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Kevin Mooney

(from Lat. aura:‘breath’).

An instrument consisting of several heteroglot Jew’s harps, invented by J.H. Scheibler and described in his short treatise of 1816. It was largely a response to the contemporary – and short-lived – vogue of the jew’s harp on the European concert stage. Scheibler himself was one of its more accomplished practitioners, and published some of his own compositions and arrangments for the instrument in his treatise.

Scheibler’s aura consisted of two identical star-shaped frames made from sheet metal or horn, and joined in the centre by a handle with a screw. Mounted into the frames were two sets of five jew’s harps, each held in place by the screw of the handle so that their steel reeds pointed inward. The handle of each frame was grasped between the thumb and index finger and the reed was struck with a downward motion of the fourth finger. The harps in the right-hand frame were tuned ...


Anne Beetem Acker

Short upright piano invented about 1825 and produced by Johann Joseph Promberger (b Kuffulk, Tyrol, Austria, 5 June 1779; d Vienna, Austria, 25 June 1834). In 1811 Promberger, formerly a cabinetmaker and apprentice of Mathias Müller, obtained citizenship of Vienna and married Anna Wissgill Schweighofer, the widow of the piano maker Michael Schweighofer. The Promberger couple continued the Schweighofer workshop as Schweighofer und Promberger. In 1824, Promberger invented a small keyed glockenspiel for military use and was also granted a privilege for a novel stringing method for pianos. Announced in 1825, the six-octave (F′–f ″″) Sirenion, about 125 cm tall, had a ‘moveable’ soundboard, that is, not glued to the frame, and three pedals operating the dampers, una corda, and moderator. In a contemporary issue of The Harmonicon it is described as being double-strung, like an example in the collection of the Filharmonia Pomorska in Bydgoszcz, but a later example (...


William Waterhouse

(b Dubeč, Sept 27, 1819; d Königgrätz [now Hradec Králové], Jan 19, 1896). Bohemian maker and inventor of brass instruments. Having gained experience as apprentice and journeyman in various Austro-Hungarian workshops, he established himself as brass maker in the garrison town of Königgrätz in 1842. Starting with four employees, by 1859 his workforce totalled 80. By 1867 he had opened a branch factory in Kiev, managed later by his eldest son with Russia later becoming an important export market. From 1876, now as ‘V.F. Červený & Sons’, he was joined by four of his sons and in 1880 the factory, by now employing over 100 workers, was honoured with a state visit by Emperor Franz Joseph. In 1895 no fewer than 6000 brass instruments were supplied to the Russian army. In 1907 the firm became a limited liability company and in 1928 the maker Karl Schamal took over as manager. The firm was nationalized in ...


Matanya Ophee

A plucked, guitar-like string instrument with a sound box shaped in the image of the ancient Greek lyre. It is classified in the Hornbostel-Sachs system as a chordophone. Its popularity grew in mid-18th-century France out of the fashionable infatuation among the upper classes with Greek antiquity. The instrument was also adopted by the emerging middle classes after the revolution, and with the general expansion of French influence during the Napoleonic era it spread to Italy, Germany, Russia, Sweden and, to a lesser degree, to Spain, England and the United States.

Attempts to reproduce the instruments of antiquity resulted in various hybrids whose value were rather more decorative than musical. The lyre-guitar enabled ladies of fashion to assume the gracious pose of Greek kithara players, an image inspired by the contemporary fascination with classicism in architecture, in drama, dance, literature and art. The bucolic symbolism of the peasant's musette, so fashionable in the arts in the earlier decades of the 18th century, no longer conformed to the aristocratic ideal. Many paintings from the time depict scenes in drawing rooms, gardens or river-boats in which elegant young ladies are playing lyre-guitars (...


[Jean Jacques ]

(b Vaihingen, Württemberg, 1740; d after 1809). German keyboard instrument maker. He started as a carpenter’s apprentice, but by 1760 was working with the organ builder Georg Martin Geissinger in Rothenburg. In 1777 he was in Paris, first making harpsichords for the Countess of Artois and then as court instrument maker to the king. In 1789 he introduced his anémocorde, a keyboard instrument with metal trichords (the strings overspun in the treble) initially sounded by a secret mechanism (probably a hammer action) and then sustained in vibration by jets of air from a pair of bellows, allowing dynamic gradation. After five years’ military service in France Schnell started a workshop in Ludwigsburg, and in 1799 demonstrated his anémocorde in Vienna; in 1803 he sold it to a London surgeon, Robert Robertson. Johann Christoph Schnell (fl 1788) was probably a brother or a son of Johann Jakob Schnell. In ...


John Wright

[jaw's] [gewgaw, guimbard, jew's trump, trump] (Lat. crembalum; Fr. guimbarde, trompe de Béarn; Ger. Brummeisen, Maultrommel; It. ribeba, scaccia pensieri; Sp. trompa)

A generic term for a type of mouth-resonated instrument consisting of a flexible tongue, or lamella, fixed at one end to a surrounding frame. Its many vernacular names include variants of ‘trump’ and ‘trompa’. The association with Jews remains obscure. Buckley (1986) gives as the earliest reference an English customs register of 1545: ‘Iues trounks the grose, 3s. 3d.’ and in Hakluyt's Voyages, mention is made of ‘Jewes harps’ used as currency during voyages made in 1595. During a witch trial in 1591, ‘Geilles Duncan led a reill or short daunce upon a small trump, called a Jewes Trump’. Although there is no evidence to suggest that the instrument was particularly associated with Jewish people, the attempt to explain away the problem with the term ‘jaw's harp’ seems unfounded. In Northumberland the name ‘gewgaw’ (the local pronunciation of which is not so far removed phonetically from ‘jew's harp’) is still current; this could be related to the Swedish ...


Ann Griffiths and Richard Macnutt

French family of musicians, publishers and instrument makers.

(b Lichteneau, nr Paderborn, Westphalia, bap. July 20, 1734; d Paris, Feb 4, 1799). Publisher and instrument maker. Designated an ouvrier étranger on his arrival, he probably reached Paris in 1762–3. He was awarded a maker’s licence in November 1766 and in 1774 he became a master of his guild, later styling himself ‘Editeur, Luthier, Facteur de Harpes et autres instruments de musique’. One of the most important harp makers of the 18th century, he worked from premises in the Rue d’Argenteuil, where he made many single-action pedal harps equipped with a hook (à crochets) mechanism Highly ornate – carved, gilded and decorated in the Vernis Martin style – they were considered to be the most superior instruments of their time from both the mechanical and constructional points of view. In 1778 Jean Henri was officially appointed harp maker to Marie Antoinette, but of the five extant Naderman harps said to have been her property, only two – the first (...


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, ...


( b Voerde, nr Schwelm, Aug 21, 1766; d Elberfeld, May 9, 1829). German physician and flute designer . He studied at Dortmund, Halle and Berlin, and in 1787 qualified as a physician and surgeon in Duisburg. In addition to practising as a physician in Lünen (1788), Mülheim (...


Carolyn W. Simons, Alexandr Buchner and Hugh Davies


A term used to include a broad range of strung keyboard instruments capable of producing a sustained sound in which the volume can be controlled by the performer. First used by Isaac Henry Robert Mott to describe his instrument of 1817, the term sostenente piano may be usefully applied to instruments dating from as early as Hans Haiden’s Geigenwerk of 1575. Until the late 18th century most were of bowed type, designed to imitate the violin or human voice. Other means of sound production (such as compressed air or transmitted vibrations) began to be used in the late 18th century as part of a general trend for making expressive, ethereal instruments. In the 19th and early 20th centuries such instruments were generally intended to emulate the sound of a string quartet or orchestra.

Carolyn W. Simons

Bowed keyboard instruments vary in shape, stringing and bowing device. Those shaped like harpsichords and pianos usually have at least one string per key, while other designs are fretted, more closely resembling a keyed monochord, ...



Richard Hudson

[tempo rubato] (It.: ‘robbed or stolen time’)

The expressive alteration of rhythm or tempo. In an earlier type the melody is altered while the accompaniment maintains strict time. A later type involves rhythmic flexibility of the entire musical substance. Both originated as a part of unnotated performing practice, but were later sometimes indicated in scores. Some modern writers refer to the earlier and later types as melodic and structural, borrowed and stolen, contrametric and agogic, or bound and free.

In 1723 Tosi referred to rubamento di tempo in Italian arias of the late 17th century. Galliard explained the technique in his translation of 1743: ‘When the bass goes an exactly regular pace, the other part retards or anticipates in a singular manner, for the sake of expression, but after that returns to its exactness, to be guided by the bass’. Ex.1 , one of Roger North’s illustrations of Tosi’s ‘breaking and yet keeping of time’ shows the following features: (1) the ...


Michael Kassler

German-English family of musicians .

(b Engelbostel, Hanover, March 21, 1756; d London, April 19, 1829). English music theorist of German birth. His father was the Engelbostel organist; an uncle, Carl Christoph Hachmeister senior, composed and was organist of the Heiligen-Geist church in Hamburg; his brother, Georg Christoph Kollmann (1758–1827), became organist of St Katharinen, Hamburg. A.F.C. Kollmann studied with the Hanover organist Böttner and in 1779 entered the Normal School there, learning ‘that methodical, and systematical manner of teaching, which has been very advantageous to him, not only for school instruction, but also in teaching music, and particularly in writing his musical treatises’. On 10 December 1781 he was appointed organist and schoolmaster of the Benedictine convent at Lüne (near Lüneburg) but left and in September 1782 became organist and schoolmaster of the Royal German Chapel in St James’s Palace, London, where he remained for the rest of his life (serving also, from ...


David Fallows

(from Gk. metron: ‘a measure’ and nomos: ‘law’; Fr. métronome; Ger. Metronom, Taktmesser; It. metronomo)

An apparatus for establishing musical tempo. More specifically, it is the clockwork-driven double-pendulum device perhaps invented about 1812 by Diederich Nikolaus Winkel but refined and patented by Johann Nepomuk Maelzel in 1815. The name seems to have entered the English and French languages specifically on Maelzel’s patents filed in London and Paris; and there is no apparent evidence of its earlier use in any European language.

Traditionally the metronome has had two main purposes, which should be considered quite separately.

Nearly all the main developments have been driven by the need for composers and editors to fix the tempo they considered appropriate for a particular work (but see Tempo and expression marks, §4). This began to seem necessary for the first time in the late 17th century, when the music of different nationalities evolved markedly different styles and performance conventions but was internationally available. Thus Etienne Loulié (1696...



William Waterhouse

(Fr. basson; Ger. Fagott; It. fagotto)

A wooden conical wind instrument, sounded with a double reed, which forms the tenor and bass to the woodwind section. In the modern orchestra, the family exists in two different sizes: the bassoon and the double bassoon or contrabassoon, sounding one octave lower. Built in four joints, its precursor the dulcian was of one-piece construction. Because of its wide compass and its range of characteristic tone-colours, from richly sonorous at the bottom to expressively plaintive at the top, it is one of the most versatile and useful members of the orchestra. Certain design features are peculiar to it: the doubling back on itself of the bore, like a hairpin; the ‘extension bore’ beyond the sixth finger-hole; and local wall thickness allowing for finger-hole chimneys. These features give the instrument its essential tone qualities and condition its complex acoustics. The standard compass of the present-day bassoon is from B♭′ to ...


Edwin M. Ripin, Stewart Pollens, Philip R. Belt, Maribel Meisel, Alfons Huber, Michael Cole, Gert Hecher, Beryl Kenyon de Pascual, Cynthia Adams Hoover, Cyril Ehrlich, Edwin M. Good, Robert Winter and J. Bradford Robinson


A keyboard instrument distinguished by the fact that its strings are struck by rebounding hammers rather than plucked (as in the harpsichord) or struck by tangents that remain in contact with the strings (as in the clavichord).

The present article treats the history and technique of the instrument; for discussion of the repertory see Keyboard music, §III. Additional information on the contributions of particular makers is given in their individual articles.

In the Hornbostel-Sachs classification of instruments the piano is reckoned as a box zither.

Edwin M. Ripin and Stewart Pollens

The piano has occupied a central place in professional and domestic music-making since the third quarter of the 18th century. In addition to the great capacities inherent in the keyboard itself – the ability to sound simultaneously at least as many notes as one has fingers and therefore to be able to produce an approximation of any work in the entire literature of Western music – the piano’s capability of playing notes at widely varying degrees of loudness in response to changes in the force with which the keys are struck, permitting crescendos and decrescendos and a natural dynamic shaping of a musical phrase, gave the instrument an enormous advantage over its predecessors, the clavichord and the harpsichord. (Although the clavichord was also capable of dynamic expression in response to changes in touch, its tone was too small to permit it to be used in ensemble music; the harpsichord, on the other hand, had a louder sound but was incapable of producing significant changes in loudness in response to changes in touch.) The capabilities later acquired of sustaining notes at will after the fingers had left the keys (by means of pedals) and of playing far more loudly than was possible on the harpsichord made this advantage even greater....



Thomas F. Heck, Harvey Turnbull, Paul Sparks, James Tyler, Tony Bacon, Oleg V. Timofeyev and Gerhard Kubik

(Fr. guitare; Ger. Gitarre; It. chitarra; Sp. guitarra; Port. viola; Brazilian Port. violão)

Thomas F. Heck

A string instrument of the lute family, plucked or strummed, and normally with frets along the fingerboard. It is difficult to define precisely what features distinguish guitars from other members of the lute family, because the name ‘guitar’ has been applied to instruments exhibiting a wide variation in morphology and performing practice. The modern classical guitar has six strings, a wooden resonating chamber with incurved sidewalls and a flat back. Although its earlier history includes periods of neglect as far as art music is concerned, it has always been an instrument of popular appeal, and has become an internationally established concert instrument endowed with an increasing repertory. In the Hornbostel and Sachs classification system the guitar is a ‘composite chordophone’ of the lute type (seeLute, §1, andChordophone).

Harvey Turnbull and Paul Sparks

Fig.1 shows the parts of the modern classical guitar. In instruments of the highest quality these have traditionally been made of carefully selected woods: the back and sidewalls of Brazilian rosewood, the neck cedar and the fingerboard ebony; the face or table, acoustically the most important part of the instrument, is of spruce, selected for its resilience, resonance and grain (closeness of grain is considered important, and a good table will have a grain count about 5 or 6 per cm). The table and back are each composed of two symmetrical sections, as is the total circumference of the sidewalls. The table is supported by struts of Sitka spruce, which contribute greatly to the quality of sound. Over-extraction of many of these woods led to a global shortage at the end of the 20th century, and luthiers, having exhausted their old stocks, turned to alternative materials. Indian rosewood and maple were often used instead of Brazilian rosewood (trade of which was banned throughout the world), the table was sometimes made from Canadian or western red cedar (acid rain and war in the Balkans having affected supplied of European spruce), mahogany from Honduras and Brazil was occasionally used for the neck, and African blackwood was being considered as a substitute for ebony....



Janet K. Page, Geoffrey Burgess, Bruce Haynes and Michael Finkelman

(Fr. hautbois; Ger. Oboe; It. oboe)

Generic term in the system of Hornbostel and Sachs for an aerophone with a double (concussion) reed (for detailed classification see Aerophone). The name is taken from that of the principal treble double-reed instrument of Western art music (see §II below).

The Aulos of ancient Greece may sometimes have had a double reed, and some kind of reed aerophone was known in North Africa in pre-Islamic times. Instruments of theSurnāy type became established with the spread of the Arab empire around the end of the first millennium ce; they were possibly a synthesis of types from Iran, Mesopotamia, Syria and Asia Minor. From there the instrument, then used in a military role, spread into conquered areas and areas of influence: to India, and later, under the Ottoman empire, to Europe (around the time of the fifth crusade, 1217–21; there may already have been bagpipes with double reeds there) and further into Asia (to China in the 14th century). As the instrument spread, it came to be made of local materials and fashioned according to local preferences in usage, shape and decoration: the ...



Barbara Owen, Peter Williams and Stephen Bicknell

(Fr. orgue, orgues; Dutch, Ger. Orgel; It., Sp. organo; Dan. Orglet; from Gk. organon via Lat. organum)

A wind instrument consisting of one or more scale-like rows of individual pipes of graded size which are made to sound by air under pressure directed from a wind-raising device and admitted to the pipes by means of valves operated from a keyboard. Although this definition could include such instruments as the Regals, Portative, Positive and Claviorgan, this article is concerned with the larger organ proper.

The organ is, together with the clock, the most complex of all mechanical instruments developed before the Industrial Revolution. Among musical instruments its history is the most involved and wide-ranging, and its extant repertory the oldest and largest (see Keyboard music; see also Continuo). Despite its essentially indirect and therefore relatively inflexible production of sound, no other instrument has inspired such avowed respect as the organ, ‘that great triumph of human skill … the most perfect musical instrument’ (Grove1), ‘in my eyes and ears … the king of instruments’ (Mozart, letter to his father, 17–...


Pamela L. Poulin


(b Bruck an der Leitha, June 28, 1753; d Vienna, June 15, 1812). Austrian clarinettist, composer and inventor. He was a son of a Viennese musician and shoemaker, Joseph Stadler, and his wife Sophie (née Altmann). At some time after the birth of his brother Johann (Nepomuk Franz) (b Vienna, ?1755; d Vienna, May–June 1804), the family returned to Vienna. Both boys became clarinettists; the earliest evidence of a joint performance appears in a programme of the Tonkünstler-Societät (1773). In 1779 they were engaged in the imperial eight-part Harmonie (Anton initially played second clarinet because of his interest in the low register), and they played in the court orchestra on a freelance basis. In 1780, the year of Anton’s marriage to Francisca Pichler (?Bichler), the brothers were also in the service of Count Carl von Palm, while Anton was also employed by the Russian ambassador Count Dmitry Golitsïn and the order of Maria Treu. By ...


Howard Mayer Brown

revised by Lynda Sayce

(b Nuremberg, c1500; d Nuremberg, 1570). German instrumentalist, lute maker and compiler and arranger of several volumes of instrumental music. He was probably the son of Conrad Gerle (d 1521), a well-known lute maker in Nuremberg. He may be presumed to have spent his life in his native city. He may have been related to Georg Gerle who worked as an instrument maker in Innsbruck during the second half of the 16th century.

Hieronymus Formschneider of Nuremberg published three volumes of music by Hans Gerle: Musica teusch, auf die Instrument der grossen unnd kleinen Geygen, auch Lautten (1532), Tabulatur auff die Laudten (1533) and Eyn newes sehr künstlichs Lautenbuch (1552). On the title-page of the last volume the author called himself ‘Hans Gerle den Eltern’ (the elder), implying the existence of a younger relative with the same forename.

The first volume, ...