To return to the grand pianoforte. The origin of the Viennese grand is rightly accredited to Stein, the organ builder, of Augsburg. I will call it the German grand, for I find it was as early made in Berlin as Vienna. According to Mozart's correspondence, Stein had made some grand pianos in 1777, with a special escapement, which did not "block" like the pianos he had played upon before. When I wrote the article "Pianoforte" in Dr. Grove's "Dictionary," no Stein instrument was forthcoming, but the result of the inquiries I had instituted at that time ultimately brought one forward, which has been secured by the curator of the Brussels Museum, M. Victor Mahillon. This instrument, with Stein's action and two unison scale, is dated 1780. Mozart's grand piano, preserved at Salzburg, made by Walther, is a nearly contemporary copy of Stein, and so also are the grands by Huhn, of Berlin, which I took notes of at Berlin and Potsdam; the latest of these is dated 1790.

An advance shown by these instruments of Stein and Stein's followers is in the spacing of the unisons; the Huhn grands having two strings to a note in the lower part of the scale, and three in the upper. The Cristofori Silbermann inverted wrest-plank has reverted to the usual form; the tuning pins and downward bearing being the same as in the harpsichord. There are no steel arches as yet between the wrest-plank and the belly-rail in these German instruments. As to Stein's escapement, his hopper was fixed behind the key; the axis of the hammer rising on a principle which I think is older than Stein, but have not been able to trace to its source, and the position of his hammer is reversed. Stein's light and facile movement with shallow key-fall, resembling Cristofori's in bearing little weight, was gratefully accepted by the German clavichord players, and, reacting, became one of the determining agents of the piano music and style of playing of the Vienna school. Thus arose a fluent execution of a rich figuration and brilliant passage playing, with but little inclination to sonorousness of effect, lasting from the time of Mozart's immediate followers to that of Henri Herz; a period of half a century.

Knee-pedals, as we translate "geuouillères," were probably in vogue before Stein, and were levers pressed with the knees, to raise the dampers, and leave the pianoforte undamped, a register approved of by Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach, who regarded the undamped pianoforte as the more agreeable for improvising.. He appears, however, to have known but little of the capabilities of the instrument, which seemed to him coarse and inexpressive beside his favorite clavichord. Stein appears to have made use of the "una corda" shift. Probably by knee-pedals, subsequently by foot-pedals, the following effects were added to the Stein pianos.

The harpsichord "harp"-stop, which muted one string of each note by a piece of leather, became, by the interposition of a piece of cloth between the hammer and the strings, the piano, harp, or celeste. The more complete sourdine, which muted all the strings by contact of a long strip of leather, acted as the staccato, pizzicato, or pianissimo. The Germans further displayed that ingenuity in fancy stops Mersenne had attributed to them in harpsichords more than a hundred and fifty years before, by a bassoon pedal, a card which by a rotatory half-cylinder just impinging upon the strings produced a reedy twang; also by pedals for triangle, cymbals, bells, and tambourine, the last drumming on the sound-board itself.

Several of these contrivances may be seen in a six-pedal grand pianoforte belonging to Her Majesty the Queen, at Windsor Castle, bearing the name as maker of Stein's daughter, Nannette, who was a friend of Beethoven. The diagram represents the wooden framing of such an instrument.

We gather from Burney's contributions to "Rees's Cyclopaedia," that after the arrival of John Christian Bach in London, A.D. 1759, a few grand pianofortes were attempted, by the second-rate harpsichord makers, but with no particular success. If the workshop tradition can be relied upon that several of Silbermann's workmen had come to London about that time, the so-called "twelve apostles," more than likely owing to the Seven Years' War, we should have here men acquainted with the Cristofori model, which Silbermann had taken up, and the early grand pianos referred to by Burney would be on that model. I should say the "new instrument" of Messrs. Broadwood's play-bill of 1767 was such a grand piano; but there is small chance of ever finding one now, and if an instrument were found, it would hardly retain the original action, as Messrs. Broadwood's books of the last century show the practice of refinishing instruments which had been made with the "old movement."

The History Of The Pianoforte 385 9a

Fig. 1.

Burney distinguishes Americus Backers by special mention. He is said to have been a Dutchman. Between 1772 and 1776, Backers produced the well-known English action, which has remained the most durable and one of the best up to the present day. It refers in direct leverage to Cristofori's first action. It is opposite to Stein's contemporary invention, which has the hopper fixed. In the English action, as in the Florentine, the hopper rises with the key. To the direct leverage of Cristofori's first action, Backers combined the check of the second, and then added an important invention of his own, a regulating screw and button for the escapement. Backers died in 1776. It is unfortunate we can refer to no pianoforte made by him. I should regard it as treasure trove if one were forthcoming in the same way that brought to light the authentic one of Stein's. As, however, Backers' intimate friends, and his assistants in carrying out the invention, were John Broadwood and Robert Stodart, we have, in their early instruments, the principle and all the leading features of the Backers grand.