© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
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Musical Instruments
Musical Instruments
1800 - 1849

"Vienna is a piano town," said the jazz pianist, Oscar Peterson. This is still true in today’s concerts practice. Vienna was one of the most important metropolises for piano construction around 200 years ago.

Fortepianos and pianofortes were instruments for the entertainment of the bourgeoisie. Their production was of considerable importance for the economy. After originating in the 18th century, piano construction in Vienna quickly developed to become a significant branch of industry. In the first third of the 19th century, there were more than 380 piano and organ builders working in Vienna. Smaller workshops often existed for just one generation, but others continued into the 20th century.

Anton Walter ran his piano-building workshop in Vienna from 1778 - 1825. It was allowed to carry the title of "Imperial and Royal chamber organ builder and instrument maker". Although Walter took into account general advances in piano building, the instruments from the Walter and Son workshop are considered conservative. Their construction did not include any far-reaching innovations.

In the first decades of the 19th century, the keyboard size on fortepianos was expanded from five to eight octaves. Additional registers with particular sound effects were added, and the volume of sound increased. The fortepiano of Anton Walter and Son from the collection of the Technisches Museum Wien (Vienna Technical Museum) is based on a wooden construction. However, it has individual small iron struts in order to be able to withstand the increased tension of the strings. Compared to Walter's earlier instrument, the hammer heads are much larger. This expands the volume of sound. One particular feature of the instruments of Walter and Son are the curved hammer rods.

Manufacturer: Anton Walter und Sohn, Vienna
Date of construction: approx. 1815

Inv.Nr. 35240

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