Fortepiano

Maker: Conrad Graf (Austrian, Riedlinger, Wurttemberg 1782–1851 Vienna)

Date: ca. 1838

Geography: Vienna, Austria

Culture: Austrian

Medium: Walnut-veneered spruce and oak

Dimensions: Width: 49 3/16 in. (125 cm)
Length: 93 1/2 in. (237.5 cm)

Classification: Chordophone-Zither-struck-piano

Credit Line: Purchase, Amati Gifts, in memory of Frederick P. Rose, 2001

Accession Number: 2001.272

Description

Conrad Graf (1782-1851), maker of this six and one-half octave piano, was one of the most important fortepiano makers in Vienna between 1822-42. In 1824 Graf was appointed Austrian court keyboard instrument maker and in 1835 received a gold medal at the Austrian Industrial Products Exhibition. Composers such as Beethoven, Czerny, Schubert, Schumann, Kalkbrenner, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt, and Brahms, as well as the Empress of Russia, the Queen of Saxony, and the Archduke and Archduchess of Austria owned Graf pianos. This instrument was probably made the year before Robert Schumann's Graf piano, a period that includes many of the greatest works of the piano repertoire.

The walnut-veneered, oak case is constructed almost entirely of wood (there is no metal frame, as in the modern piano). The four pedals control the dampers (allowing tones to be sustained or silenced), two moderators to change the timbre, and a una corda (soft pedal).

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