The 1690 Oval Spinet
Bartolomeo Cristofori (Padua, 1655 - Florence, 1731), a designer and builder of musical instruments, was the inventor of the hammer mechanism that led to the invention of the piano. During the years between the end of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth centuries, he was at the court of Grand Prince Ferdinando de' Medici. The Grand Prince, who was devoted to music (and who was also a musician), assembled an astonishing collection of musical instruments, many which have been lost but most of which are now conserved in the Academy Museum in Florence.
The spinet which is the subject of the book, signed and dated 1690, was considered lost but was rediscovered amidst Stefano Bardini’s immense legacy. The instrument – of African rosewood, with cypress soundboard and ivory-covered keys – has not been tampered with in any way and, above all, is widely documented in the archived Medici papers. It is the oldest of the spinets designed by the master builder and is the only one not to have been modified in any way over the years. It is therefore an extremely valuable source of information for study of spinet construction methods.
The exceptional discovery, which will enrich the Academy collection, is fully documented in the detailed book – edited by musicologist Gabriele Rossi-Rognoni – which covers the principal topics of discussion on the agenda for an international conference (Florence, 21 and 22 October 2002), dedicated exclusively to this discovery.
- Edited by:
- Gabriele Rossi Rognoni
- Edition (cm):
- 24 × 27
- 35 b&w illustrations
- Il luogo del David RESTAURI n. 3