1902 Encyclopedia > Pianoforte

Pianoforte




PIANOFORTE. The group of keyed stringed instruments, among which the pianoforte is latest in order of time, has been invented and step by step developed with the modern* art of music, which is based upon the simul-taneous employment of different musical sounds. In the 10th century the " organum " arose, an elementary system of accompaniment to the voice, consisting of fourths and octaves below the melody and moving with it; and the organ, the earliest keyed instrument, was, in the first instance, the rude embodiment of this idea and convenient means for its expression. There was as yet no keyboard of balanced key levers ; batons were drawn out like modern draw-stops, to admit the compressed air necessary to make the pipes sound. About the same time arose a large stringed instrument, the organistrum, the parent of the now vulgar hurdy-gurdy; as the organ needed a blower as well as an organist, so the player of the organistrum required a handle-turner, by whose aid the three strings of the instrument were made to sound simultaneously upon a wheel, and, according to the well-known sculptured relief of St George de Boscherville, one string was manipulated by means of a row of stoppers or tangents pressed inwards to produce the notes. The other strings were drones, analogous to the drones of the bagpipes, but originally the three strings followed the changing organum. In the 11th century, the epoch of Guido d'Arezzo, to whom the beginning of musical notation is attributed, the Pythagorean monochord, with its shifting bridge, was used in the singing schools to teach the intervals of the plain-song of the church. The practical necessity, not merely to demonstrate the proportionate relations of the intervals, but also to initiate pupils into the different grada-tions of the church tones, had soon after Guido's time brought into use quadruplex-fashioned monochords, which were constructed with scales, analogous to the modern practice with thermometers which are made to show both Reaumur and Centigrade, so that four lines indicated as many authentic and as many plagal tones. This arrange-ment found great acceptance, for Aribo, writing about fifty years after Guido, says that few monochords were to be found without it. Had the clavichord then been known, this make-shift contrivance would not have been used. Aribo strenuously endeavoured to im-prove it, and "by the grace of God" invented a monochord measure which, on account of the rapidity of the leaps he could make with it, he named a wild-goat (caprea). Jean de Muris (Musica Speculativa, 1323) teaches how true relations may be found by a single-string monochord, but recom-mends a four-stringed one, pro-perly a tetrachord, to gain a knowledge of unfamiliar inter-vals. He describes the musical instruments known in his time, but does not mention the clavi- 11 chord or monochord with keys, u

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which could not have been then FIG. l.—Earliest existing represen-
invented Pprharis one of flip tation of a Keyed Stringed Instru-inveuueu. remaps one oi xne ment from gt Mary.Si Shrewsbury
earliest forms of SUcll ail instrU- (primitive Clavichord). Before
„, , o T - 1 , 1460. Drawn by Miss Edith Lloyd.
ment, m which stoppers or tan- 1 3

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gents had been adopted from the organistrum, is shown in fig. 1, from a wood carving of a vicar choral or organist, preserved in St Mary's Church, Shrewsbury. The latest date to which this interesting figure may be attributed is 1460, but the conventional representation shows that the instrument was then already of a past fashion, although perhaps still retained in use and familiar to the carver.

A keyboard of balanced keys may have been first introduced in the little portable organ known as the regal so often represented in old carvings, paintings, and stained windows. It derived its name regal from the rule (regula) or graduated scale of keys, and its use was to give the singers in religious processions the note or pitch. The only instrument of this kind known to exist in the United Kingdom is at Blair Athole, and it bears the very late date of 1630. The Brussels regal may be as modern. These are instances of how long a some-time admired musical instrument may remain in use after its first inten-tion is forgotten. We attribute the adaptation of the narrow regal keyboard to what was still called the mono-chord, but was now a complex of monochords over one resonance board, to the latter half of the 14th century; it was accomplished by the substitution of tangents fixed in the further ends of the balanced keys for the movable bridges of the monochord or such stoppers as are shown in the Shrewsbury carving. Thus the monochordium or " payre of monochordis" became the clavichordium or " payre of clavichordis "—pair being applied, in the old sense of a " pair of steps," to a series of degrees. This use of the word to imply gradation was common in England to all keyed instruments; thus we read, in the Tudor period and later, of a pair of regals, organs, or virginals.

The earliest known record of the clavichord occurs in some rules of the minnesingers, dated 1404, preserved at Vienna. The monochord is named with it, showing a differentiation of these instruments, and of them from the clavicymbalum, the keyed cymbal, cembalo (Italian), or psaltery. From this we learn that a keyboard had been thus early adapted to that favourite mediaeval stringed instrument, the " cembalo " of Boccaccio, the " sautrie " of Chaucer. There were two forms of the psaltery:—(l)the trapeze, one of the oldest representations of which is to be found in Orcagna's famous Trionfo della Morte in the Campo Santo at Pisa, and another by the same painter in the National Gallery, London ; and (2) the contemporary " testa di porco," the pig's head, which was of triangular shape as the name suggests. The trapeze psaltery was strung horizontally, the " istromento di porco " either hori-zontally or vertically,—the notes, as in the common dul-cimer, being in groups of three or four unisons. In these differences of form and stringing we see the cause of the ultimate differentiation of the spinet and harpsichord. The compass of the psalteries was nearly that of Guido's scale; but, according to Mersenne, the lowest interval was a. fourth, G to C, which is worthy of notice as anticipating the later " short measure " of the spinet and organ.

The simplicity of the clavichord inclines us to place it, in order of time, before the clavicymbalum or clavicembalo; but we do not know how the sounds of the latter were at first excited. There is an indication as to its early form to be seen in the church of the Certosa near Pavia, which compares in probable date with the Shrewsbury example. We quote the reference to it from Dr Ambros's History of Music. He says a carving represents King David as hold-' ing an " istromento di porco " which has eight strings and as many keys lying parallel to them; he touches the keys with the right hand and damps the strings with the left. The attribution of archaism applies with equal force to this carving as to the Shrewsbury one, for when the monastery of Certosa was built chromatic keyboards, which imply a considerable advance, were already in use. There is an authentic representation of a chromatic keyboard, painted not later than 1426, in the St Cecilia panel (now at Berlin) of the famous Adoration of the Lamb by the Van Eycks. The instrument depicted is a positive organ, and it is interesting to notice in this realistic painting that the keys are evidently boxwood as in the Italian spinets of later date, and that the angel plays a common chord—A with the right hand, F and C with the left. But diatonic organs with eight steps or keys in the octave, which included the B flat and the B natural, as in Guido's scale, were long preserved, for Praetorius speaks of them as still existing nearly two hundred years later. This diatonic keyboard, we learn from Sebastian Virdung (Musica getutscht und auszgezogen, Basel, 1511), was the keyboard of the early clavichord. We reproduce his diagram as the only autho-rity we have for the disposition of the one short key.

FIG. 2.—Diatonic Clavichord Keyboard (Guido's Scale) fromVirdung. Before 1511.

The extent of this scale is exactly Guido's. Virdung's diagram of the chromatic is the same as our own familiar keyboard, and comprises three octaves and a note, from F below the bass stave to G above the treble. But Virdung tells us that even then clavichords were made longer than four octaves by repetition of the same order of keys. The introduction of the chromatic order he attributes to the study of Boetius, and the consequent endeavour to restore the three musical genera of the Greeks—the diatonic, chromatic, and enharmonic. But the last-named had not been attained. Virdung gives woodcuts of the clavicordium, the virginal, the clavicimbalum, and the claviciterium. We reproduce three of them (figs. 3, 6, and 12), omitting the virginal as obviously incorrect. All these drawings have been continually repeated by writers on musical instruments up to the present day, but without discerning that in the printing they are reversed, which puts the keyboards entirely wrong, and that in Luscinius's Latin translation of Virdung (Musurgia, sive Praxis Musicse, Strasburg, 1536), which has been hitherto chiefly followed, two of the engravings, the clavicimbalum and the claviciterium, are transposed, another cause of error. Martin Agricola (Musica Instrumental, Wittenberg, 1529) has copied Virdung's illustrations with some differences of perspective, and the addition, here and there, of errors of his own.

FIG. 3.—Virdung's Clavichordium, 1511; reversed facsimile.

Still vulgarly known as monochord, Virdung's clavichord was really a box of monochords, all the strings being of the same length. He derives the clavichord from Guido's monochord as he does the virginal from the psaltery, but, at the same time, confesses he does not know when, or by whom, either instrument was invented. We observe in this drawing the short sound-board, which always remained a clavichord peculiarity, and the straight sound-board bridge—necessarily so when all the strings were of one length. To gain an angle of striking place for the tangents against the strings the keys were made crooked, an expedient further rendered necessary by the "fretting,"— three tangents, according to Virdung, being directed to stop as many notes from each single group of three strings tuned in unison; each tangent thus made a different vibrating length of string. In the drawing the strings are merely indicated. The German for fret is Bund, and such a clavichord, in that language, is known as a " gebunden " one, both fret (to rub) and Bund (from binden, to bind) having been taken over from the lute or viol. The French and Italians employ " touche " and " tasto," touch. Prae-torius, who wrote a hundred years later than Virdung, says two, three, and four tangents were thus employed in stopping. The oldest clavichords extant have no more than two tangents to a note formed by a pair of strings, no longer three. Thus seven pairs of strings suffice for an octave of twelve keys, the open notes being F, G, A, B flat, C, D, E flat, and by an unexplained peculiarity, perhaps derived from some special estimation of the notes which was connected with the church modes, A and D are left throughout free from a second tangent. A corresponding value of these notes is shown by their independence of chromatic alteration in tuning the double Irish harp, as explained by Galilei in his treatise on music, published in 1581. Adlung, who died in 1762, speaks of another fretting, but we think it must have been an adaptation to the modern major scale, the "free " notes being E and B. Clavichords were made with double fretting up to about the year 1700,—that is to say, to the epoch of J. S. Bach, who, taking advantage of its abolition and the conse-quent use of independent pairs of strings for each note, was enabled to tune in all keys equally, which had been impossible so long as the fretting was maintained. The modern scales having become established, Bach was now able to produce, in 1722, Das wohltemperirte Clavier, the first collection of preludes and fugues in all the twenty-four major and minor scales for a clavichord which was tuned, as to concordance and dissonance, fairly equal.

The oldest clavichord, here called manicordo (as French, manicorde, from monochord), known to exist is that shown in fig. 4. It will be observed that the lowest octave is

FIG. 4.—Manicordo (Clavichord) d'Eieonora di Montalvo, 1659 ; Kraus Museum, Florence.

here already "bundfrei " or fret-free. The strings are no longer of equal length, and there are three bridges, divisions of tne one bridge, in different positions on the sound-board. Mersenne's " manicorde " (Harmonic Universelle, 1636), shown in an engraving in that work, has the strings still nearly of equal length, but divides the sound-board bridge into five. The fretted clavichords made in Germany in the last years of the 17 th century have the curved sound-board m bridge, like a spinet. In //,„"*''"' the clavichord the tangents always form the second Fl0' "-Clavichord Tangent, bridge, indispensable for the vibration, as well as act as the sound exciters (fig. 5). The common damper to all the strings is a list of cloth, interwoven behind the tangents. As the tangents quitted the strings the cloth immediately stopped vibration. Too much cloth would diminish the tone of this already feeble instrument, which gained the name of " dumb spinet" from its use. The cloth is accurately painted in the clavichord Rubens's St Cecilia (Dresden Gallery) plays upon,—interesting as perhaps representing that painter's own instrument. The number of keys there shown is three octaves and a third, F to A, —the same extent as in Handel's clavichord now in the museum at Maidstone (an Italian instrument dated 1726, and not fretted), but with a combined chromatic and short octave peculiarity in the lowest notes we shall have to refer to when we arrive at the spinet; we pass it by as the only instance in the clavichord we have met with. The clavichord must have gone out of favour in Great Britain and the Netherlands early in the 16th century, before its expressive power, which is of the most tender and intimate quality, could have been, from the nature of the music played, observed,—the more brilliant and elegant spinet being preferred to it. Like the other keyboard instruments it had no German name, and can hardly have been of German origin. Holbein, in his drawing of the family of Sir Thomas More, 1528, now at Basel, indi-cates the place for " Klavikordi und ander Seytinspill." But it remained longest in use in Germany—until even the beginning of the present century. It was the favourite " Klavier " of the Bachs. Besides that of Handel already noticed, there are in existence clavichords the former possession of which is attributed to Mozart and Beethoven. The clavichord was obedient to a peculiarity of touch possible on no other keyboard instrument. This is described by C. P. Emmanuel Bach in his famous essay on playing and accompaniment, entitled Versuch iiber die loahre Art das Klavier zu spielen (An Essay on the True Way to play Keyboard Instruments). It is the " Bebung " (trembling), a vibration in a melody note of the same nature as that frequently employed by violin players to heighten the expressive effect; it was gained by a repeated movement of the fleshy end of the finger while the key was still held down. The " Bebung " was indicated in the notation by dots over the note to be affected by it, perhaps showing how many times the note should be repeated. According to the practice of the Bachs, as handed down to us in the above mentioned essay, great smoothness of touch was required to play the clavichord in tune. As with the monochord, the means taken to produce the sound disturbed the accuracy of the string measurement by increasing tension, so that a key touched too firmly in the clavichord, by unduly raising the string, sharpened the pitch, an error in playing deprecated by C. P. Emmanuel Bach. This answers the assertion which has been made that J. S. Bach could not have been nice about tuning when he played from preference on an instrument of un-certain intonation.

The next instrument described by Virdung is the virginal (virginalis, proper for a girl), a parallelogram in shape, with a projecting keyboard and compass of keys the same as the clavichordium. Here we can trace deriva-tion from the psaltery in the sound-board covering the entire inner surface of the instrument and in the triangular disposition of the strings. The latter in Virdung's drawing has an impossible position with reference to the keyboard, which renders its reproduction as an illustration useless. But in the next drawing, the clavicimbalum, this is rectified, and the drawing, reversed on account of the key-board, can be accepted as roughly representing the instrument so called (fig. 6).

There would be no difference between it and the virginal were it not for a peculiarity of keyboard compass, which emphatically refers itself to the Italian " spinetta," a name unnoticed by Virdung or by his countryman named the clavichordium and clavicimbalum as familiar instruments. In the first place, the keyboard, beginning apparently with B natural, instead of F, makes the clavicimbalum smaller than the virginal, the strings in this arrangement being shorter ; in the next place it is almost certain that the Italian spinet compass, beginning appar-ently upon a semitone, is identical with a " short measure " or " short octave " organ compass, a very old keyboard arrangement, by which the lowest note, representing B, really sounded G, and C sharp in like manner A. The origin of this may be deduced from the psaltery and many representations of the regal, and its object appears to have been to obtain dominant basses for cadences,—harmonious closes having early been sought for as giving pleasure to the ear. We have found a hitherto unnoticed authority for this practice in Mersenne, who, in 1636, expressly describes it as occurring in his own spinet (espinette). He says the keyboards of the spinet and organ are the same. Now, in his Latin edition of the same work he renders espinette by clavicimbalum. We read (Harmonie TJni-verselle, Paris, 1636, liv. 3, p. 107)—" Its longest string [his spinet's] is little more than a foot in length between the two bridges. It has only thirty-one steps [" marches "] in its keyboard, and as many strings over its sound-board [he now refers to the illustration], so that there are five keys hidden on account of the perspective,—that is to say, three naturals and two sharps ["feintes," same as. the Latin ficti\, of which the first is cut into two [a diviued sharp form-ing two keys] ; but these sharps serve to go down to the third and fourth below the first step, C sol [tenor clef C], in order to go as far as the third octave, for the eighteen principal steps make but an eighteenth, that is to say, a fourth more than two octaves." The note we call F he, on his engraving, letters as C, indicating the pitch of a spinet of the second size, which the one described is not. The third and fourth, reached by his cut sharp, are consequently the lower A and G ; or, to complete, as he says, the third octave, the lowest note might be F, but for that he would want the diatonic semitone B, which his spinet, according to his description, did not possess. Mersenne's statement sufficiently proves, first, the use in spinets as well as in organs of what we now call " short measure," and, secondly, the intention of cut sharps at the lower end of the keyboard to gain lower notes. He speaks of one string only to each note; unlike the double and triple strung clavichord, those instruments, clavicimbalum, spinet, or virginal, derived from the psaltery, could only present one string to the mechanical plectrum which twanged it. As regards the kind of plectra earliest used we have no evidence. The little crow-quill points, Scaliger, who was born in 1484, expressly says were introduced when he was a boy. They project from centred tongues in uprights of wood known as "jacks" (fig. 7), which also carry the dampers. The quills, rising by the depression of the keys in front, set the strings vibrating as they pass them,—springs at first of steel, later of bristle, giving energy to the twang and governing their return. Scaliger remem-bered the " harpichordum " and " clavi-cimbalum" being without those quill-points (rnucrones), and attributes the intro-duction of the name " spinetta " to them (from spina, a thorn). We will leave harpichordum for the present, but the early identity of clavicimbalum and spinetta is certainly proved. Scaliger's etymology has remained unquestioned until quite re-cently ; it is due to Signor Ponsicchi of Florence to have discovered another de-rivation. He has found in a rare book entitled Conclusions nel suono dell' organo, di D. Adiano Banchieri (Bologna, 1608), the following passage, which translated reads:—" Spinetta was thus named from the inventor of that oblong form, who was one Maestro Gio-vanni Spinetti, a Venetian; and I have seen one of those instruments, in the possession of Francesco Stivori, organist of the magnificent community of Montagnana, within which was this inscription—Joannes Spinetvs Venetvs fecit, A.D. 1503." Scaliger's and Banchieri's state-ments may be combined, as there is no discrepancy of dates, or we may rely upon whichever seems to us to have the greater authority, always bearing in mind that neither invalidates the other. The introduction of crow-quill points, and adaptation to an oblong case of an instrument previously in a trapeze form, are synchronous ; but we must accept 1503 as a late date for one of Spinetti's instruments, seeing that the altered form had already become common, as shown by Virdung, in another country as early as 1511. After this date there are frequent references to spinets in public records and other documents, and we have fortunately the instruments themselves to put in evidence, preserved in public museums and in private collections. The oldest spinet we can point out is in the Conservatoire, Paris. It is a pentagonal instrument made by Francesco di Portalupis at Verona, 1523. The Milanese Rossi were famous spinet-makers, and have been accredited (La JVobilitd di Milano, 1595) with an improve-ment in the form which we believe was the recessing of the keyboard, a feature which had previously entirely pro-jected ; by the recessing a greater width was obtained for the sound-board. The spinets by Annibalo Rosso at South Kensington, dated respectively 1555 (fig. 8) and 1577, show this alteration, and may be compared with the older and purer form of one, dated 1568, by Marco Jadra (also known as Marco "dalle spinette," or " dai cembali"). Besides the pentagonal spinet, there was an heptagonal variety; they had neither covers nor stands, and were often withdrawn from decorated cases when required for performance. In other instances, as in the 1577 Rosso Bpinet, the case of the instrument itself was richly adorned.

FIG. 8.—Milanese Spinetta, by Annibalo Rosso, 1S5S; South Kensington Museum.

The apparent compass of the keyboard in Italy generally exceeded four octaves by a semitone, E to F ; but we may regard the lowest natural key as usually C, and the lowest sharp key as usually D, in these instruments, according to " short measure."

The rectangular spinet, Virdung's "virginal," early assumed in Italy the fashion of the large "cassone" or wedding chests. The oldest we know of in this style, and dated, is the fine specimen belonging to M. Terme which figures in L'A rt Decoratif (fig. 9). Virginal is not an Italian name; the rectangular instrument in Italy is " spinetta tavola." In England, from Henry VII. to Charles II., all quilled instruments (stromenti di penna), without distinction as to form, were known as virginals. It was a common name, equivalent to the contemporary Italian clavicordo and Flemish clavisingel. From the latter, by apocope, we arrive at the French clavecin,—the French clavier, a keyboard, being in its turn adopted by the Germans to denote any keyboard stringed instrument.

Mersenne gives three sizes for spinets,—one 2 feet wide, tuned to the octave of the "ton de chapelle " (in his day a half tone above the present English medium pitch), one of 3 feet, tuned to the fourth below, and one of 5 feet, tuned to the octave below the first,—the last being therefore tuned''in unison to the chapel pitch. He says his own spinet was one of the smallest it was customary to make, but from the lettering of the keys in hia drawing it would have been of the second size, or the spinet tuned to the fourth. The octave spinet, of trapeze form, was known in Italy as " ottavina " or " spinetta di serenata." It had a less compass of keys than the larger instrument, being apparently three and two-third octaves, E to C,—which by the " short measure " would be four octaves, C to C. We learn from Proetorius that these little spinets were placed upon the larger ones in performance; their use was to heighten the brilliant effect. In the double rectangular clavisingel of the Netherlands, in which there was a movable octave instrument, we recognize a similar intention. There is a fine spinet of this kind at Nuremberg. Praetorius illustrates the Italian spinet by a form known as the " spinetta traversa," an approach towards the long clavicembalo or harpsichord,—the tuning pins being immediately over the keyboard. This trans-posed spinet, more powerful than the old trapeze one, became fashionable in England after the Restoration,—Haward, Keene, Slade, Player, Baudin, the Hitchcocks, Mahoon, Haxby, the Harris family, and others having made such " spinnets" during a period for which we have dates from 1664 to 1784. Pepys bought his " Espinette" from Charles Haward for £5, July 13, 1668.

The spinets of Keene and Player,
made about 1700,
have frequently two cut sharps at the bass end of the keyboard, which Mersenne's short measure, and the realization at that time of the independence of each key in the chromatic scale, may be taken when combined to explain.

FIG. 10.—English Spinet (Splnetta Traversa), by Carolus Haward. About 1668. Collection of Mr W. Dale, London.





Hitherto such cut sharps have been assumed to be quarter tones, but enharmonic intervals in the extreme bass can have no justification. From the tuning of Handel's Italian clavichord already mentioned, which has this peculiarity, and from Prsetorius we find the farther halves of the two cut sharps were the chromatic semitones, and the nearer halves the major thirds below what they appeared to be. Thomas Hitchcock (for whom there are dates 1664 and 1703 written on keys and jacks of spinets bearing Edward Blunt's name and having divided bass sharps) made a great advance in con-structing spinets, giving them the wide compass of five octaves, from G to G, with very fine keyboards in which the sharps. were inlaid with a slip of the ivory or ebony, as the case might be, of the naturals. Their instruments, always numbered, and not dated as has been sometimes supposed, became models for the contemporary and subsequent English makers.

"We have now to ask what was the difference between Scaliger's harpichor-dum and his clavicymbal. Galilei, the father of the astronomer of that name (Dialogo delta Musica Antica e Moderna, Florence, 1581), says that the harpichord was so named from having resembled an " arpa giacente," a prostrate or " couched " harp,—proving that the clavicymbal was at first the trapeze-shaped spinet; and we should therefore differentiate harpi-chord and clavicymbal as, in form, suggested by or derived from the harp and psaltery, or from a " testa di porco " and an ordinary trapeze psaltery. We are inclined to prefer the latter. The Latin name " clavicymbalum," having early böen replaced by spinet and virginal, was in Italy and France bestowed upon the long harpichord, and was con-tinued as clavicembalo (gravecembalo, or familiarly cembalo only) and clavecin. Much later, after the restoration of the Stuarts, the first name was accepted and naturalized in England as harpsichord, which we will define as the long quill instrument shaped like a modern grand piano, and resembling a wing, from which it has gained the German appellation " Flügel." We can point out no long instrument of this kind so old as the Roman cembalo at South Kensington (fig. 11). It was made by Geronimo of Bologna in 1521, two years before the Paris Portalupis spinet. The outer case is of finely tooled leather. It has a spinet compass of keyboard of nearly four octaves, E to D. The natural keys are of boxwood, gracefully arcaded in front. The keyboards of the Italian cembalo were after-wards carried out to the normal four octaves. There is an existing example dated 1626, with the bass keys carried out without sharps in long measure. It is surprising to see with what steady persistence the Italians adhered in making the instrument to their original model. As late as the epoch of Cristofori, and in his 1722 cembalo at Florence, we still find the independent outer case, the single keyboard, the two unisons, without power to reduce to one by using stops. The Italians have been as conservative with their forms of spinet, and are to this day with their organs. The startling "piano e forte" of 1598, brought to light from the records of the house of D'Este, by Count' Valdrighi of Modena, after much consideration and a desire to find in it an anticipation of Cristofori's subse-quent invention of the pianoforte, we are disposed to regard as an ordinary cembalo with power to shift, by a stop, from two unisons (forte) to one string (piano), at that time a Flemish practice, and most likely brought to Italy by one of the Flemish musicians who founded the Italian school of composition. About the year 1600, when accom-paniment was invented for monody, large cembalos were made for the orchestras to bring out the bass j>art—the performer standing to play. Such an instrument was called " archicembalo," a name also applied to a large cembalo, made by Vito Trasuntino, a Venetian, in 1606, intended by thirty-one keys in each of its four octaves—one hundred and twenty-five in all—to restore the three genera of the ancient Greeks. How many attempts have been made before and since Trasuntino to purify intonation in keyboard instruments by multiplying keys in the octave ? Simultaneously with Father Smith's well-known experiment in the Temple organ, London, there were divided keys in an Italian

FIG. 11.—Roman Clavicembalo, by Geronimo of Bologna, 1521; South Kensington Museum.

harpsichord to gain a sepa-rate G sharp and A flat, and a separate D sharp and E flat Double keyboards and stops in the long cembalo or harpsichord came into use in the Netherlands early in the 16th century. We find them imported into England. The following citations, quoted by Rimbault in his History of the Pianoforte, but imperfectly understood by him, are from the privy purse expenses of King Henry VIII., as extracted by Sir Harris Nicolas in 1827.

" 1530 (April). Item the vj daye paied to William Lewes for ii payer of virginalls in one coffer with iiii stoppes brought to Grenewiche iii li. And for ii payer of virginalls in one coffer brought to the More other iii li."

Now the second instrument may be explained, virginals meaning any quilled instrument, as a double spinet, like that at Nuremberg by Martin Van der Beest, the octave division being movable; but the first cannot be so explained; the four stops can only belong to a harpsichord, and the two pair instrument to a double-keyed one, one keyboard being over, and not by the side of the other. Again from the inventory after the king's death—

"Two fair pair of new long Virginalls made harp-fashion of Cipres, with keys of ivory, having the King's Arms crowned and supported by his Grace's beastes within a garter gilt, standing over the keys."

Bimbault saw in this an upright instrument, and such a one was not then impossible, Virdung's claviciterium (fig. 12) being no more than a horizontal harpsichord turned up upon its broad end, which a slight modi-fication of the action rendered facile, but if upright, the two fair pair of new long virginalls would not have been " long "-—but high. We explain " harp-fashion " according to Galilei's " arpa giacente," and are disposed to believe that we have here another double keyboard harpsi-chord. We read in an inventory of the furniture of Warwick Castle, 1584, " a faire paire of double virginalls," and in the Hengrave inventory, 1603 one great payre of double virginalls." Hans Buckers, the great clavisingel maker of Antwerp, lived then too late to have invented the double keyboard and stops, evident adaptations from the organ, but we may not withhold from him the credit of introducing the octave string, so long attributed to him, which incorporated the octave spinet with the large instrument, to be henceforth play-able without the co-operation of another performer. It had been attached to the bent or angle side of harpsi-chords, as shown in a modern instrument which forms part of the famous Plantin Museum at Antwerp, and also in one by Hans Buckers himself, dated 1594, preserved in the Kunst und Gewerbe Museum, Berlin. The double harpsi-chord by that maker at the Conservatoire, Paris, dated 1590, which is four years earlier than the above, has the octave string. From that date until the last harpsichord was made by Joseph Kirkman in 1798, scarcely an instru-ment of the kind was made, except in Italy, without the octaves. Hans Buckers had two sons, Hans the younger and Andries the elder, who followed and rivalled him in skill and reputation. Another Andries, the son of the former, appears to have done but little, at least for him-self ; but a nephew, Jan Couchet, a grandson of old Hans Buckers, continued the prestige of this distinguished family, Huygens being a witness to the rare ability of Couchet. All these men, and, in fact, all the clavisingel makers of Antwerp, belonged to the artist's guild of St Luke, the affiliation being recognized from the close alliance at that time of the arts, the painter having often as much to do with the musical instrument as the maker himself. The Buckers harpsichords in the 18th century were fetching such prices as Bologna lutes did in the 17th or Cremona violins do now. There are still many specimens existing in Belgium, France, and England. Handel had a Buckers harpsichord, which may be the one long sought for and lately discovered by Mr Julian Marshall in Windsor Castle ; it completes the number of sixty-three existing Buckers instruments catalogued in Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

After the Antwerp make declined, London became preeminent for harpsichords,—the representative makers being Jacob Kirckmann and Burckhard Tschudi, pupils of a Flemish master, one Tabel, who had settled in London, and whose business Kirckmann continued through marriage with Tabel's widow. Tschudi was of a noble Swiss family belonging to the canton of Glarus. According to the custom with foreign names obtaining at that time, by which Haendel became Handel, and Schmidt Smith, Kirckmann dropped his final n and Tschudi became Shudi, but he resumed the full spelling in the facies of the splendid harpsichords he made in 1766 for Frederick the Great, which are still preserved in the New Palace, Potsdam. By these great makers the harpsichord became a larger, heavier-strung, and more powerful instrument, and fancy stops were added to vary the tone effects. To the three shifting registers of jacks of the octave and first and second unisons were added the "lute," the charm of which was due to the favouring of high harmonics by plucking the strings close to the bridge, and the "harp," a surding or muting effect produced by impeding the vibration of the strings by contact of small pieces of buff leather. Two pedals were also used, the left-hand one a combination of a unison and lute, rendered practicable by first moving the " machine," a sixth stop, with the left hand of the player ; the right-hand pedal was to raise a hinged portion of the top or cover and thus gain some power of " swell " or cres-cendo, an invention of Boger Plenius, to whom also the harp stop may be rightly attributed. This ingenious harp-sichord maker had been stimulated to gain these effects by the nascent pianoforte which, as we shall find, he was the first to make in England. The first idea of pedals for the harpsichord to act as stops appears to have been John Hay-ward's (? Haward) as early as 1676, as we learn from Mace's Musick's Monument. The French makers preferred a kind of knee-pedal arrangement known as the " genouillère," and sometimes a more complete muting by one long strip of buff leather, the "sourdine." As an improvement upon Plenius's clumsy swell, Shudi in 1769 patented the Venetian swelL a framing of louvres, like a Venetian blind, which opened by the movement of the pedal, and, becoming in England a favourite addition to harpsichords, was early transferred to the organ, in which it replaced the rude " nag's-head " swell. A French harpsichord maker, Marius, whose name is remembered from a futile attempt to design a piano-forte action, invented a folding harpsichord, the " clavecin brisé, " by which the instrument could be disposed of in a smaller space. One, which is preserved at Berlin, probably formed part of the camp baggage of Frederick the Great.

It was formerly a custom with kings, princes, and nobles who were well-disposed towards music to keep large collections of musical instruments,—not as now for beauty of decoration, form, and colour, or historical associations, but for actual playing purposes in the domestic and festive music of their courts. There are records of their inventories, and it was to keep such a collection in playing order that Prince Ferdinand dei Medici engaged a Paduan harpsichord maker, Bartolommeo Cristofori, the man of genius who invented and produced the pianoforte. We fortunately possess the record of this invention in a literary form from a well-known writer, the Marchese Scipione Maffei ; his description appeared in the Giornale dei letterati d'ltalia, a publication conducted by Apostolo Zeno. The date of Maffei's paper was 1711. Rimbault reproduced it, with a technically imperfect translation, in his History of the Piano-forte. We learn from it that in 1709 Cristofori had completed four " gravecembali col piano e forte"'—keyed-psalteries with soft and loud—three of them being of the long or usual harpsichord form. A synonym in Italian for the original cembalo (or psaltery) is " salterio," and if it were struck with hammers it became a "salterio tedesco" (the German hackbrett, or chopping board), the latter being the common dulcimer. Now the first notion of a pianoforte is a dulcimer with keys, and we may perhaps not be wrong in supposing that there had been many attempts and failures to put a keyboard to a dulcimer or hammers to a harpsichord before Cristofori successfully solved the problem. The sketch of his action in Maffei's essay shows an incomplete stage in the invention, although the kernel of it, the principle of escapement or the controlled rebound of the hammer, is already there. He obtains it by a centred lever (linguetta mobile) or hopper, working, when the key is depressed by the touch, in a small projection from the centred hammer butt. The return, governed by a spring, must have been un-certain and incapable of further regulating than could be obtained by modifying the strength of the spring. More-over, the hammer had each time to be raised the entire distance of its fall. There are, however, two pianofortes by Cristofori in Florence, dated respectively 1720 and 1726, which show a much improved, we may even say a perfected, construction, for the whole of an essential piano movement is there. The earlier instrument has undergone some re-storation, but the 1726 one, which is in the Kraus Museum, retains the original leather hammerheads. Both instru-ments possess alike a contrivance for determining the radius of the hopper, and both have been unexpectedly found to have the "check" (Ital. paramartello) which regulates the fall of the hammer according to the strength of the blow which has impelled it to the strings. After this discovery of the actual instruments of Cristofori, there can be no longer doubt as to the attribution of the invention to him, in its initiation and its practical completion with escapement and check. To Cristofori we are indebted not only for the power of playing piano and forte, but for the infinite variations of tone, or nuances, which render the in-strument so delightful.

But his problem was not solved by the devising of a working action; there was much more to be done to instal the pianoforte as a new musical instrument. The resonance, that most subtle and yet all-embracing factor, had been experimentally developed to a certain perfection by many generations of spinet and harpsichord makers, but the resistance structure had to be thought out again. Thicker stringing, rendered indispensable to withstand even Cristofori's light hammers, demanded, in its turn, a stronger framing than the harpsichord had needed. To make his structure firm, he considerably increased the strength of the block which holds the tuning-pins, and, as he could not do so without materially adding to its thick-bold expedient of inverting it, driving his wrest-pins, harp-fashion, through it, so that tuning waJ effected at their upper, while the wires were attached to their lower ends. Then to guarantee the security of the case he ran an independent string-block round it of stouter wood than had been used in harpsichords, in which block the hitch-pins were driven to hold the farther ends of the strings, which were spaced at equal distances (unlike the harpsi-chord), the dampers lying between the pairs of unisons.
Cristofori died in 1731. He had pupils, but did not found a school of Italian pianoforte making, perhaps from the peculiar Italian con-servatism in musical instruments we have already remarked upon.

FIG. 13.—Cristofori's Escapement Action, 1720.

FIG. 14.—Cristofori's Piano e Forte, 172fi ; Kraus Museum Florence.

The essay of Scipione Maffei was translated into German in 1725, by König, the court poet at Dresden, and friend of Gottfried Silbermann, the renowned organ builder and harpsichord and clavichord maker. Incited by this publication, and perhaps by having seen in Dresden one of Cristofori's pianofortes, Silbermann appears to have taken up the new instrument, and in 1726 to have manufactured two, which J. S. Bach, according to his pupil Agricola, pronounced failures. The trebles were too weak; the touch was too heavy. There has long been another version to this story, viz., that Silbermann borrowed the idea of his action from a very simple model contrived by a young musician named Schroeter, who had left it at the electoral court in 1721, and, quitting Saxony to travel, had not afterwards claimed it. It may be so; but Schroeter's letter, printed in Mitzler's Bibliothek,' dated 1738, is not supported by any other evidence than the recent discovery of an altered German harpsichord, the hammer action of which, in its simplicity, may have been taken from Schroeter's diagram, and would sufficiently account for the condemnation of Silbermann's earliest pianofortes if he had made use of it. In either case it is easy to distinguish between the lines of Schroeter's interest-ing communications (to Mitzler and later to Marpurg) the bitter disappointment he felt in being left out of the practi-cal development of so important an instrument.

But, whatever Silbermann's first experiments were based upon, it has been made certain by the personal investigations of the present writer that he, when successful, adopted Cristofori's pianoforte without further alteration than the compass and colour of the keys, and the style of joinery of the case. In the Silbermann grand pianofortes, in the three palaces at Potsdam, known to have been Frederick the Great's, and to have been acquired by that monarch prior to J. S. Bach's visit to him in 1747, we find the Cristofori framing, stringing, inverted wrest-plank, and action complete. Fig. 15 represents the instrument on which J. S. Bach played in the Town Palace, Potsdam.

FIG. 15.—Silbercnann Forte Piano ; Stadtschloss, Potsdam, 174G. Engraved by permission of H.I.H. the Crown Princess of Prussia.

It has been repeatedly stated in Germany that Frederici of Gera in Saxony, an organ builder and musical instrument maker, invented the square or table-shaped piano, the "fort bien" as he is said to have called it, about 1758-60. No square piano by this maker is forthcoming, but M. Victor Mahillon of Brussels has acquired a Frederici " upright grand" piano, dated 1745, and contributes a diagram of the simple action (fig. 16). In Frederici's upright grand action we have not to do with the ideas of either Cristofori or Schroeter; the movement is practi-cally identical with the hammer action of a German clock, and has its counterpart in a piano at Nuremberg, a fact which needs further elucidation. We note here the earliest example of the leather hinge afterwards so com-mon in piano actions, and only now going out of use. Where are we to look for Schroeter's copyist, if not found in Silber-mann, Frederici, or, as we shall presently see, perhaps Wagner? It might be in the harpsichord we have mentioned, which, made in 1712 by one Brock for the elector of Hanover (after-wards George I. of Flo_ 16. England), was by him presented to the Brotestant pastor of Schulenberg near Hanover, and has since been rudely altered into a pianoforte (fig. 17). There is an altered harpsichord in the museum at Basel which appears to have been no more successful. But an attempted combination of harpsichord and pianoforte appears as a very early intention. The English poet Mason, the friend of Gray, bought such an do with the invention of it ) a square piano, which was to become the most popular domestic instrument. Burney tells us all about Zumpe; and his instruments, still existing, fix the date of the first at about 1765. In his simple "old man's head" action, we have the nearest approach to a realization of Schroeter's simple idea. It will be observed that Schroeter's damper would stop all vibration at once. This de-fect is overcome by Zumpe's "mopstick" damper.

Another piano action had, however, come into use about that time or even earlier in Germany. The discovery of it in the simplest form is to be attributed to M. Mahillon, who has found it in a square piano belonging to M. Henri Gosselin, painter, of Brussels. The principle of this action is that which was .later perfected by the addition of a good escapement by Stein of Augsburg, and was again later experimented upon by Sebastian Erard. Its origin is perhaps due to the contrivance of a piano action that should suit the shallow clavichord and permit of its transformation into a square piano ; a transformation, Schroeter tells us, had been going on when he wrote his complaint. It will be observed that the hammer is, as compared with other actions, reversed, and the axis

FIG. 15.—Silbercnann Forte Piano ; Stadtschioss, Potsdam, 174G. Engraved by permission of H.I.H. the Crown Princess of Prussia.

Frederici's Upright Grand Piano Action, 1745. Instrument now transferred to the museum of the Brussels Conservatoire.

FIG. 18.—Schroeter's Model for an Action, 1721

FIG. 19.—Zumpe's Square Piano Action, 1766

approbation of the invention, when he met with it at Augsburg in 1777, is expressed in a well-known letter addressed to his mother. No more "blocking" of the hammer, destroying all vibration, was henceforth to vex his mind.

FIG. 21,—Stein's Action (tfte earliest so-called Viennese), 1780.

He had found the instrument that for the rest of his short life replaced the harpsichord. M. Mahillon has secured for his museum the only Johann Andreas Stein piano which is known to remain. It is from Augsburg, dated 1780, and has Stein's escapement action, two unisons, and the knee pedal, then and later common in Germany.

Mozart's own grand piano, preserved at Salzburg, and the two grand pianos (the latest dated 1790) by Huhn of Berlin, preserved at Berlin and Charlottenburg, because they had belonged to the Prussian Queen Louise, follow Stein in all particulars. These instruments have three unisons upwards, and the muting movement known as celeste, which no doubt Stein had also. The wrest-plank is not inverted; nor is there any imitation of Cristofori. We may regard Stein, coming at'ter the Seven Years' War which had devastated Saxony, as the German reinventor of the grand piano. Stein's instrument was accepted as a model, as Ave have seen, in Berlin as well as Vienna, to which city his business was transferred in 1794 by his daughter Nanette, known as an accomplished pianist and friend of Beethoven, who at that time used Stein's pianos. She had her brother in the business with her, and had already, in 1793, married J. A. Streicher, a pianist from Stuttgart, and distinguished as a personal friend of Schiller. In 1802, the brother and sister dissolving partnership, Streicher began himself to take his full share of the work, and on Stein's lines improved the Viennese instrument, so popular for many years and famous for its' lightness of touch, which contributed to the special character of the Viennese school of pianoforte playing. The firm of Streicher still exists in Vienna; but since 1862, when Stein way's example caused a complete revolution in German and Austrian piano-making, the old wooden cheap grand piano has died out. We will quit the early German piano with an illustration (fig. 22) of an early square piano action in an instrument

== TABLE OR FORMULA ?? ==

FIG. 22.—German Square Action, 1783. Piano by Wagner, Dresden.

made by Johann Gottlob Wagner of Dresden in 1783. This interesting discovery of M. Mahillon's introduces us to a rude imitation (in the principle) of Cristofori, and it appears to have no relation whatever to the clock hammer notion seen in Frederici's.





Burney, who lived through the period of the displacement of the harpsichord by the pianoforte, is the only authority we can refer to as to the introduction of the latter instrument into England. He tells us, in his gossiping way, that the first hammer harpsichord that came to England was made by an English monk at Rome, a Father Wood, for an English gentleman, Samuel Crisp of Chesington; the tone of this instrument was superior to that produced by quills, with the added power of the shades of piano and forte, so that, although the touch and mechanism were so imperfect that nothing quick could be executed upon it, yet in a slow movement like the Dead March in Saul it excited wonder and delight. Fulke Greville afterwards bought this instrument for 100 guineas, and it remained unique in England for several years, until Plenius, the inventor of the lyrichord, made a pianoforte in imitation of it. In this instrument the touch was better, but the tone was inferior. We have no date for Father Wood. Plenius produced his lyrichord, a sostinente harpsichord, in 1745. When Mason imported a pianoforte in 1755, Fulke Greville's could have beet no longer unique. The Italian origin of Father Wood's piano points to a copy of Cristofori, but the description of its capabilities in no way supports this supposition, unless we adopt the very possible theory that the instrument had arrived out of order and there was no one in London who could put it right, or would perhaps divine that it was wrong. Burney further tells us that the arrival in London of J. C. Bach in 1759 was the motive for several of the second-rate harpsichord makers trying to make pianofortes, but with no particular success. Of these Americus Backers, said to be a Dutchman, appears to have gained the first place. He was afterwards the inventor of the so-called English action, and, as this action is based upon Cristo-fori's, we may suppose he at first followed Silbermann in copying the original inventor. There is an old play-bill of Covent Garden in Messrs Broadwood's possession, dated the 16th May 1767, which has the following announce-ment :—

" End of Act 1. Miss BBICKLEE will sing a favourite song from JUDITH, accompanied by Mr DIBDIN, on a new instrument call'd PIANO FORTE.

The mind at once reverts to Backers as the probable maker of this novelty. Be that as it may, between 1772 and 1776, the year of his death, he produced the action continued in the direct principle to this day by the firm of Broadwood, or with a reversed lever and hammer-butt introduced by the firm of Collard in 1835.

FIG. 23.—Grand Piano Action, 1776. The " English " action of Americus Backers.

FIG. 24.—Broadwood's Grand Piano Action, 1884. English direct mechanism.

FIG. 25.—Collard's Grand Piano Action, 1884. English action, with reversed hopper and contrivance for repetition added.

The escapement lever is suggested by Cristofori's first action, to which Backers has added a contrivance for regulating it by means of a button and screw. The check is from Cristofori's second action. No more durable action has been constructed, and it has always been found equal, whether made in England or abroad, to the demands of the most advanced virtuosi. John Broadwood and Bobert Stodart were friends, Stodart having been Broadwood's pupil; and they were the assistants of Backers in the installation of his invention. On his death-bed he commended it to Broadwood's care, but Stodart appears to have been the first to advance it,—Broadwood being probably held back by his partnership with his brother-in-law, the son of Shudi, in the harpsichord business. (The elder Shudi had died in 1773.) Stodart soon made a con-siderable reputation with his " grand " pianofortes, a designation he was the first to give them. In Stodart's grand piano we first find an adaptation from the lyrichord of Plenius, of steel arches between the wrest-plank and bellyrail, bridging the gap up which the hammers rise, in itself an important cause of weakness. These are not found in any contemporary German instruments, but may have been part of Backers's. Imitation of the harpsichord by "octaving" was at this time an object with piano makers. Zumpe's small square piano had met with great success ; he was soon enabled to retire, and his imitators, who were legion, continued his model with its hand stops for the dampers and sourdine, with little change but that which straightened the keys from the divergences inherited from the clavichord. John Broadwood took this domestic instrument first in hand to improve it, and in the year 1780 succeeded in entirely reconstructing it. He transferred the wrest-plank and pins from the right-hand side, as in the clavichord, to the back of the case, an improvement universally adopted after his patent, taken out in 1783, expired. In this patent we first find the damper and piano pedals, since universally accepted, but at first in the grand pianofortes only. Zumpe's action remaining with an altered damper, another inventor, John Geib, about this time patented the hopper with two separate escape-ments, one of which soon became adopted in the grass-hopper of the square piano, it is believed by Geib him-self ; and Petzold, a Paris maker, appears to have taken later to the escapement effected upon the key. We may mention here that the square piano was developed and continued in England until about the year 1860, when it went out of fashion.

To return to John Broadwood,—having launched his reconstructed square piano, he next turned his attention to the grand piano to continue the improvement of it from the point where Backers had left it. The grand piano was in framing and resonance entirely on the harpsichord principle, the sound-board bridge being still continued in one undivided length. The strings, which were of brass wire in the bass, descended in notes of three unisons to the lowest note of the scale. Tension was left to chance, and a reasonable striking line or place for the hammers was not thought of. Theory requires that the notes of octaves should be multiples in the ratio of 1 to 2, by which, taking the treble clef C at one foot, the lowest F of the five-octave scale would require a vibrating length between the bridges of 12 feet. As only half this length could be conveniently afforded, we see at once a reason for the above-mentioned deficiencies. Only the three octaves of the treble, which had lengths practically ideal, could be tolerably adjusted. Then the striking-line, which should be at an eighth or not less than a ninth or tenth of the vibrating length, and had never been cared for in the harpsichord, was in the lowest two octaves out of all proportion, with corresponding dis-advantage to the tone. John Broadwood did not venture alone upon the path towards rectifying these faults. He called in the aid of professed men of science—Cavallo, who in 1788 published his calculations of the tension, and Dr Gray, of the British Museum. The problem was solved by dividing the sound-board bridge, the lower half of which was advanced to carry the bass strings, which were still of brass. The first attempts to equalize the tension and improve the striking-place were here set forth, to the great advantage of the instrument, which in its wooden construc-tion might now be considered complete. The greatest pianists of that epoch, except Mozart and Beethoven, were assembled in London,—Clementi, who first gave the pianoforte its own character, raising it from being a mere variety of the harpsichord, his pupils Cramer and for a time Hummel, later on John Field, and also the brilliant virtuosi Dussek and Steibelt. To please Dussek, Broad-wood in 1791 carried his five-octave, F to F, keyboard, by adding keys upwards, to five and a half octaves, F to C. In 1794 the additional bass half octave to C, which Shudi had first introduced in his double harpsichords, was given to the piano. Steibelt, while in England, instituted the familiar signs for the employment of the pedals, which owes its charm to excitement of the imagination instigated by power over an acoustical phenomenon, the sympathetic vibration of the strings. In 1799 Clementi founded a pianoforte manufactory, to be subsequently developed and carried on by Messrs Collard.

have at first adopted for his pianos the English models. However, in 1794 and 1801, as is shown by his patents,

The first square pian» made in France is said to have been constructed in 1776 by Sebastian Erard, a young Alsatian. In

FIG. 26.—Erard's Double Escapement Action, 1884. The double escapement or repetition is effected by a spring in the balance pressing the hinged lever upwards, to allow the hopper which delivers the blow to return to its position under the nose of the hammer, before the key has risen again.

have at first adopted for his pianos the English models. However, in 1794 and 1801, as is shown by his patents,

The first square pian» made in France is said to have been constructed in 1776 by Sebastian Erard, a young Alsatian. In 1786 he came to England, and founded the London manufactory of harps and pianofortes bearing his name. That eminent mechanician and inventor is said to

he was certainly engaged upon the elementary action described as appertaining to M. Gosselin's piano, of probably German origin. In his long-continued labour of inventing and constructing a double escapement action, Erard appears to have sought to combine the English power of gradation of tone with the German lightness of touch. He took out his first patent for a " repetition " action in 1808, claiming for it " the power of giving repeated strokes without missing or failure, by very small angular motions of the key itself." He did not, however, succeed in producing his famous repetition, or double escapement action until 1821; it was then patented by his nephew Pierre Erard, who, when the patent expired in England in 1835, proved a loss from the difficulties of carrying out the invention, which induced the House of Lords to grant an extension of the patent.

FIG. 27.—Steinway's Grand Piano Action, 1884. The double escapement as in Erard's, but with shortened balance and usual check.

Although some great pianists have been opposed to double escapement, notably Kalkbrenner, Chopin, and Dr Hans von Billow, Erard's action, in its complete or a shortened form as introduced by Herz, is now more extensively used than at any former period. Erard invented in 1808 an upward bearing to the wrest-plank bridge, by means of agraffes or studs of metal through holes in which the strings are made to pass, bearing against the upper side. The wooden bridge with down-bearing strings is clearly not in relation with upward-striking hammers, the tendency of which must be to raise the strings from the bridge, to the detriment of the tone. A long brass bridge on this principle was. introduced by William Stodart in 1822. A pressure-bar bearing of later introduction is claimed for the French maker, M. Bord, and is very fre-quently employed, by German makers especially. The first to see the importance of iron sharing with wood (ultimately almost supplanting it) in pianoforte framing was a native of England and a civil engineer by profession, John Isaac Hawkins, who has been best known as the inventor of the ever-pointed pencil. He was living at Philadelphia, U.S., when he invented and first produced the familiar cottage pianoforte—" portable grand " as he then called it. He patented it in America, his father, Isaac Hawkins, taking out the patent for him in England in the same year, 1800. It will be observed that the illustration here given (fig. 28) represents a wreck; but a draughtsman's restora-tion might be open to question.

There had been upright grand pianos as well as upright harpsichords, the horizontal instrument being turned up upon its wider end and a keyboard and action adapted to it. William Southwell, an Irish pianomaker, had, in 1798, tried a similar experiment with a square piano, to be repeated in later years by W. F. Collard of London; but Hawkins was the first to make a piano, or pianino, with the strings descending to the floor, the keyboard being raised, and this, although at the moment the chief, was not his only merit. He anticipated nearly «very discovery that has since been introduced as novel. His instrument is in a complete iron frame, independent

FIG. 28.—Hawkins's Portable Grand Piano, 1800. An upright instrument, the original of the modern cottage piano or pianino. In Messrs Broadwood's museum and unrestored.

tuning by mechanical screws regulates the tension of the strings, which are of equal length throughout. The action, in metal supports, anticipates Wornum's in the checking, and still later ideas in a contrivance for repetition. This remarkable bundle of inventions was brought to London and exhibited by Hawkins himself, but the instrument being poor in the tone failed to bring him pecuniary reward or the credit he deserved. Southwell appears to have been one of the first to profit by Hawkins's ideas by bringing out the high cabinet pianoforte, with hinged sticker action, in 1807. All that he could, how-ever,

of the case; and in this frame, strengthened by a system of iron resistance rods combined with an iron upper bridge, his sound-board is entirely suspended. An apparatus for

patent in it was the simple damper action, turning on a pivot to relieve the dampers from the strings, which is still frequently used with such actions. The next steps for producing the lower or cot-tage upright piano were taken by Bobert Wornum, who in 1811 produced a dia-gonally and in 1813 a vertically strung one. Wornum's perfected crank action was not complete until 1826, when it was patented for a cabinet piano; but it was not really introduced until three years later, when Wornum applied it to his little "piccolo." The principle of this centred lever check action was introduced into Paris by Pleyel and Pape, and thence has gone to Germany and America. In Eng-land it has now nearly superseded the once favourite leather-hinged action.

FIG. 29. —Wornum's Upright Action, 1826. The original of the now universal crank action in upright pianos.

It was not, however, from Hawkins's invention that iron be- | came introduced as essential to the * structure of a pianoforte. This was due to William Allen, a young Scotsman in the employ of the Stodarts. He devised a metal system of framing intended primarily for compensation, but soon to become, in other hands, a framing for resistance. His idea was to meet the divergence in tuning caused in brass and iron strings by atmospheric changes by compensating tubes and plates of the same metals, guaranteeing their stability by a cross batoning of stout wooden bars and a metal bar across the wrest-plank. Allen, being simply a tuner, had not the full practical knowledge for carrying out the idea. He had to ally himself with Stodarts' foreman, Thorn; and Allen and Thorn patented the invention in January 1820. The firm of Stodart at once acquired the patent. We have now arrived at an important epoch in pianoforte construction,— the abolition, at least in England and France, of the wooden construction in favour of a combined construction of iron and wood, the former material gradually asserting preeminence. Allen's design is shown in fig. 30. The long bars shown in the dia-gram are really tubes fixed at one end only; those of iron lie over the iron or steel wire, while those of brass lie over the brass wire, the metal plates to which they are attached being in the same correspondence. At once a great advance was made in the possibility of using heavier strings than could be stretched before, without danger to the durability of the case and frame. The next step was in 1821 to a fixed iron string-plate, the invention of one of Broad-woods' workmen, Samuel Serve, which was in the first instance applied to one of the square pianos of that firm. The great advantage in the fixed plate was a more even solid counterpoise to the drawing or tension of the strings and the abolition of their undue length behind the bridge, a reduction which Isaac Carter had tried some years before, but unsuccessfully, to accomplish with a plate of wood. So generally was attention now given to improved methods of resistance that it has not been found possible to determine who first practically introduced those long iron or steel resistance bars which are so familiar a feature in modern grand pianos. They were experimented on as substitutes for the wooden bracing by Joseph Smith in 1798; but to James Broadwood belongs the credit of trying them first above the sound-board in the treble part of the scale as long ago as 1808, and again in 1818; he did not succeed, however, in fixing them properly. The introduction of fixed resist-ance bars is really due to observation of Allen's compen-sating tubes, which were, at the same time, resisting. Sebastian and Pierre Erard seem to have been first in the field in 1823 with a complete system of nine resistance bars from treble to bass, with a simple mode of fastening them through the sound-board to the wooden beams beneath, but, although these bars appear in their patent of 1824, which chiefly concerned their repetition action, the Erards did not either in France or England claim them as of original invention, nor is there any string-plate combined with them in their patent. James Broadwood, by his patent of 1827, claimed the combination of string-plate and resistance bars, which was clearly the completion of the wood and metal instrument, differing from Allen's in the nature of the resistance being fixed. Broadwood, however, left the bass bars out, but added a fourth bar in the middle to the three in the treble he had previously used. It must be borne in mind that it was the trebles that gave way in the old wooden construction before the tenor and bass of the instrument. But the weight of the stringing was always increasing, and a heavy close overspinning of the bass strings had become general. The resistance bars were increased to five, six, seven, eight, and, as we have seen, even nine,

according to the ideas of the different English and French makers who used them in their pursuit of stability.

renunciation of ordinary resistance Great Exhibition of 1851 he has employed an ordinary straight bar in the middle of his concert grand scale, his smaller grands having frequently two such as well as the long bass bar. From 1862 he has covered his wrest-plank with a thick plate of iron into

The next important addition to the grand piano in order of time was the harmonic bar of Pieire Erard, introduced in 1838. This was a gun-metal bar of alter-nate pressing and drawing power by means of screws which were tapped into the wrest-plank immediately above the treble bearings; making that part of the instrument nearly immovable, this favoured the production of higher harmonics to the treble notes, recognized in what we com-monly call "ring." A similar bar, subsequently extended by Broadwood across the entire wrest-plank, was to prevent any tendency in the wrest-plank to rise, from the combined upward drawing of the strings. A method of fastening the strings on the string-plate depending upon friction, and thus dispensing with "eyes," was a contribution of the Collards, who had retained James Stewart, who had been in America with Chickering, and was a man of considerable inventive power. This invention was intro-duced in 1827. Between 1847 and 1849 Mr Henry Fowler Broadwood, son of James, and grandson of John Broadwood, and also great grandson of Shudi (Tschudi), in-vented a grand piano-forte to depend practically upon iron, in which, to avoid the conspicuous inequali-ties caused by the breaking of the scale with resistance bars, there should be no bar parallel to the strings except a bass bar, while another flanged resistance bar, as an entirely novel feature, crossed over the strings from the bass corner of the wrest-plank to a point upon the string-plate where the greatest accumu-lation of tension strain was found. Mr Broadwood has not continued, with-out some compro-mise, this extreme means.

FIG. 31.—Broadwood's Iron Grand Piano, 1884. Complete iron frame with diagonal resistance bar.

which the tuning pins screw as well as into the wood beneath, thus avoiding the crushing of the wood by the constant pressure of the pin across the pull of the string, an ultimate source of danger to durability.

The introduction of iron into pianoforte structure has been differently and independently effected in America, the fundamental idea there being a single casting for the metal plate and bars, instead of forging or casting them in separate pieces. Alphseus Babcock was the pioneer to this kind of metal construction. He also was bitten with the compensation notion, -and had cast an iron ring for a square piano in 1825, which is not said to have succeeded, but gave the clew to a single casting resistance framing, which was suc-cessfully accomplished by Conrad Meyer, in Philadelphia, in 1833, in a square piano which still exists, and was shown in the Paris Exhibition of 1878. Meyer's idea was taken up and improved upon by Jonas Chickering of Boston, who applied it to the grand piano as well as to the square, and brought the principle up to a high degree of perfection,—establish-ing by it the independent construction of the American pianoforte.

We have now to do with over- or cross-stringing, by which the bass division of the strings is made to cross over the tenor part of the scale in a single, double, or treble disposi-tion at diverging angles,—the object being in the first instance to get longer bass strings than are attainable in a parallel scale, and in the next to open out the scale and extend the area of bridge pressure on the sound-board. In the 18th century clavi-chords were sometimes overstrung in

the lowest OCtave to get a clearer FIG. 32. — Meyer's Metal
tone in that very indistinct part frame for a Square Piano,
..... , J, , . , f 1833. In a single casting.

of the instrument (strings tuned an octave higher being employed). The first suggestion for the overstringing in the piano was made by the cele-brated flute-player and inventor Theobald Boehm, who carried it beyond theory in London, in 1831, by employing a small firm located in Cheapside, Gerock & Wolf, to make some overstrung pianos for him. Boehm expected to gain in tone; Pape, an ingenious mechanician in Paris, tried a like experiment to gain economy in dimensions, his notion being to supply the best piano possible with the least outlay of means. Tomkinson in London continued Pape's model, but neither Boehm's nor Pape's took perma-nent root. The Great Exhibition of 1851 contained a grand piano, made by Lichtenthal of St Petersburg, overstrung in order to gain symmetry by two angle sides to the case. It was regarded as a curiosity only. A few years later, in 1855, Henry Engelhard Steinway (originally Steinweg), who had emigrated from

FIG. 33.—Steinway's Grand Piano, 1884. Metal framing in a single casting and overstrung.

Brunswick to New York in 1849, and had established the firm of Steinway & Sons in 1853 in that city, effected the combination of an overstrung scale with the American iron frame, which, exhibited in grand and square instruments shown in London in the International Exhibition of 1862, excited the attention of European pianoforte makers, leading ultimately to import-ant results. The Chickering firm claim to have antici-pated the Steinways in this invention. They assert that Jonas Chickering had begun a square piano on this com-bined system in 1853, but, he dying before it was completed, it was brought out later. It is often difficult to adjudicate upon the claims of inventors, so rarely is an invention the product of one man's mind alone. However, the principle has been taken up and generally adopted in America and Germany, and has found followers elsewhere, not only in grand but in upright pianos, to the manufacture of which it has given, and particularly in Germany, a powerful impetus. But, in spite of this general recognition, the overstringing, as at present effected, is attended with grave disadvantages, in disturbing the balance of tone by in-troducing thick, heavy basses, which, like the modern pedal organs, bear no just relation to that part of the keyboard where the part-writing lies. The great increase also of tension which is held up
as a gam, acts pre-judicially iupon the durability of the instrument, as no artificial screw-ing up of the sound-board can always preserve the elasticity of the fibres of the fir tree (Abies excelsa in Europe, Abies alba in America) of which it is made. The re-markable improve-ments in the draw-ing of the cast steel wire pro-duced in Birming-ham, Vienna, and Nuremberg (this last initiated by Boehm) have ren-dered very high tensions practic-able. We believe they have been overstated in figures ; it is certain, however, that Broadwood's seven-octave concert grands have a tension of not less than sixteen tons when at the English orchestral pitch,—the notes of the ideal lengths each drawing 450 lb. We have no such accurate statement to offer of the American and German concert grands, but we regard Steinway's as of not less than twenty-two tons tension.

Whatever of importance has been introduced in the structure of the pianoforte we believe we have attributed to its legitimate inventor or to the manufacturer who has placed it in the light of day. It would be impossible within reasonable limits to chronicle the variations which have taken place in the barrings of sound-boards on which their resonant structure .depends, the disposition of wooden beams or metal bars, the adaptation of mechanical action, or any of those countless modifications upon which finally depends the individual character of an instrument worthy to be presented and upheld as a work of art. There are many names of first-rate pianoforte makers whose place has not been in this record, simply because they have not ranked with the initiators or perfecters of inventions that have been accepted as of paramount importance.

The earliest keyboard instrument makers were to be found in monasteries or collegiate foundations, and such lay help as may have been employed was at best of the roughest kind. In the next epoch the artists' guilds in cities absorbed lay musical instrument makers, notably on account of the then universal practice of making such instruments beautiful; and, indeed, we are indebted to this for the preservation of many spinets and harpsichords in museums and private collections. The full members of the craft-guilds were all masters who had terminated their apprenticeships by producing complete instruments as "master-pieces," made according to the rules and to the satisfaction of the wardens or deacons of the guilds. A trial of this kind lasted long in many crafts—for instance, in the case of Scottish cabinetmakers' inden-tures, an apprentice's freedom was only gained after the test produc-tion of an essay " piece of work, duly authenticated and admitted. Spinets and harpsichords were bound to bear the inscription of the maker's name, or to show his trade mark as a guarantee for honest workmanship. The master's sons and apprentices were, in the master's workshops, probationers of the guild and protected by it. Even in the 17th century we hear little about journeymen, who, as the name implies, would be paid by the day. But the extension of musical instrument workshops about the beginning of the 18th century was one of the signs of the weakened power of the guilds—particularly in Great Britain. In France it needed the Revolution to entirely abolish them.

Throughout the 18th century journeywork and apprenticeship were general. Wages, compared with the cost of living, were meagre, and the day's work, not unfrequently extended by overtime, was a long one. The result was a slow production. The English cabinet-makers, however, owing to disputes which at last called for judicial interference, in the year 1788 brought out their book of prices which was the foundation of the present piece-work system. Piano-forte makers in course of time adopted this new departure with the result of quicker work and higher wages, benefiting alike the master ;ind man. The next industrial revolution was inaugurated some-where about 1815, by the introduction of machinery to save manual labour, the division of which had already been instituted, and by the use of steam. Machinery has, as yet, been extended to its furthest limit in America, where labour-saving is relied upon as a powerful ally against strikes, which are more frequently victorious in the New than in the Old World. Simultaneously a dislike has arisen to apprenticeships; and even in Germany, the traditional land of the apprentice, this mode of acquirement has weakened.

Turning to the commercial importance of the pianoforte, we find that we have to face great difficulties in order to obtain anything like trustworthy information. It is true official blue-books give yearly statements of exports and imports, but as they do not separate the pianoforte from other musical instruments an analysis is impossible. Personal inquiry again among pianoforte makers brings but scattered information, partly from the natural inclination to enhance business returns, and partly from an equally natural disinclination to impart that which, if spoken of at all, should be confidential. From this dilemma we fall back upon gleanings of intelligence either of our own gathering or as afforded by the leading pianoforte trade organs in England and Germany—the London Music Trades Review and the Leipsic Zeitschrift fur Instrumentenbau.

The chief centres of the pianoforte trade are London, Paris, Berlin, Leipsic, Dresden, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Vienna, St Petersburg, Brussels, New York, Boston, and Baltimore. The greatest centralizations are found in London and Paris,—very few pianofortes being made in the United Kingdom or France, excepting perhaps at Marseilles, out of those cities. But in Germany and the United States there are pianoforte makers in many towns besides those we have named. Pianofortes are made in Italy at Turin, Milan, Flo-rence, Naples, and Palermo, and in Spain at Barcelona (principally), Madrid, and Saragossa. The large export trade belonged formerly to England and France, but it has been weakened of late years by the commercial activity of the Germans, who have besides copied success-fully and with the advantage of much lower wages recent American models. German pianofortes are now much found in Great Britain, where free trade has favoured their introduction, and in the Australian colonies ; they have also outrivalled the French in Holland; but we believe France still keeps the trade of southern Europe, as the United States mainly supply Canada. English exports of good makers will be found all over the world ; but some important markets have been lost through the inferior instruments consigned or sold because they were cheap, and were supposed to be good enough.

The United States and Germany appear to employ the greatest number of workmen in the pianoforte handicraft, Germany pro-ducing the largest numbers of instruments. In adopting, how-ever, the statistics given, we must not forget to take into account that custom of advertising which leavens nearly every statement. There are said to be upwards of 8000 workmen employed in piano-making in America. The Messrs Steinway claim for America an annual production of 25,000 pianofortes of all kinds, and it may be more. We hardly feel disposed to allow Germany 73,000, with a less number of workmen, viz., 7834; but such is the statement put forward by a semi-official source, the Deutsche Oonsulats-Zeitung. It must be borne in mind that machinery adds its power indefinitely to the number of men employed, but this occurs more in America than in Germany. A recent strike in Paris represented the pianoforte trade society as consisting of 5000 members ; and we may safely credit that city with a production of 20,000 instruments yearly. The number made in London annually may be taken as reaching at least 35,000 ; it is probably larger..

Bibliography.—Á. Schlick, Spiegel der Orgelmacher, Mainz ?, 1511. Berlin repr., 1869 ; S. Virdung, Música getuscht und auszgezogen, Basel, 1511, reprinted in facsimile, Berlin, 1882; M. Agrícola, Música Instrumentalis, Wittemberg, 1529; O. Luscinius, Musurgia sive Praxis Musiese, Strasburg, 1536 ; M. Prœtorius,; Syntagma Musicum, vol. i., Wittemberg. 1615, vols. ii. and iii. in German. Wolfenbüttel, 1619 ; M. Mersenne, Harmonicorum (Paris, 1635), and Harmonie Universelle (París, 1636); C. Huygens, Correspondance. Jonkbloet et Land, Levden, 1882 ; T. Mace, Mustek's Monument, London, 1676 ; J. S. Bach, Das Wohltemperirte Clavier, Coethen, 1722 ; C. P. E. Bach, Versuch über die wahre Art das
Clavier zu spielen, Berlin, 1763; J. Adlung, Música Mechanica Organcedi, Berlin, 1768; C.Bumey, The Present Slate of Music in France and Italy (London, 1771), and The Present State of Music in Germany, the Netherlands, etc. (London, 1772); W. A. Mozart, Briefe, Leipsic, 1878; D. Steibelt, Three Sonatas, Op. 35, preface (London, 1799), and Méthode de Piano Forte (Paris, 1805) ; F. J. Fétis. " Esquisse de l'Histoire du Piano," in the Revue et Gazette Musicale (Paris, 1830), partly translated in the Harmonicon (London, 1830-31), " Exposition Universelle de Londres," in Gazette Musicale (Paris, Í851), Exposition Universelle de Paris, Rapport du Jury (Paris, 1855), " Exposition Internationale de Londres" in Gazette Musicale (Paris, 1862), and Exposition Universelle de Paris, Rapport du Jury (Paris, 1867) ; J. S. Bioadwood, Some Notes made in 1838, with observations and elucidations by H. F. Broadwood, London, 1862; Kuetzing, Das Wissenschaftliche der Fortepiano Baukunst, Bern, 1844 ; S. and P. Erard, London Exhibition, London, 1851 ; W. Pole, " Musical Instruments of the Great Exhibition," from Newton's Patent Journal (London, 1851), and in Jurors' Reports, International Exhibition (London, 1862); J. Fischhoff, Versuch einer Geschichte des Ciavierbaues, Vienna, 1S53 ; Anonymous, Notes sur les Travaux de MM. Erard, Paris, 1855 ; C. A. André, Der Ciavierbau, Offenbach, 1855; H. Welcker von Gontershausen, Der Flügel oder die Beschaffenheit des Pianos in allen Formen (Frankfort, 1856), and Der Ciavierbau in seiner Theorie, Technik, und Geschichte (Frankfort, 1870); E. F. Kimbault, The Pianoforle, London, 1860; J. Broadwood and Sons, International Exhibition, London, 1862 ; L. de Burburc, Recherches sur les Facteurs de Clavecins d'Anvers, Brussels, 1863 ; A. W. Ambros, Geschichte der Musik, vol. ii., Breslau, 1864 ; O. Paul, Geschichte des Claviers (Leipsic, 1868), and Amtliche Bericht über die Wiener Ausstellung im Jahre 1873 (Brunswick, 1874); G-. F. Sievers, II Pianoforte Guida Pratica, Naples, 1868; Patents: Abridgments of Specifications relating to Musical Instruments, London, 1871 ; P. Iiombouts and T. Van Lerius, De Liggeren der Antwerpsche Sint Lucasgilde, vol. i., Antwerp,
1872, and vol. ii., The Hague; J. Bluethner and II. Gretschel, Lehrbuch des Pianofortebaues, Leipsic, 1872 ; C. Engel, Musical Instruments in the South Kensington Museum (London, 1874), and " Some Account of the Clavichord," in Musical Times (London, July, Aug., Sep., 1879); E. Vander Straeten, La Musique aux Pays Bas, vol. iii., Brussels, 1S75; Chickering & Sons, The Pianoforte, Boston, 1874; C. Chouquet, Le Musée du Conservatoire National de Musique (Paris, 1875), and Exposition Universelle et Internationale de Paris, Rapport du Jury (Paris, 1880); L. Puliti, Delia Origine di Pianoforte, Florence, 1876; C. Meyer & Son, On the Full Iron Plate Frame for Pianos, Philadelphia, 1876; C. Ponsicchi, II Pianoforte, sua origine e sviluppo, Florence, 1876; Bosanquet, Elementary Treatise on Musical Intervals, London, 1876 ; A. Kraus, Catalogue des Instruments de Musique du Musée Kraus, Florence, 1878; V. Mahillon, Annuaires du Conservatoire Royale de Musique de Bruxelles (Brussels, 1877 to 1883), and Catalogue descriptif et analytique du Musée Instrumental du Conservatoire Royal de Musique de Bruxelles (Ghent, 1880-81); L. F. Valdrighi, Musurgiana,
Modena, 1879; E. Brinsmead, History of the Pianoforte, London, 1879 ; S. Blondel, Histoire Anecdotique du Piano, Paris, 1880; A. Reissmann, Illustrirte Geschichte der Deutschen Musik, Leipsic, 1880-81 ; A. J. Ellis, " History of Musical Pitch," with appendices in Journal of the Society of Arts, London, 1880; A. J. Hipkins, various articles in Sir George Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, " History of the Pianoforte," with appendix, in Journal of the Society of Arts (London, 1883), and " The Pianoforte and its Precursors," in the English Illustrated Magazine (London, 1884). (A. J. H.)



Footnotes

Mr A. J. Ellis (History of Musical Pitch, p. 318) sees the B in Mersenne's outline diagram.

Mason really invented the "celestina," as we know from the correspondence of Mary Granville. Under date of the 11th January 1775 she describes this invention or improvement of the poet as a short harpsichord in form, 2 feet long, but played with the right hand only. The left hand controlled a kind of violin-bow, which produced a charming sostinente, in character of tone between the violin tone and that of musical glasses. Mason played upon it with great ex-pression.

Rees's New Cyclopaedia article " Harpsichord."

Sometime foreman to the pianoforte maker Mott, who attracted much attention by a piano with sostenente effect, produced by a roller and silk attachments in 1817. But a sostenente piano, how-ever perfect, is no longer a true piano such as Beethoven and Chopin wrote for.



The above article was written by: A. J. Hipkins.



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