Previous Next

Clavicytherium

2nd half of the 17th century, Manufacturer: Martin Kaiser

 

 

Clavicytherium

Clavicitheriums are plucked keyboard instruments in which, unlike the harpsichord, the strings run vertically instead of horizontally. As this type of musical instrument already existed in the 15th century, the title ‘inventor of instruments’ which Kaiser bestowed upon himself cannot refer to this instrument. In Kaiser’s clavicitherium only the arrangement of the strings is new. The layout of the keyboard, with the bass notes on the left side, means that the longer bass strings should also be on this side. For reasons of symmetry - an aspect that was of the utmost importance to the architectural thinking of the Baroque era - Kaiser arranged the strings so that the bass strings are flanked on both sides by the shorter strings and the body has the form of a pyramid. This arrangement requires the movement of the keys to be conveyed through a complicated rollerboard situated in the stand of the instrument, similar to that of an organ. Signature: "MARTINVS KAISER / SER: ELECTORIS: / PALATINI / INSTRVMENTORIVM OPIFEX / ET HVIVSMODI / INVENTOR". (rh/bd)


Lit.: Rudolf Hopfner: Masterpieces from the Collection of Historic Musical Instruments. A Short Guide through the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Vol. 1, Vienna 2019

Location: Neue Burg, Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente Saal 11

Object data

Object Name

Clavicytherium

Culture

Germany, Düsseldorf

Dated

2nd half of the 17th century

Manufacturer

Martin Kaiser (ca. 1645 Erkenbollingen bei Rieden - vor 1710 Düsseldorf)

Dimensions Cover size is a museum or exhibition-specific information. It does not specify the real dimensions of the musical instrument.

2830 mm x 880 mm x 560 mm

Image rights

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente

Inv. No.

Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente, 377

Kunst & Patenschaft

This object is still without a Art Patron. Accept the patronage and make sure that this cultural treasure is preserved for future generations.
Your donation is a direct and sustainable contribution to the scientific documentation, research, restoration, and presentation of the artworks of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien.

Become an art patron