Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Gothic Grand Piano for July 1826

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gothic grand piano
Gothic piano description
Loretta reports:

This is not at all what we’re accustomed to, in the way of grand pianos.  But as the text informs us, a piano was a relatively new instrument, so there wasn’t much in the way of preconceived notions about what it ought to look like.  The idea, as explained, is to make the instrument match the decor, and the Gothic* style was well loved.  Though many associate classic Greek simplicity with this time period, "more is more” tended to be the design ideal, most notably for the sovereign (formerly Prince Regent), King George IV.

*Previous posts on the Gothic style include Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill, looking glasses, dairy houses, and cottages.

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the caption will take you to the source.



3 comments:

Sir Tenley Offissrocker said...

It's straight out of a Transylvanian piano bar ...

Chris Woodyard said...

LOVE this! Such restrained coloring in the face of all that surface ornamentation. I have this vision of some lady's India shawl becoming entangled in those tracery stalactites to damaging effect... Pugin and the mid-century Victorians did some really reprehensibly Gothic things to organ cases too.

Mary O'Keefe Kellogg said...

I don't think I'd feel quite comfortable playing this instrument - unless the tone is so exceptional that I could forget its (apparent?) fragility while playing "new" music of the time: Beethoven, Schumann...
However, as the text indicates, it was a period of experimentation.

The Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, Germany has a wonderful collection of musical instruments, among which is the Beurmann collection of keyboard instruments:
http://www.mkg-hamburg.de/en/collection/permanent-collection/musical-instruments.html
There's a very tall (at least 3 m high ceilings are needed) upright pianoforte, another with 6 or 7 pedals for special effects (chimes!), as well as lots of other experiments of the period, together with some of the oldest keyboard instruments still playable.
And they are played. Some are used in concerts there, and docents give regular tours which include musical demonstrations.

 
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