GDANSK CLAVICHORDS AND HARPSICHORDS IN THE 17TH AND 18TH CENTURIES
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Gdansk (Danzig) was famous as a centre of musical instrument manufacture during the 16th-18th centuries. Dozens of viol-makers and violin-makers, wind instrument makers, and finally keyboard instrument makers were recorded throughout that period. Viols, trumpets and harpsichords from Gdansk are listed in many court, church, convent and town inventories from Poland, Scandinavian and other countries. What is more, many apprentices and journeymen from various countries were trained there and, for example, the Swedish authorities attempted to bring in keyboard instrument makers from Gdansk to Sweden, to start local manufacture, in the first half of the 18th century. This article attempts to paint a picture of a small aspect of Gdansk instrument making, namely clavichord and harpsichord manufacture during the 17th-18th centuries. Little research material from that period has survived to the present day. All we have in terms of physical evidence is one spinet made by Paul Steinicht in 1661, two harpsichord lids with painted decoration attributed to Gdansk artists, and one design of such decoration by a Gdansk painter from the end of the 16th century. On the other hand, surviving archival sources and various newspapers' announcements were rich enough in information to make the reconstruction of the history of local clavichord- and harpsichord-making possible. The paper then discusses the types of clavichords and harpsichords made in Gdansk during that period, including hybrids of the claviorgan type. It was possible to define their construction and the decoration used in various stages of the instruments' development. Surviving posthumous inventories of Gdansk citizens have also made it possible to determine the social function of the clavichord and harpsichord. While there were many instrument-makers in Gdansk, biographies of only a dozen or so, who undoubtedly made clavichords and harpsichords, are given in the Annex, among them those of Marten Kawinsky, Heinrich Bernhard Kein, Jacob Machowsky, Georg Wilhelm Rasmus, Johann Daniel Weber and Johann Werner Woge. The social status of Gdansk craftsmen is also discussed.
- B. Vogel, Institutionen foer Konst - och Musikvetenskap, Biskopsgatan 5, Lund, Sweden; Katedra Edukacji Artystycznej, Uniwersytet Szczecinski, ul. Malczewskiego 10/12, 71-616 Szczecin, Poland
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