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Music Keyboard Instruments
by
Arthur Lawrence

Introduction

Keyboard instruments comprise chordophones (clavichords, harpsichords, pianos, virginals, hurdy gurdies), aerophones (harmoniums, pipe organs, accordians), idiophones (carillions, celestas), electrophones (electronic organs, synthesizers), and hybrids. Until the 20th century, the terms “pianoforte” and “fortepiano” were used interchangeably; the former was then abbreviated to “piano,” leaving the latter as the designation for historically oriented instruments. Virginals are generally considered the English and Flemish equivalents of small harpsichords, albeit possessing a slightly different plucking mechanism. From the standpoint of construction and operation, keyboard instruments may have struck strings (clavichords, pianos), plucked strings (harpsichords), struck bells (carillions, played by very large keyboards), or they may be wind-blown (harmoniums, pipe organs) or have electronically produced sounds. Each instrument represents a family of related ones. Carillons, and to a much lesser extent celestas and hurdy gurdies, have an independent literature that is not discussed in this article.

General Overviews

Although much material is available on the music for keyboard instruments, music encyclopedias have not been generous in treating “keyboard instruments,” instead discussing them as individual instruments: “piano,” “organ,” “harpsichord,” etc., as they are here. Bush and Kassel 2006, Kipnis 2007, and Palmieri and Palmieri 2003 together constitute the Encyclopedia of Keyboard Instruments. Each encyclopedia is devoted to an instrument—organ, harpsichord/clavichord, piano, the first such encyclopedia in English. Dearling 1996 provides an overview of all musical instruments. Ripin 1988 treats all aspects of the piano.

Journals

There are many journals that are devoted to aspects of keyboard instruments. Some, such as The American Organist, The Diapason, and The Tracker combine news with serious articles about the instruments. Almost all are devoted to both the instruments and their music. Early Keyboard Journal is not primarily concerned with the organ, while the opposite is true of the ISO Journal, The Organ Yearbook, L’Orgue, and L’Organo. Many journals devoted to musical instruments include only material on specific families of instruments. The Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society covers all kinds, including keyboard instruments.

Piano

The piano is mentioned in many musical journals, ranging from serious academic journals to those that treat piano in a pop-culture context, and from those that assume technical ability to those that espouse self-instruction. Keyboard and Piano & Keyboard both deal with the piano as a serious instrument.

Organ

Many journals deal with the history, construction, and playing of the pipe organ as a serious instrument. The American Organist, The Diapason, and The Tracker all are or have been the journals of American associations of organists, while the ISO Journal represents an international group of organ builders. L’Organo and L’Orgue are primarily devoted to Italian and French organs, respectively, and The Organ Yearbook contains scholarly material.

  • The American Organist.

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    A monthly, begun in 1967 as Music Magazine. The official journal of the American Guild of Organists, it contains news of the organ world, organ builders, and occasionally harpsichords. After a previous journal of the same name closed c.1971, the current title was assumed in 1979.

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  • The Diapason.

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    A monthly, begun in 1909. From 1935 to 1967 it was the official journal of the American Guild of Organists. It chronicles American church music in general. It has also included serious articles about organs and sometimes harpsichords.

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  • ISO Journal.

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    Published three times annually since 1957, it is the official journal of the International Society of Organbuilders and is concerned primarily with organs and organ builders. The contents appear trilingually, in German, English, and French.

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  • L’Organo, revista di cultura organaria e organistica.

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    An annual begun in 1960, published semiannually until 1980 when it began publishing annually. It published an index for 1960 to 1996. Its primary focus is the organ as an instrument. In Italian.

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  • L’Orgue.

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    A quarterly begun in 1928 emphasizing French organs and related subjects. From 1969 to 1997 it published a separate series, Cahiers et mémoires, which are usually short monographs on specific composers, instruments, and organists. In French.

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  • The Organ Yearbook.

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    Begun in 1970 by Peter Williams, a British scholar of historic organs and the music of J. S. Bach. It reflects the founding editor’s interests, with scholarly articles and reviews about the organ, particularly before 1800.

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  • The Tracker.

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    A quarterly, begun in 1956. The journal of the Organ Historical Society, it deals primarily with American organs and their builders. The term “tracker” refers to the mechanical key action used in most organs until the 20th century.

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Harpsichord and Clavichord

Journals treating early stringed keyboard instruments often contain material on a combination of those instruments: clavichord, fortepiano, and harpsichord. Clavichord International is devoted to the clavichord, whereas Early Keyboard Journal and The Harpsichord and Fortepiano Magazine concentrate on the harpsichord and the fortepiano.

Electronic Keyboard Instruments

Material on electronic keyboard instruments tends to be divided between that on synthesizers and that on imitation organs. Keyboard Review covers both.

Museum Collections

Catalogs of museum collections provide rich visual and descriptive materials. Smithsonian Institution Division of Musical Instruments 1967, Libin 1989, and Koster 1994 cover three of the most important American museums, while Friends of St. Cecilia’s Hall Edinburgh 1981, Schott 1985, and Lucktenberg and Kottick 1997 treat significant European museums. Franken and Ivry 1997 details a private collection.

  • Franken, Owen, and Benjamin Ivry. “French Suite: Gavotte Through a Parisian’s Peerless Collection of Antique Keyboard Instruments.” Art & Antiques 19 (October 1997): 51–55.

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    Describes the collection of keyboard instruments owned by Yannick Guillou, including harpsichords from 1681 and 1774, a 1641 Flemish virginal, and a 1715 spinet.

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  • Friends of St. Cecilia’s Hall Edinburgh. A Brief Guide to the Russell Collection of Harpsichords and Clavichords in St. Cecilia’s Hall, Department of Early Keyboard Instruments, Faculty of Music, University of Edinburgh. Edinburgh: Friends of St. Cecilia’s Hall Edinburgh, 1981.

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    Treats a collection of instruments dating from 1585 to 1896.

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  • Koster, John. Keyboard Musical Instruments in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1994.

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    Presents fifty-four clavichords, harpsichords, a melodeon, organs, pianos of all sorts, and a regal from the museum’s distinguished collection, c. 1550 to 1894. Each instrument is illustrated, with detailed descriptive and technical information.

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  • Libin, Laurence. Keyboard Instruments. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989.

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    Discusses and illustrates the large collection of keyboard instruments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, part of a much larger collection of musical instruments (nearly five thousand) from all over the world. This publication was preceded by a 1961 booklet of the same name by Emanuel Winternitz.

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  • Lucktenberg, George H., and Edward L. Kottick. Early Keyboard Instruments in European Museums. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997.

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    A guide to harpsichords, clavichords, and early pianos in forty-seven museums, with discussions of the appearance, decoration, sound, and playing mechanisms of individual instruments.

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  • Schott, Howard. Victoria and Albert Museum Catalogue of Musical Instruments. Vol. 1, Keyboard Instruments. 2d ed. London: Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1985.

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    Describes, with measurements, the fifty-nine keyboard instruments of the museum, dating from 1521 to 1906. Includes a brief history of the collection. Additional material was published in a supplement of 1989.

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  • Smithsonian Institution Division of Musical Instruments. A Checklist of Keyboard Instruments at the Smithsonian Institution. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1967.

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    Catalog of 224 keyboard instruments, listing for each the builder, date, place of origin, compass, and physical description.

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Treatises

A number of treatises from the 16th through 18th centuries are available in translated and/or facsimile editions, providing ready access to original writings on keyboard instruments. From the 16th century comes Virdung 1993 (first published in German, 1511), from the 17th century, Praetorius 2004 (first appearing in Latin, 1614–1615), from the 18th century, Bédos de Celles 1977 (originally published in French, 1766–1768).

  • Bédos de Celles, François, trans. Charles Ferguson as The Organ-Builder. Raleigh, NC: Sunbury Press, 1977.

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    The most important treatise of its kind, first published 1766–1768 as L’Art du facteur d’orgues (facsimile edition, by Christhard Mahrenholz. Basel: Bärenreiter, 1965). Extensive and highly detailed plates, charts, and diagrams deal with all aspects of organ building. Still used today by historically oriented builders around the world.

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  • Praetorius, Michael. Syntagma Musicum III. Translated by Jeffery T. Kite-Powell. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

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    One of the earliest Latin treatises (1614–1615) to portray many contemporary instruments, including those with keyboards, with drawings to scale.

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  • Virdung, Sebastian. Musica getutscht: A Treatise on Musical Instruments. Translated by Beth Bullard. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511518324Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Concerned primarily with non–keyboard instruments but includes material on the clavichord family. Originally published in 1511 in German.

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Piano

The terms “fortepiano” and “pianoforte” were initially employed interchangeably to indicate a stringed keyboard instrument with a striking mechanism that could be played both “piano” and “forte.” Eventually the term “fortepiano” came to be applied to the earliest types of such instruments, which to modern ears often sound more like expressive harpsichords than the pianoforte, which evolved into the instrument as generally conceived today. Square (actually oblong) pianos were common in the first part of the 19th century but gradually gave way to grands of various sizes, ranging from small instruments less than six feet long to concert grands at least nine feet long. The listings that follow consider the methods of construction, followed by the periods before and since 1725.

Construction

Consideration of piano construction yields information about the history and development of the instrument. Barron 2006 deals with the modern Steinway grand, while Crombie 1995 and Good 2001 both survey technical and manufacturing trends.

Before 1725

The earliest experiments in stringed keyboard instruments with striking mechanisms occurred alongside parallel developments in harpsichords, with builders such as Cristofori producing both. Barbieri 2010 explores the initial work in which the dulcimer became a keyboard instrument. Montanari 1991, O’Brien 1994, and Rossi-Rognoni 2002 all deal with aspects of Cristofori’s work.

  • Barbieri, Patrizio. “The Sordino: The Unsuspected Early Italian Tangent Piano 1577–1722.” Galpin Society Journal 63 (2010): 49–60.

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    Considers the writings of Henri Arnaut, the relationship of the hammered dulcimer to the sordino and other keyboard instruments, and the life and work of Bartolomeo Cristofori.

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  • Montanari, Giuliana. “Bartolomeo Cristofori: A List and Historical Survey of his Instruments.” Early Music 19.3 (August 1991): 383–396.

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    Discusses his life, work, and patronage in Medici Florence, with a list and discussion of the instruments.

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  • O’Brien, Michael Kent. Bartolomeo Cristofori at Court in Late Medici Florence. Ph.D. diss., Catholic University of America, 1994.

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    Discusses the life of Cristofori and his patronage by the Medici family, as well as his keyboard instruments and the building of them. Includes material on the Italian guild system.

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  • Rossi-Rognoni, Gabriele. La spinetta ovale del 1690–Studi e ricerche. Florence: Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali Firenze, 2002.

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    Deals with Bartolomeo Cristofori’s oval spinet of 1690 and his construction of virginals.

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1725–Present

As the development of the piano continued and the construction of the harpsichord declined and ceased, the fortepiano rose in importance and was eventually was called the “pianoforte.” Basart 1985 gives information on early fortepiano builders. Clarke 2006 deals with piano building in London, whereas Gétreau, et al. 2009 covers the French scene. Cole 2005 deals with John Broadway, while Latcham 2006 compares Stein and Walter. Latcham 2008 investigates the instruments built for C. P. E. Bach. Pollens 1995 traces the heritage of Cristofori.

Organ

The organ has the largest literature of any keyboard instrument and may be considered by its type of construction as well as its chronological period, the two influencing each other. From at least the 16th century on, builders have produced instruments capable of meeting the demands of the players and composers. Positives and portatives are small organs, the latter technically portable. A mid-20th-century development was the invention of the electronic organ, which uses amplified sounds, either from free reeds or tone generators, to imitate the pipe organ; the most common such instrument was the Hammond organ.

Construction

Consideration of organ construction yields information about the history and development of the instrument. Andersen 1969 and Sumner 1981 both survey components and methods of construction.

  • Andersen, Poul-Gerhard. Organ Building and Design. Translated by Joanne Curnutt. London: Allen and Unwin, 1969.

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    A thorough treatment organized by components of construction. Includes information on the organ reform movement. First published in 1956, in Danish.

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  • Sumner, William Leslie. The Organ: Its Evolution, Principles of Construction, and Use. 2d ed. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1981.

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    The most comprehensive such 20th-century work in English, first published in 1952. Organized chronologically and by geographic areas. Includes material on the components and construction of the organ.

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History

Complete histories of the organ cover a large time frame. Ochse 1975 is the most comprehensive treatment of its kind for the history of the organ in America, whereas Brunner 1990’s treatment is limited to a narrow category of American organ history. Dufourcq 1982 is a major thorough study of the French organ.

  • Brunner, Raymond J. “That Ingenious Business”: Pennsylvania German Organ Builders. Birdsboro, PA: The Pennsylvania German Society, 1990.

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    A detailed survey of Pennsylvania German organ builders and their instruments, from c. 1735 to 1920. Attention is given to specific organs and their construction. Appendices list pipe scalings and an estate inventory.

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  • Dufourcq, Norbert. Le Livre de l’orgue français, 1589–1789. 5 vols. Paris: Picard, 1968–1982.

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    Volumes 1–3 concern organ building: Les Sources, Le Buffet, La Facture. Volumes 2 and 3 were published in two books each.

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  • Ochse, Orpha. The History of the Organ in the United States. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975.

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    The only history devoted to the complete country. Organized chronologically and by geographic region, it gives representative specifications of major organ builders.

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Before 1800

Prior to the end of the 18th century, the organ had gone through centuries of development and refinement. Williams 1966 is the most comprehensive treatment of the European organ, complemented by Hill 1966 on organ cases, many of which cases are no longer extant. Blanchard 1985 is concerned with organs associated with Johann Sebastian Bach.

  • Blanchard, Homer D. The Bach Organ Book. Delaware, OH: Praestant, 1985.

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    Guide to the organs associated with and played by J. S. Bach, together with specifications.

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  • Hill, Arthur George. The Organ-Cases and Organs of the Middle Ages and Renaissance: A Comprehensive Essay on the Art Archaeology of the Organ, with Architectural and Historical Accounts of the more Remarkable Organ-Cases and Organs Still Remaining in Various Parts of Europe, Giving also Lists of Stops and Other Musical Notices of Interest. Hilversum, The Netherlands: Frits Knuf, 1966.

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    A seminal description of significant organ cases, many now destroyed by two world wars, in hand-drawn sketches to scale. Originally published in two volumes (London: D. Bogue, 1883–1891).

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  • Williams, Peter. The European Organ, 1450–1850. London: B. T. Batsford, 1966.

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    The starting point for many of the author’s later books. Includes chapters on The Netherlands, southern Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, northwest Germany, Scandinavia, north-central Germany, Silesia, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Has glossary of stop names, general index, and index of organs.

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Nineteenth Century

Organ building in the 19th century became increasingly specialized, as national trends and developments of action became apparent. Owen 1979 covers one of the major American organ building areas, while Pinel 2010 surveys the work of a major upstate New York builder. Gifford 2005 considers the early work of Dolmetsch in England. Douglass 1999 treats the most important European builder, French, but widely influential throughout the world.

  • Douglass, Fenner. Cavaillé-Coll and the French Romantic Tradition. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999.

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    A study of the most celebrated French organ builder of the 19th century. Includes material on the builder’s construction methods. Enlarged edition of the same author’s Cavaillé-Coll and the Musicians, published in 1980.

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  • Gifford, Gerald. “Arnold Dolmetsch (1858–1940) and the Organ.” The Consort: The Journal of the Dolmetsch Foundation 61 (Summer 2005): 81–90.

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    Information on the organs owned by Dolmetsch, as well as on organs he restored.

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  • Owen, Barbara. The Organ in New England: An Account of Its Use and Manufacture to the End of the Nineteenth Century. Raleigh, NC: Sunbury, 1979.

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    Important survey of New England organ building, with representative specifications.

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  • Pinel, Stephen L. Organbuilding Along the Erie and Chenango Canals: Alvinza and George N. Andrews of Utica, New York. Richmond, VA: OHS, 2010.

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    Pioneering study of the work of the 19th-century Andrews firm, which became the sixth-largest builder in the United States and shipped instruments around the country and to several foreign nations.

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Twentieth Century

The organ building trends of the 19th century intensified in the 20th, with the continuation of orchestral instruments and the construction of ever larger organs being interrupted by neoclassic and Baroque reform movements. In the period immediately following World War II, many American organists and teachers studied in Europe, thanks to the Fulbright program. They returned with new respect for historic instruments and new interest in updated methods of constructing organs that integrated new technology with time-honored principles. These led to a new importance for American builders, such as Andover and Fisk, whose work came to supersede that of the Europeans.

America

The great diversity in style and design of 20th-century organs has been particularly pronounced in America, where building trends range from native to imported and from neo-Baroque to orchestral, with considerable influence from the reform movements. Callahan 1990 and Callahan 1996 is an epistolary study of the American Classic movement, while McManis 2008 and Ochse 2001 discuss specific leading builders. Pape 1978 highlights the tracker revival, while Edwards 1992 gives an overview of selected builders. Brombaugh 2006 cites the influence of an earlier builder on a later one, and Speerstra 2007–2008 reflects on the recreation of an 18th-century model by a 20th-century builder.

  • Brombaugh, John. Aspects of American Organ Building in the Twentieth Century: Ernest M. Skinner & John Brombaugh. Rochester, NY: Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, 2006.

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    The influence of an influential early-20th-century organ builder on another influential builder at the end of the century.

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  • Callahan, Charles. The American Classic Organ: A History in Letters. Richmond, VA: Organ Historical Society, 1990.

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    The history of the “American Classic” concept in 312 original letters from Ernest M. Skinner, Henry Willis III, G. Donald Harrison, Emerson Richards, Lynnwood Farnam, Carl Weinrich, and William King Covell, covering the period 1924–1958. Includes specifications of organs discussed.

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  • Callahan, Charles. Aeolian-Skinner Remembered: A History in Letters. Minneapolis: Randall M. Egan, 1996.

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    In many ways a continuation of Callahan 1990, with emphasis on the Aeolian-Skinner firm. Includes 338 unaltered letters 1933–1973 by persons involved with the firm. Specifications of organs discussed are included.

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  • Edwards, Lynn, ed. The Historical Organ in America: A Documentary of Recent Organs Based on European & American Models. Easthampton, MA: The Westfield Center for Early Keyboard Studies, 1992.

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    Thorough illustrated discussions of twelve instruments by as many American organ builders. Includes specifications and scalings.

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  • McManis, Charles W. Wanted: One Crate of Lions. Richmond, VA: Organ Historical Society, 2008.

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    Autobiography of the life and legacy of progressive American organ builder, Charles W. McManis (1913–2004).

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  • Ochse, Orpha. Austin Organs. Richmond, VA: Organ Historical Society, 2001.

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    A detailed chronological study of one of the oldest and most prolific American organ builders, with specifications and technical commentaries.

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  • Pape, Uwe. Die Orgelbewegung in America. Berlin: Pape Verlag, 1978.

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    A thorough survey of the organ reform movement in America, including both the United States and Canada, with attention to the work of the Beckerath and Rieger firms.

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  • Speerstra, Joel. “Opening a Window on the Enlightenment: A Research Organ for the Eastman School of Music.” Keyboard Perspectives: The Yearbook of the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies 1 (2007–2008): 113–135.

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    The process reconstruction of the Craighead-Saunders organ (2008) after Adam Gottlob Casparini (1776) at the Eastman School of Music.

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Europe

Like the developments in America, 20th-century organ building in Europe has embraced many reform elements, with diverse design styles and cross influences. Blanchard 1975 and Blanchard 1981 cover new installations, mainly German, whereas Norman 1994 deals with new work in Britain, and Pape 1997 covers the same in Germany. Speerstra 2002 reflects the influence of reforms.

Collected Essays

Essays honoring organists tend to concentrate on the interests of the honoree and those of the contributors. Johnson 2006, Ogasapian, et al. 2005, and Pellizzari 1995 honor important figures and contain essays on various organ-related topics.

  • Johnson, Cleveland, ed. Orphei Organi Antiqua: Essays in Honor of Harald Vogel. Orcas, WA: Westfield Center, 2006.

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    Essays for Harald Vogel (b. 1940), a leader in historical performance practice in organ playing. Includes material on organs and organ builders. In English and German, with English summaries.

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  • Ogasapian, John, et al., eds. Litterae Organi: Essays in Honor of Barbara Owen. Richmond, VA: OHS, 2005.

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    Wide-ranging essays for an American organ historian on many aspects of organs and organ building in America and Europe.

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  • Pellizzari, Pio, ed. Musicus Perfectus: Studi in onore di Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini “prattico & specolativo” nella ricorrenza del LXV compleanno. Bologna: Pàtron Editore, 1995.

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    Essays, both practical and speculative, in Italian, with a few in English, French, and German, on the history of keyboard instruments. Honors a leading performer and performance practice historian.

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Harpsichord

The harpsichord is the main stringed keyboard instrument in use during the 15th through 18th centuries, revived in the 20th century. Its strings are plucked by plectra resting on the rears of the keys, rather than being struck, as in the case of the clavichord and the fortepiano. It is termed clavecin in French, cembalo in German, clavicembalo in Italian, and clavicembalo or clavecin in Spanish. The virginal is a small English or Flemish harpsichord whose strings run at right angles to the keys, whereas the spinet is a small domestic harpsichord used in England, France, Germany, and occasionally Italy, strung diagonally from left to right, often assuming a trapezoidal or winged shape.

Builders

Harpsichord builders throughout the instrument’s development have been chronicled by the examination of historical records and extant instruments; a large number of builders have thus been identified. Boalch 1995 is the most comprehensive treatment of harpsichord and clavichord builders, having been updated several times. Kottick 2003 treats four dynasties of builders.

Before 1800

Until overtaken by the fortepiano in the latter part of the 18th century, the harpsichord developed alongside instruments with struck strings, with a number of builders constructing both types. Hubbard 1967 is the most comprehensive history, treating Italian, Flemish, French, English, and German builders. Cole 1993 deals with Handel, the harpsichord, and several families of builders. Krickelberg 1986 discusses the German builder Mietke and his possible relationship with Bach. Lambrechts-Douillez 1987 is concerned with harpsichord building in Antwerp. Latcham 2006, Latcham 2009, O’Brien 1990, and Sutherland 1988 all center on the work of specific families: Medici and Merlin, d’Alembert and Diderot, Ruckers and Couchet, and Cristofori, respectively.

  • Cole, Michael. “A Handel Harpsichord.” Early Music 21.1 (February 1993): 99–109.

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    Treats Georg Friedrich Handel and the harpsichord in the Bate Collection at the University of Oxford, with material on the Smith family, Burkat Shudi, Jacob Kirkman, and Hans Ruckers.

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  • Hubbard, Frank. Three Centuries of Harpsichord Making. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1967.

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    Covers the period from c.1500 to 1800 in Italy, Flanders, France, England, and Germany, with many drawings to scale showing details of action and construction. An additional chapter on “The Workshop” contains technical material from original sources. Twentieth-century instruments are not included. Slightly revised from the first edition of 1965.

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  • Krickelberg, Dieter. “Der Berliner Cembalobauer Michael Mietke, die Hohenzollern, und Bach.” In Friedrich der Grosse und Johann Sebastian Bach. Edited by Günther Wagner, 17–27. Berlin: VDKM Landesverband, 1986.

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    The work and instruments of Berlin harpsichord builder Michael Mietke, the Hohenzollern family, and their relationship to Johann Sebastian Bach.

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  • Lambrechts-Douillez, Jeannine. “The History of Harpsichord Making in Antwerpen in the 18th Century.” In Studia Organologica: Festschrift für John Henry van der Meer zu seinem fünfundsechzigsten Geburtstag. Edited by F. Hellwig, 321–333. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 1987.

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    Deals with harpsichord building in 18th-century Antwerp, the work of John Daniel Dulcken, Johann Peter Bull, and that of the Couchet, Hagaerts, and Britsen families.

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  • Latcham, Michael. “The Apotheosis of Merlin.” In Musique ancienne: Instruments et imagination. Edited by Michael Latcham, 271–298. Berlin: Peter Lang, 2006.

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    Concerns the relationship of harpsichord to piano, with respect to the work and instruments of Ferdinando de’ Medici and John Joseph Merlin.

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  • Latcham, Michael. “In the Shadow of the Enlightenment: Stringed Keyboard Instruments in Diderot’s Encyclopédie and its Derivatives.” Musique, images, instruments: Revue française de’organologie et d’iconographie musicale 11 (2009): 18–45.

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    Treats articles on keyboard instruments by Jean le Rond d’Alembert and Denis Diderot in the Encyclopédie, covering the period 1753 to 1818.

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  • O’Brien, Grant. Ruckers: A Harpsichord and Virginal Building Tradition. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

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    Devoted to the work of the Ruckers and Couchet families, with surveys of the instruments and technical material on their construction.

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  • Sutherland, David A. “The Florentine School of Cembalo-Making Centered in the Works of Bartolomeo Cristofori.” Early Keyboard Journal 16–17 (1988): 7–75.

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    A discussion of the building of keyboard instruments, centered in Florence around the work of Bartolomeo Cristofori but also including material on Giovanni Ferrini and his output.

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Twentieth Century

The harpsichord gave way to the piano and dropped out of use after the late 18th century. Later, harpsichord building and playing, particularly under the influence of Wanda Landowska (1879–1959), led to a new interest in the instrument. With a renewed interest in historical methods of construction, the instrument was revived in the 20th century. Barnes 1995 treats the earliest 20th-century instruments, while Palmer 1989 is the most complete overview of the scene. Paul 1981 and Zuckermann 1969 are concerned with the builders.

  • Barnes, John. “The Parallel Between the Harpsichord and Clavichord Revivals in the Twentieth Century.” De Clavicordio II (1995): 233–240.

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    Concerned with the instruments of Arnold Dolmetsch and Wanda Landowska, and with Pleyel harpsichords.

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  • Palmer, Larry. Harpsichord in America: A Twentieth-Century Revival. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989.

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    Deals mainly with the performers who revived American harpsichord playing in the 20th century, from Landowska to Kirkpatrick, but also has information on such builders as Challis, Dowd, Hubbard, and Zuckermann.

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  • Paul, John. Modern Harpsichord Makers. London: Gollancz, 1981.

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    Information on the work and instruments of twenty-two builders, including Carl Dolmetsch, John Robert Barnes, Robert Goble, David Law, John Rawson, Mark Stevenson, Dennis Wooley, Trevor Beckerleg, Donald Garrod, and Martin Huggett.

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  • Zuckermann, Wolfgang. The Modern Harpsichord: Twentieth-Century Instruments and Their Makers. New York: October House, 1969.

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    Chronicles the important builders of the late-20th-century revival and illustrates more than a hundred representative instruments.

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Collected Essays

Essays honoring harpsichord builders usually concentrate on the interests of the honoree and those of the contributors. Awouters 1996 deals with the Taskin and Ruckers families, while Schott 1984–2002 covers a wider area.

  • Awouters, Mia. “Klavecimbel Ruckers-Taskin: Het Instrument.” In S.O.S. Oude Schilderijen. Edited by D. Allard and M. Buyle, 179–184. Brussels: Fondation Roi Baudouin, 1996.

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    Information on the work and instruments of Hans Ruckers, many of whose harpsichords were revised by Pascal-Joseph Taskin.

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  • Schott, Howard, ed. The Historical Harpsichord: A Monograph Series in Honor of Frank Hubbard. New York: Pendragon, 1984–2002.

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    Essays honoring Hubbard (1920–1976) on various aspects of the historical harpsichord, its construction, and builders by noted scholars. Four volumes were published.

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Clavichord

Unlike the harpsichord, the clavichord never dropped completely out of place after the rise of the piano but continued to have limited interest in the 19th century, with a revival in the 20th century. In France, the clavichord was known as clavicorde or manicorde; in Germany as Clavichord, Klavichord, or Clavier; in Italy as clavicordo, manicordo, or sordino; and in Spain as clavicordio, manicordio, or monacordio. Brauchli 1998 is the most complete account of the instrument, whereas Benson 1992 treats a more limited period. Troeger 1995 examines Dolmetsch’s work with Chickering, while Boalch 1995 is the most complete listing of builders.

Harmonium

During the 19th century, harmoniums (also known as “melodians” but most frequently as “reed organs”) were very popular as instruments for the home or small church in America but dropped out of usage around the turn of the 20th century, although they continued to be used in Europe. A related instrument is the regal. Gellerman 1996 provides background on the American harmonium, while Gruschka 2002 gives bibliographical information. Mountney 1969 details the regal and its history.

Hybrid Keyboard Instruments

In the late Baroque period, a number of experimental instruments were constructed that combined the harpsichord and organ or the harpsichord and lute. Most frequent were the lute- harpsichord (lautenwerk), theorbo-harpsichord, and claviorganum. No original examples survive except for the claviorganum. Gustafson 2007 provides the most extensive information, albeit in a condensed form, whereas Clark 1995 has material on reconstruction. Barry 1990 and Williams 1977 describe surviving instruments.

  • Barry, Wilson. “The Lodewyk Theewes Claviorganum and Its Position in the History of Keyboard Instruments.” Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society 16 (1990): 5–41.

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    Description of a one-manual instrument in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, with bibliography.

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  • Clark, Mitchell. “Crow-Quill and ‘Cat’-Gut: The Lautenwerk and Its Reconstruction.” Experimental Musical Instruments 10.4 (June 1995): 23–24.

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    Lute-harpsichord reconstruction, conservation, and restoration.

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  • Gustafson, Bruce. “Lute-Harpsichord.” In The Harpsichord and Clavichord: An Encyclopedia. Edited by Igor Kipnis, 312–313. New York: Routledge, 2007.

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    Thorough summary analysis of the Lautenwerk and its supposed design (no original examples survive).

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  • Williams, Peter. “The Earl of Wemyss’ Claviorgan and Its Context in Eighteenth-Century England.” In Keyboard Instruments: Studies in Keyboard Organology, 1500–1800. 2d ed. Edited by Edwin M. Ripin, 75–84. New York: Dover, 1977.

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    Describes the c. 1750 Kirckman-Snetzler claviorgan, which contains a two-manual harpsichord and a reservoir-less chamber organ encased below. First published in 1971.

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Electronic Keyboard Instruments

More than literature about other categories, material on electronic keyboard instruments tends to intermix information on composition and tone production with that of the instruments themselves—keyboard instruments are seldom treated as entities per se. Colbeck 1993 and Pinksterboer 2009 are concerned with aspects of the instruments, whereas Collins and d’Escrivan 2007 is devoted mainly to the music. Moog Archives and Weidenaar 1988 deal with specific instruments: the Moog synthesizer and the Telharmonium.

LAST MODIFIED: 06/29/2011

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199757824-0048

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