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Article

Theodor Wohnhaas

German firm of piano makers. One of the oldest and most notable Bavarian piano manufacturers, it was founded by Eduard Steingraeber (b Rudolstadt, 20 Aug 1823; d Bayreuth, 14 Dec 1906), who from 1840 to 1844 trained as a piano maker under his father Christian Heinrich Steingraeber and his uncle Gottlieb Steingraeber in Rudolstadt. After three years of travels, when he also met Streicher in Vienna, he returned to his father’s workshops in 1848. In 1852 he founded his own piano workshops in Bayreuth, where his sons Johann Georg Steingraeber (1858–1932) and Burkhard Steingraeber (1866–1945) became partners in 1892. Johann moved to Berlin in 1910 and became a leading maker of modern harpsichords (see also Harpsichord). Burkhard’s son-in-law Heinrich Hermann became head of the firm Steingraeber & Sons in 1920. From 1951 Heinrich Schmidt, Hermann’s nephew, directed the firm, and was followed by his son Udo Schmidt-Steingraeber....

Article

Hans Klotz

revised by Theodor Wohnhaas

German firm of organ builders. It was founded by Georg Friedrich Steinmeyer (b Walxheim, Württemberg, 21 Oct 1819; d Oettingen, 22 Feb 1901) who, after a period of study with A. Thoma of Oettingen, became an assistant of E.F. Walcker of Ludwigsburg, set up on his own in Oettingen in 1847 and produced his first organ in 1848 at Frankenhofen. Under his management over 700 organs were built including the cathedral organs of Bamberg, Munich and Speyer. His son Johannes Steinmeyer (b Oettingen, 27 June 1857; d Oettingen, 22 July 1928) became a partner in 1884, and owner in 1901. He was responsible for the preservation of the Trinity organ built by K.J. Riepp at the Benedictine abbey of Ottobeuren (restored despite the abbey’s plans for its reconstruction). In 1928 he built for Passau Cathedral the largest church organ in the world (at that time), with five manuals and 208 stops. His son Hans Steinmeyer (...

Article

Cynthia Adams Hoover

American firm of piano makers. Heinrich Engelhard Steinway [Steinweg] (b Wolfshagen, 25 Feb 1797; d New York, 7 Feb 1871) established with his sons a piano firm that has dominated the industry from the late 1860s to the present. Precise details of Heinrich's early years are scarce. Family tradition claims that after having served in the army against Napoleon until 1818, and being prohibited by the strict guild system to work as a cabinet maker in Goslar, he assisted an organ builder in the nearby town of Seesen. In 1825 Heinrich was permitted to become a builder and cabinet maker (without the benefit of guild approval) to help rebuild the town of Seesen after it had been destroyed by fire. That year also marked the beginning of what became the Steinway dynasty, with Heinrich's marriage to Julianne Thiemer (1804–77) and the birth of their eldest son C.F. Theodor (...

Article

Stodart  

Margaret Cranmer

English firm of piano makers. It was founded by Robert Stodart (b Walston, Lanarks., bap. 19 July 1748; d Edinburgh, 10 March 1831) in 1775 when he set up his own harpsichord- and piano-making business in Wardour Street, London. He was tuning harpsichords for John Broadwood before 1772 (he was previously apprenticed to an engineer in Dalkeith) and had assisted Broadwood and Americus Backers in inventing the English grand action (see Pianoforte, §I, 4 and fig.); in 1777 he patented a combination instrument, which included the earliest patent for this action (see Harpsichord-piano). Some of his grand pianos survive including one from 1781 at Heaton Hall, Manchester, which is five octaves in compass with an undivided, single-pinned, harpsichord-type bridge and three metal gap spacers to strengthen the gap between the soundboard and the wrest plank. One square piano by him survives with a five-octave compass and the English single action....

Article

Margaret Cranmer

Austrian firm of piano makers . It was founded in 1802 when the daughter of Johann Andreas Stein, Nannette (Maria Anna) Stein Streicher (b Augsburg, 2 Jan 1769; d Vienna, 16 Jan 1833), began building pianos independently from her brother Matthäus Andreas Stein. Stein’s children had carried on their father’s firm after his death and moved the firm from Augsburg to Vienna after Nannette’s marriage to the pianist, composer and teacher Johann Andreas Streicher (b Stuttgart, 13 Dec 1761; d Vienna, 25 May 1833) in 1794. Nannette, also a fine pianist, had learnt piano making from her father, and up to 1810 her piano actions were similar to his, being without back checks (see Pianoforte §I 3. and Pianoforte §I 5.). Her business – ‘Nannette Streicher née Stein’ – flourished, and her husband, a professor of music at Vienna, gave up his job to join her. Weber (in a letter to Johann Gänsbacher, ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Australian piano manufacturing firm. It was founded by Wayne Stuart (b 28 March 1954, Ulverstone, Tasmania) in 1990 and is based in Newcastle. From 2000, the firm operated independently under the name Piano Australia Pty Ltd in conjunction with J. Albert & Son, an Australian music publishing and production firm. Stuart studied piano technology at the NSW State Conservatorium of Music (now the Sydney Conservatorium of Music) and later with Nippon Gakki (Yamaha), Bösendorfer, Bechstein, Steinway, Grotrian-Steinweg, and Louis Renner.

Stuart set out to design a piano combining traditional and new technologies that would increase dynamic range and sustaining power. A core feature is a metal agraffe for string coupling at the bridge that bends the wire in the vertical plane instead of the normal horizontal plane, so as to encourage the wire to vibrate in the same plane as the hammer strike and discourage elliptical and non-vertical oscillations during the decay, thus producing a more regular decay pattern with an even and long sustain....

Article

Cheng Liu and Stewart Carter

Manufacturer of Chinese instruments, located in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. Founded in 1954 the firm nowadays produces approximately 60,000 erhus and 10,000 pipas annually. It also produces ruans, guzhengs, qins, yangqins, suonas, dizis, xiaos, paixiaos, shengs, bianqings, bianzhongs, yunluos, and several types of traditional percussion instruments, as well as some Western-style instruments, such as timpani and harps. The firm also manufactures a few specialty instruments that are essentially enlargements of traditional instruments, intended primarily for use in Chinese traditional orchestras. Among these are the laruan, which resembles a large ruan, but bowed like a cello rather than plucked; and various forms of sheng with metal pipes rather than bamboo, including a bass sheng and a large sheng with a keyboard. The firm’s main factory in Suzhou produces mostly semi-finished instruments, which are sent to a subsidiary factory, also in Suzhou, for painting and other finish work. In 2012 Tian Yongyi was the company’s director and legal representative....

Article

Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner and Anne Beetem Acker

American firm specializing in digital audio workstations (DAW) featuring sound design applications and environments for music, film, advertising, television, audio research, computer games, and other virtual environments. Founded as Kymatics in 1989 by the musician and inventor Carla Scaletti and Kurt J. Hebel of the Computer-Based Education Research Laboratory (CERL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the company was incorporated in 1990 as Symbolic Sound Corporation and is based in Champaign.

Scaletti, president of the firm and formerly a professional harpist, studied composition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (DMA 1984); she also took the degree of Master of Computer Science at Illinois (1988) and the MM at Texas Tech University (1979). The Kyma system (see below) features almost exclusively in her later works, the interaction between performer, composer, and machine remaining a primary motivation. In 1995 Scaletti received an International Computer Music Association award for her interactive online installation ...

Article

Synare  

Hugh Davies

A range of electronic percussion instruments manufactured by Star Instruments of Stafford Springs, Connecticut, between 1975 and 1983. The Synare P.S. (Percussion Synthesizer) consists of a small modular synthesizer with four drum-pads. From 1978 a rather different approach was adopted and the Synare P.S. was replaced by a range of smaller drum synthesizers which were either built into a special drum, controlled from a conventional drum with a contact microphone clamped to its side, or triggered from rubber pads laid out like the bars of a keyed percussion instrument. One model can be connected to a sequencer that can memorize up to four 32-note sequences. The electronically generated timbres include timpani, bells, and bass drum. Synares were popular for disco music, and some 21st-century sample libraries include Synare samples....

Article

Robert E. Eliason

The first commercially available digital music synthesizer, introduced at the 1977 International Computer Music Conference in San Diego, California. It was designed and built by New England Digital Corporation (NED) founders Sydney Alonzo and Cameron W. Jones in collaboration with Dartmouth College professor Jon Appleton. During the 1980s it developed into a digital audio system capable of FM synthesis, sound analysis, sampling, stereo recording and playback on up to 200 tracks, audio editing, video synchronization, and music printing. By 1985 over 400 systems had been sold to recording studios, video post-production operations, and professional musicians such as Michael Jackson, Pat Metheny, Oscar Peterson, Sting, and Stevie Wonder. Commercial producers such as Richard Lavsky used the Synclavier to create accompaniments for such diverse uses as Canon camera commercials, promotional shorts for ABC News, and “Sesame Street.” The success of the Synclavier came to an end in the early 1990s with the advent of several more-affordable digital synthesizers and samplers. Following the end of operations in ...