Edited By Albrecht Schneider and Arne von Ruschkowski
Andreas Beurmann, Albrecht Schneider: Some Observations on a Stein-Conrad Hammerflügel from 1793
175 Andreas Beurmann Albrecht Schneider Some Observations on a Stein-Conrad Hammerflügel from 1793 Summary A Stein-Conrad Hammerflügel from 1793 was studied in regard to hammer/string contact times, repetition times for individual notes/keys and other parameters. Data obtained from acoustical and sonological measurements are reported. 1. Introduction Concerning the development of the piano from 18th century fortepiano to modern instruments, the invention of the Prellmechanik is considered a major improvement in regard to providing a fast and reliably working action. In particular instruments built by Johann Andreas Stein (1728-1792) including specimens from his shop manufactured after his death are said to offer an extremely light touch and a delicate tone1. One such instrument, apparently dating from 1793, and completed by Jacob Fréderic Conrad working in Stein’s shop at Augsburg, is in the collection of the first author (Beurmann Nr. 117; for a detailed description of the instrument, see Beurmann 2007, 81-86). It is a beautiful, well-preserved and fully playable Hammerflügel with a compass from F1 to G6 (in Helmholtz’ designation: F, to g’’’), thus spanning five octaves plus one tone, enough to cover the range of notes found in compositions for the fortepiano (predating the term pianoforte by several decades) of Haydn, Mozart and even Beethoven up to opus 49 (1795/1796). As is known from historical sources, Mozart was especially fond of Stein’s instruments (see Mozart’s letter to his father, October 17th/18th, 1777, in which he praises Stein’s instruments. See also Latcham 1998). In this article, we...
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