Athanasius Kircher Musurgia Universalis (Rome 1650)

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    University of Iowa

    Iowa Research Online

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    1956

    Athanasius Kircher, Musurgia Universalis (Rome,1650) : the section on musical instruments

    Frederick Baron CraneUniversity of Iowa

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    ATHANASIUS KIRCHER,

    MUSURGIA UNIVERSALIS (ROME, 1650 ):

    THE SECTION ON MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

    translated and edited by

    Frederick Baron Crane

    A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of therequirements for the degree of Master of

    Arts, in the Department of Musicin the Graduate College of

    the State Universityof Iowa

    August, 1956

    Chairman: Professor Albert T. Luper

    Copyright (c) 1958 Fr ede ric k Baron Crane

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    ii

    The task of translating the section on musical

    instruments from Musurgia universalis was undertaken in the

    hope that it would provide a useful addition to the readily

    available original sources on the history of instruments. It

    should be pointed out, however, that its usefulness is

    limited by several factors: the relatively large amount of

    speculation and insignificant material, the authors

    extensive borrowing from other writers on the subject, and

    his general lack of reliability. It must be stressed that

    Kircher must be read with great caution, and his statements

    compared, when possible, with other sources. I have pointed

    out many inaccuracies, but it was not possible to call

    attention to every doubtful passage.

    A few words about the tables of contents, plates,

    figures, tables, and musical examples might best be inserted

    in this place. The tables have been provided with the page

    numbers of the original publication as well as of this

    translation. The order of the numbers of sections and

    musical examples is quite irregular in some parts of the

    original. In general, these have been left as they were;

    in Chapter I of Part II several section numbers have been

    revised or supplied; such numbers have been placed in

    PREFACE

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    brackets. In addition, the section and paragraph headings

    are quite inconsistent; in making out the table of contents,

    an attempt was made, as far as possible, to place subheadings

    of equal weight in line with each other. Marginal notes have

    been included in the table of contents whenever they function

    as titles. A number of the titles of figures in plates and

    of tables, and nearly all the titles of text figures do not

    actually appear in the text, and have been supplied in

    accordance with their contents.

    I wish to express my especial indebtedness to

    Professor Albert T. Luper for his careful check of the

    translation, his helpful advice and suggestions.

    iii

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    iv

    Page

    Ori- Trans-ginal lation

    P R E F A C E ........................................ ii

    INTRODUCTION .................................... xvi

    Athanasius Kircher ........................ xvi

    Kircher*s Writings on Music ................ xixKircher as Musician.................... xixDe arte m a g n e t i c a .................... xxiiMusurgia universalis .................... xxiiOedipus aegyptiacus .................... xxxvPhonurg'ia n o v a ........................ xxxv

    The Translation............................ xxxvi

    THE GREAT ART OF CONSONANCE AND DISSONANCE

    BOOK SIX

    INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC

    P r e f a c e..................................415 1

    PART II. STRINGED INSTRUMENTS............ 452 3

    The various classes, and the division ofi n s t r u m e n t s ..........................452 3

    Chapter I. The Structure of KeyboardI n s t r u m e n t s ............ 453 5

    I. The Construction of Harpsichords . 454 5

    II. The Arrangement of the Keyboard, itsVery Great Variety, and its Use . 454 3Definition of keyboard . . . 454 &What the jackin a harpsichopd is 454 3

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

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    V

    The Imperfect Keyboard, or theSimple Diatonic one in CommonUse, Illustrated by Plate V,

    Figure I ................ 455 10A Keyboard of the Second Type,One Octave of which hasThirteen K e y s ............ 456 15

    Keyboard III, with seventeen keys 456 16

    BIII. A Keyboard of Nineteen Keys . . . 456 17

    jiT IV.] Keyboard VI, with Twenty-seven Keys . 457 20

    V.] A Triharmonic Keyboard, Designed in

    Accordance with the Ideas of theAncients, Taken from Doni . . . 45& 24

    [iT VI.] The Panharmonic Keyboard of Nicolo

    Vicentino.................... 459 27

    SVII. The Keyboard of Galeazzo Sabbatini . 460 29Explanation of the Signs of this

    K e y b o a r d ................ 461 32Another Simple Keyboard, of theArrangement of Keyboard I,Plate VI, which may beTransposed to any Interval bymeans of Certain Registers . . 461 33

    [VIII.] Method of Tuning an Instrument withSeventeen Keys to the Octave . . 462 35

    C o r o l l a r y ................ 463 37

    jT [iX'l The Arrangement and Proportion ofStrings in Harpsichords . . . 463 3#

    Explanation and Use of the Table . 465 41

    JT [X.] A Composition Suitable for theH a r p s i c h o r d ................ 465 42

    Chapter II. Lutes, Mandoras, and Citterns . 476 44

    I. The Order, Location, and Tuning ofthe Strings to be fitted to the Lute 476 47

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    vi

    II. The Division of the Fingerboard ofthe Stringed Instruments . . . 477 49First Method of Division . . . 477 50

    Second Method of Division . . 477 51Third Method 47& 52Fourth Method of Dividing theS t r i n g s .................... 47# 54

    The C it te r n 479 56

    V i o l s ............................ 466 66

    Explanation of the Figures Containedin Plate V I I I 4B6 67

    The Psaltery 495 72

    PART III.WIND INSTRUMENTS 496 75

    ChapterI. Some Assumptions................. 496 75

    Chapter II. The Classification of WindI n s t r u m e n t s 497 77

    J

    JI. The Galoubet 497 79

    Why, in the Galoubet. after FourSteps, the Tones are not Continued, but a Leap of a Fifthis made from theFourthNote x 496 &2

    JTII. The F l a g e o l e t 499 64

    Explanation of the InstrumentsContained in Plate IX . . . 500 #6

    III. Trumpets and their Properties . . 502 91

    Consequences 503 95The difference between thetrombone and thecommontrumpet 503 96

    if IV. Cromornes, Cornemusesand other

    B a g p i p e s 505 99

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    vii

    C I. The Parts of the Organ . . . . 506 103

    II. The Proportions of Open Pipes . . 507 104

    J5 III. The Systematic Proportion of thePipes of One Octave . . . . 50S 106Problem I. How to determine the

    correct measurements of anoctave system, or what is thesame, the quantity and proportion required in organ pipes

    according to their octaves . 503 107Problem II. To Find the Widthof P i p e s 510 113

    Problem III. To Construct aSystem of Stopped Pipes . . 510 114

    Problem IV. To Construct a Systemof Open Pipes 511 117

    Problem V. To Construct aChimney Flute System . . . 512 117

    Problem VI. The Nature andStructure of the Organ Wind

    Ch es t 512 U SProblem VII. Organ Registers,Wind Trunks, and Bellows . . 512 119

    Problem VIII. To Assign theProportions of Reeds . . . 513 123

    Problem IX. To Determine theProportions of Vox Humana Pipes 514 126

    Problem X. To Construct aDiatonic-Chromatic-EnharmonicOrgan 515 129

    PART IV. PERCUSSION INSTRUMENTS 515 130

    Chapter I. The Sounds and Harmony to be

    Obtained from Pieces of Wood . 515 131

    Experiment. To Construct a Xylorgan . . 51# 135Explanation and Use of the

    I n s t r u m e n t 513 137Corollaries 519 137

    Chapter III. Organs, and their Structure andP r o p e r t i e s ................ 506 102

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    viii

    The

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