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Pedal harp

ca. 1810, Manufacturer: Franz Brunner



Pedal harp

Until the early 19th century, the harp was restricted to playing in a limited range of keys, owing to the diatonic tuning of its strings. By turning hooks or employing a pedal mechanism, single strings could be tuned a semitone higher, enabling a player to change key to a certain extent. As every diatonic scale is made up of seven notes, the harp needs seven pedals. Brunner’s harp has an additional pedal that activates a swell mechanism which opens and shuts five flaps located on the back of the soundbox. This offered the possibility for further dynamic contrast. However, the effect was limited, and this feature failed to catch on. (rh)

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 16

Object data

Object Name

Pedal harp


Austria, Vienna


ca. 1810


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

1670 mm x 855 mm x 560 mm

Image rights

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente

Inv. No.

Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente, 998

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