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The Engarmonic Piano of Prince V.F. Odoevsky

tool : The Engarmonic Piano of Prince V.F.  Odoevsky

Prince Vladimir Fedorovich Odoevsky is an outstanding representative of Russian culture in the mid-19th century. A music critic and founder of scientific musicology in Russia, a pianist and organist, composer and collector of Russian folk songs, he was also a writer, philosopher, archaeologist, was fond of mathematics, chemistry, acoustics and much more. Such a unique versatility of his mind and abilities astonished contemporaries. Odoevsky himself said: “They attack me for my encyclopedia. But I have never had to regret any acquired knowledge. ” He admitted that in his quest for encyclopedism he followed the example of the great Mikhail Lomonosov.

The content of the article

  • The story of the appearance of an enharmonic piano
  • So what is this instrument "> The history of the appearance of an enharmonic piano

    In the late 1840s, Vladimir Fedorovich ordered for himself one of the best organ-builders of that time - Georg Metzel - an office organ. This organ was even given the special name Sebastianon in honor of the great Bach, whose music Odoevsky valued unusually highly.

    The instrument was distinguished by the subtlety of nuance: it was possible to play crescendo and diminuendo on it by more or less pressing the key. The organ was quite large: about 2.5 meters in height, had two manuals (five octaves each), as well as a pedal keyboard.

    In 1864, Odoevsky specifically ordered a new tool. It was the so-called enharmonic grand piano ("... or, as its author called it, " an enharmonic harpsichord "").

    The instrument feature was that in the octave, instead of the usual twelve, there were nineteen keys.

    That is, all the black keys turned out to be divided into two, and also added by a key between " s " and " before " and between " mi " and " fa ". According to Odoevsky, a similar design and, accordingly, expanded temperament capabilities should have helped in the reproduction of Russian folk songs with their difficult system. The piano was designed at the A. Kampe factory according to the drawings of Odoevsky himself.

    Even the receipt (in German) of receiving 300 rubles in silver for the manufacture of an enharmonic grand piano for Vladimir Fedorovich Odoevsky dated February 11, 1864 has been preserved.

    In the museum to them. M.I. Glinka saved plays written specifically for this instrument:

    • Engarmonisch (F73 No. 95),
    • Piece for violin and anharmonic piano (F73 No. 134 / b),
    • Prohibited fifths (F73 No. 117) and others.

    An enharmonic grand piano stood in Odoevsky’s office in his house on Smolensky Boulevard. He was not as popular as his “predecessor”, the Sebastianon organ, because it was very difficult to play. The distances between the keys are so narrow, and the additional "C #" and "E #" are so long that the probability of incorrect notes was very high. In addition, the tuning of the instrument was unusual for an inexperienced musician.

    In 1869, after the death of Odoevsky, his wife Olga Stepanovna Odoevskaya transferred the music-literary and music library, music-theoretical, research works, letters and other heritage of her husband, as well as his musical and acoustic instruments, including an enharmonic piano, as a gift from the Moscow Conservatory.

    For more than 40 years, Odoevsky’s archive has been gathering dust somewhere in the corner, not taken apart by anyone, not needed by anyone, and only with the opening in 1912 at the Moscow Conservatory Museum. N. Rubinstein's manuscripts and piano were handed over there. In 1943, this modest storage museum received the status of the Central Museum of Musical Culture. And the enharmonic piano of Prince V.F. Odoevsky became one of his notable exhibits.

    So what is this tool "> Small in size (1500 mm x 970 mm x 900 mm), with a keyboard range from" to "a large octave to a" fa "third. In the octave, there really are not 12, but 19 keys located in 3 rows. At the same time, the white keys of the lower row correspond to the white keys of a regular piano ( c, re, mi, fa, salt, la, si ), between them, like five black keys of a regular piano, seven keys are placed (two additional keys of light brown color) intended for notes in C sharp and C sharp ).

    But if these two additional keys are integral, then the remaining five are divided into two rows: the keys closest to the performer are keys corresponding to D flat, E flat, G flat, A flat and B flat, and the one located above them Performer row (painted brown) - keys corresponding to notes of C sharp, F sharp, F sharp, G sharp and A sharp.

    Of particular interest is the tuning of the instrument. The gamma was not tempered in equal quarter tones, but had a completely special device, the essence of which can be understood by referring to Odoevsky’s theoretical work “Musical Charter, or the foundation of music for non-musicians, ” written in 1868.

    By “vowel giving” (acoustic overtones of the “do” string) he finds the diatonic scale (where, however, the semitones “si” - “do” and “mi” - “fa” are smaller than the usual semitone; the chromatic scale was found by continuing the pure fifths from “Up” up - sharps, from “up” down - flats: this, in fact, amounts to the Pythagorean temperament, in which all flats are low and all sharps are high, which ultimately leads to too broad major (so-called Pythagorean) to third.

    It is possible that in the future, when setting up, Odoevsky refused this, although the system he proposed completely corresponds to church frets (modes). But since the instrument was also designated for acoustic experiments, other methods of tempering were possible.

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