Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/726

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714

��PIANOFORTE.

��It will be observed that Herr Bechstein, as frequently happens in drawing pianoforte ac- tions, has omitted the damper, but that is of no consequence. A sketch of the external ap- pearance of the instrument has been kindly supplied from the same source.

Fio. 5.

���The instrument is placed upon an elaborate stand having an extra leg at the angle side, thus reminding us of Mozart's grand piano, by Walter, at Salzburg. The case is of oak ; the strings contain 1 1 octave of brass wire, not over- spun, in the bass; the keys are of nearly 5 octaves (F-E), and are covered with ebony for the na- tural notes, and with ivory for the upper, or sharp keys. Before leaving the only recorded instances of the great J. S. Bach's connexion with the pianoforte, we may remark that the special character of the instrument does not seem to have struck him ; there can be no doubt of his having shared the opinion of his son Emanuel, who regarded the pianoforte as only ' fit for rondos,' and always expressed his preference for the clavichord. It was by the youngest brother and pupil of Emanuel, John Christian, known as the 'London Bach,' that a decided preference was first shown for the pianoforte over the clavichord and harpsichord.

The pianofortes to which we have hitherto alluded were all, like harpsichords, of the ' wing' or 'tail' shape (English GRAND PIANO; German Fliiyel ; French Piano a queue ; Ital. Piano a coda}. The distinguished organ-builder, C. E. Friederici of Gera, is reputed to have been the first to make a pianoforte in the clavichord or oblong shape (English, SQOAEE PIANO ; German tafelformiges Piano ; French, Piano carre ; Ital. Pianoforte a tavolind). Fischhof (' Versuch einer Geschichte des Clavierbaues,' Vienna, 1853, p. 16) gives the date of this invention as 1 760, but this is possibly too late. Friederici named his square piano 'Fortbien,' perhaps a pun upon Forte Biano, in which form he may often have heard the Italian name pronounced by German lips. Of his Action we know nothing ; there is no description of it forthcoming, and we turn to England and another German maker for the prac- tical introduction of the square instrument.

JOHANNES ZDMPE l is introduced by Burney, in Rees's Cyclopaedia (1819, article 'Harpsichord'),

1 It has been suggested that Zumpe may hare been an altered name from Zumpt, to suit English habits of pronunciation, as the con- temporary Shudi was corrupted from Tscbudl, Klrkman from'Klrch- iiMim, etc.

��PIANOFORTE.

as a German who had long worked for the bar sichord-maker Shudi, and was the first to COB struct small pianos of the shape and size of the virginal. H e goes on to say that there was such a demand for Zumpe's square pianos that there was scarcely a house in the kingdom where a keyed instrument had ever had ad- mission but was supplied with one of them, and there was nearly as great a call for them in France as in England. Pohlmann, another German, fabricated for those whom Zumpe was unable to supply. There are instruments by both these makers still existing ; the oldest Zumpe piano known is dated 1 766, was formerly Sir George Smart's, and is now owned by Messrs. Broad wood. No number has been found in it ; yet it can hardly be the first of Zumpe's make, since he would not have been so bold as to begin with dividing his black notes and thus have 18 keys in the octave, as he has in this case. Mr. Taphouse of Oxford has one with the usual chromatic scale of 1 3 in the octave, inscribed ' Johannes Zumpe, Londini, Fecit 1 767, Princes Street, Hanover Square,' and with XVIIII stamped on the back of the nameboard. Allow- ing Zumpe to have been a year or two in business before he made this number, he would not have started before I765- 2 The action which Zumpe invented or adopted was simple and facile, having reference to the published model of Schroeter in Marpurg 1764, in its artless escapement. It became the norm for nearly all square piano actions during forty years. The writer of the article 'Pianoforte* in the 4th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1810), claims the in- vention of Zumpe's action for the REV. WILLIAM MASON, composer, poet, and writer on church music, and the intimate friend of the poet Gray Born in 1 725, Mason died in 1 795, and was ther fore, inventor or not, a witness to the introduction of the pianoforte into England, and to its develop ment to a certain grade of perfection that namel of pure wooden construction. The Encyclopaedia writer betrays so dense an ignorance of the earlj history of the pianoforte that we are compelle to put him aside as an authority ; although this case he may have got his information on tl: point direct from Mason. Apart from such con- jecture we have only sure evidence that Masc was one of Zumpe's early patrons. 3

z Mr. Williamson of Gulldford had, In 1879, a square piano Zumpe * Buntebart, dated 1769. In 177G the firm was Zumpe Mayer the instruments remaining the same, almost clavichor" with hammer actions, and nearly five octaves compass, G F.

' Mason appears to have first possessed a pianoforte In 1? Writing from Hanover to the poet Gray he says : Oh, Mr. Gray ! bought at Hamburg such a pianoforte and so cheap! It is a ban chord too of two unisons, and the jacks serve as mutes when pianoforte stop Is played, by the cleverest mechanism tmaginable,- won't you buy my Kirkman ? ' (meaning his harpsichord by thr maker). Gray, writing to Mason in May 1767, after the death Mrs. Mason, says : You will tell me what to do with your Zump which has amused me much here. If you would have it sent don I had better commit it to Its maker, who will tune it and pack it u Dr. Long has bought the fellow to it. The base is not quite of a pie with the treble, and the higher notes are somewhat dry and stic 1 The rest discourses very eloquent music.' Mason had married in 1 autumn of 1765. It is possible that he bought his Zumpe-then, or i not, in the course of the ensuing year, 176S. (The Correspondence f Thomas Gray and William Mason. London 1853, pp. 33 and 381 )

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