firm, followed in the 1930s and 40s by his grandsons John, Paul and Bruce, later the principals of the company with Victor Schantz (ii) and Jack Sievert. The Schantz Organ Co. grew considerably during the 20th century, and between World War II and ...

Article

Margaret Cranmer

The name of two German firms of piano makers. The first was set up in 1809 by Johann Lorenz Schiedmayer (b Erlangen, 2 Dec 1786; d Stuttgart, 3 April 1860) and his partner Carl Dieudonné (d 1825) in Stuttgart. Johann’s grandfather, Balthasar Schiedmayer (b Erlangen, 25 Oct 1711; d Erlangen, 5 Oct 1781), and father, Johann David Schiedmayer (b Erlangen, 20 April 1753; d Nuremberg, 24 March 1805), had both been well-established piano makers, the latter working with J.A. Stein at Augsburg from 1778 to 1781. Johann Lorenz soon became a well-known maker nationally, competing successfully with imports from Vienna, Paris and London. Upright pianos were produced as early as 1842. The business became Schiedmayer & Söhne in 1845 when his sons, Adolf (b Stuttgart, 1819; d Stuttgart, 17 Oct 1890) and Hermann (b Stuttgart, 1820; d Stuttgart, 1861...

Article

Cyril Ehrlich

revised by Edwin M. Good

German firm of piano makers. Established in 1885 in Leipzig, the firm moved to Brunswick in 1929 as part of a cooperative, becoming independent in 1931. Destroyed by bombing in 1944, the factory was again producing pianos by 1948. Thereafter production expanded vigorously, reaching a peak of approximately 9000 instruments a year about ...

Article

Seiler  

Anne Beetem Acker

German piano manufacturer. It was founded by Eduard Seiler (b 1814; d 20 Sept 1875) in 1849 as Seiler Pianofortefabrik in Liegnitz, Silesia (Legnica, Poland); previously Seiler and another builder, Scholz, ran a piano repair shop, which had been begun in 1846. In 1872 Seiler was awarded a gold medal in Moscow. A steam-powered factory opened in 1873; it employed 100 workers in 1874. Eduard Seiler’s sons Paul and Max succeeded him after his death, but both died in 1879. In that year Eduard’s youngest son, Johannes (d 1907), who had apprenticed as a piano maker in the Seiler factory and elsewhere, became the technical director, and his brothers-in-law August Lauterbach and Oswald Kasig joined as sales managers. In 1882 the company began to produce its own actions and keyboards, previously supplied by others. New large buildings were added in 1896 and 1907, raising employment to 350, and annual output to ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

[Seiffert]

German and Austrian piano manufacturers. Franz Martin Seuffert (b Würzburg, Germany, 10 Jan 1773; d Vienna, Austria, 3 July 1847) studied with his father, Franz Ignaz Seuffert, and with Anton Walter in Vienna. In 1802, with Joseph Wachtl and Jakob Bleyer (another Walter pupil), Franz Martin co-founded a firm to make pianos, but he left in 1811 after disagreement over the invention of an upright piano. That same year, he received Viennese citizenship and was designated a master. By 1816 he was independently making upright pianos, as well as schrankenförmige Harfen, or ‘cabinet harps’. He succeeded his father as Würzburg court organ builder, holding that title until 1834.

The piano maker Johann Seidler (b 1791) partnered with Franz Martin Seuffert from 1827 to 1846 under the name Seuffert & Seidler. In 1836, Seuffert patented a cast-iron piano frame and an upright action. His son Eduard (...

Article

Cheng Liu and Stewart Carter

Largest Chinese manufacturer of traditional instruments. Located in the Minhang district of Shanghai, the corporation was founded in 1958 through the consolidation of 86 small workshops. Huifang Ren led the company from its inception through 1962; Guozhen Wang has served as its director since 1998. The firm produces more than 60,000 erhus (including about 100 of top professional quality) and 40,000 guzhengs annually, and also makes pipas, ruans, yangqins, Chinese flutes, and a few non-Chinese instruments, notably marimbas. Proprietary subsidiaries of the corporation include Dunhuang Musical Instruments Company, Shanghai Guibao Musical Instruments Company, and Lankao Shanghai Musical Instruments Company in Lankao. The firm has manufactured instruments under the Dunhuang brand since 1962. In 1999 the firm signed a cooperative agreement with the Central Chinese Orchestra in Beijing, under which instruments in that orchestra have gradually been replaced with Dunhuang instruments. The firm also maintains a close relationship with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra. Many instruments bearing the Dunhuang brand are exported, particularly through Eason Music in Singapore....

Article

Hugh Davies

Electronic composition machine (not a synthesizer in the current sense of the word), developed by Helmut Klein and W. Schaaf at Siemens & Halske in Munich between 1956 and 1959. It was designed for and was the chief component of the Studio für Elektronische Musik in Munich, which Siemens began planning in 1955, initially to produce the soundtrack for a one-hour publicity film; it was linked to all the other equipment in the studio. A second model was installed in 1964. The director of the studio and the composer most closely involved with the Siemens Synthesizer was Josef Anton Riedl; others who used the machine included the composers Mauricio Kagel, Bengt Hambraeus, Milko Kelemen, and Ernst Krenek, and the sound poet Ferdinand Kriwet. The studio was taken over by a foundation in 1963, and its equipment was moved to Ulm in 1967; it was later acquired by the Deutsches Museum in Munich....

Article

Hugh Davies

revised by Anne Beetem Acker

A pioneering range of electronic percussion instruments developed by the drummer Dave Simmons and manufactured by Simmons Electronics of St Albans, Hertfordshire, from 1980 to 1999. Starting with the Clap Trap, a hand-clap synthesizer, the company produced other electronic drums, notably the very successful Simmons SDSV (SDS5) Electronic Drum Kit (1981), the first fully electronic drumkit. The SDSV was developed with input from Richard James Burgess, drummer with the band Landscape. Exposure from Burgess playing the SDSV on Tops of the Pops spurred considerable interest among many other performers in the 1980s. The SDSV has large, hexagonal, coloured perspex drum pads that trigger digitally stored recordings of drums (including bass drum, the pad for which is played with a pedal), cymbals, and bells; each pad has an associated memory in which recordings of up to four percussion instruments or other sounds can be stored.

In 1983 the SDS6 sequencer unit was produced, to expand the capabilities of the SDSV. That same year, the SDS7 and SDS8 were introduced. The SDS7 used digital erasable programmable read-only memories (EPROMS) with sampled drum sounds, but they proved problematic for live performance. The SDS8 was a less expensive, somewhat simpler version of the SDSV. A further series of small, very simple models—the SDS1, SDS 200, SDS 400, and SDS 800—was introduced in ...

Article

SSSP  

Hugh Davies

revised by Anne Beetem Acker

[Structured Sound Synthesis Project]

Interactive computer-assisted music composition system, including a polyphonic digital synthesizer, developed by the Canadian composer and computer scientist William Buxton (b 10 March 1949) and others at the University of Toronto Dynamic Graphics Lab in 1977. Its basic 16-voice multiplexed digital oscillator was used in three different systems. In the SSSP Composition System (1978) it was controlled by a PDP 11/45 computer in a studio environment; material developed in this way (up to eight ‘scores’ simultaneously) could be performed in concerts with the SSSP Conduct System (1979), controlled by a portable LSI 11/2 microcomputer. Both systems included a visual display unit and a choice of inputting devices: a 61-note keyboard, an alphanumeric keyboard, and a special graphics tablet by means of which the operator could ‘draw’ on the screen. This very flexible system offered a choice of notations as well as the sophisticated facility of the tablet, and composers needed no previous programming experience to operate it. The tablet led to the development of a new live performance instrument, the SSSP Touch-Sensitive Drum (...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Maker of MIDI controllers founded by the musician and engineer Harvey Starr in San Diego, California, in 1986. The company was initially known as the Starr Switch Co., which provided electronic and mechanical component prototypes for other firms. Since 1994 the firm has specialized in MIDI controllers; its name was changed to Starr Labs in 1996. Their best-known original product is the Ztar, introduced in 1991, a guitar-shaped controller with key-based MIDI inputs. The Ztar has long narrow buttons arranged in rows and columns on its neck to correspond to the frets and six strings, respectively, of a guitar. Early Ztars had an array of six pressure- and velocity-sensitive sensors (trigger pads) for the right hand, plus a customizable choice of larger trigger pad areas for drums. Later Ztars offer an option of using six short lengths of guitar string material for right hand triggering or an array of pressure- and velocity-sensitive buttons. In ‘basic guitar’ mode these strings generate no pitch information alone, instead sending the MIDI message that a note is active, plus a velocity reading, while the left hand usually controls the pitch selection. Other modes allow the strings to send chords, trigger sequences, or other messages, such as controlling crossfade between voices. Various optional sensors and controls can be added, including sustain and volume pedals. An LCD with eight softkeys is located on the upper edge of the body for changing and displaying settings. Configurations of settings can be saved for rapid access in live performance. As of ...