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Happy Birthday, Mr. Mozart

Jayson Dobney, Associate Curator and Administrator, Department of Musical Instruments

Posted: Monday, January 27, 2014

«On January 27, 1756, the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born. One of the many musical instrument treasures in the collection at the Museum is a pedal piano attributed to the workshop of Johann Schmidt of Salzburg, Mozart's hometown. Schmidt was a friend of Mozart's father, Leopold, and may have helped him secure the job of court organ and instrument maker in Salzburg.»

The Schmidt piano survives with a pedal mechanism that allows some strings to be sounded by use of foot pedals, like an organ. Mozart's own piano, which can be seen still in Salzburg, may have been made with a similar pedal mechanism which was removed in the nineteenth century.

See the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History to read more about the piano.

Michael Tsalka plays an excerpt from W. A. Mozart's Variations in F Major, K. 613, on this piano:

See Met Media for more videos featuring instruments from the collection.

Department(s): Musical Instruments
Tag(s): piano, Mozart

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About the Author

Jayson Dobney is an associate curator and administrator in the Department of Musical Instruments.

About this Blog

The Museum's collection of musical instruments includes approximately five thousand examples from six continents and the Pacific Islands, dating from about 300 B.C. to the present. It illustrates the development of musical instruments from all cultures and eras. On this blog, curators and guests will share information about this extraordinary collection, its storied history, the department's public activities, and some of the audio and video recordings from our archives.