Square Piano

Johann Jacob Seydel (ca. 1758–1806) Austrian

Not on view

Piano builders in Vienna concentrated their attention on building grand pianos, as opposed to London makers who built small square pianos for the growing middle classes. Therefore, square pianos made in Austria are quite rare. Seydel, though working in the city, was from Saxony and brought elements of a regional north German tradition with him.

Technical description: Rectangular mahogany and mahogany-veneer case with canted front corners, lid with crossband edges and underside papered with blue pattern, on 4 square tapered legs terminating in brass decorative tips, thin beaded brass moldings forming rectangles on exterior (side pieces missing), lock and key in front panel, silk-paneled dust cover fitting between strings and action, soundhole behind bridge decorated with paper rosette (only center section possibly original), compartment with leather-hinged lid to left of keyboard, lid prop screwed to left case wall, bottom edge of nameboard cut to left case wall, bottom edge of nameboard cut to accommodate accidentals, tuning pins (oblong and square) of various sizes located between bridge and right side in front of soundhold; keyboard compass FF-f3, 61 keys, ivory naturals with 2 pairs of reddened score lines, the head plates much thicker than the tails, ebony accidentals tapered down toward rear, plain ivory natural fronts; Anglo-German action with escapement, with hammer butts mounted in brass Kapsels, unweighted keys returned by long brass sire springs attached to rear of balance rail and held by eyes below keytails, wood overhead damper arms mounted in slots in batten, with slots fitting over a transverse wire, damper arms secured by wire springs pressing against slots; 2 knee levers: R operating damper, L operating mute batten in front of nut; lowest 8 notes single-strung, middle 32 notes double-strung, top 21 notes triple-strung, bridge backpinned except for top 17 notes.

Square Piano, Johann Jacob Seydel (ca. 1758–1806), Mahogany, mahogany veneer, brass, iron, ivory, ebony, parchment, various materials, Austrian

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