Posts Tagged ‘musicology’

Keyboard Perspectives VIII (2015) now available

May 2, 2016

© Tilman Skowroneck 2016

Volume VIII is the second volume of the Yearbook of the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies Keyboard Perspectives of which I have been the guest editor. It is dedicated to combination keyboard instruments and their repertoire.

My preface and a table of contents can be found here. The volume can be ordered by sending an email to


more keyboard perspectives

August 10, 2014

…and a call for contributions


© Tilman Skowroneck 2014, updated 2 May 2016.

In my previous post I introduced my new article about Beethoven’s Broadwood piano in Keyboard Perspectives Vol. V. The next following volume of Keyboard Perspectives, of which I am the guest editor, is rolling out of the press as we speak. A table of contents and the full text of my introduction can be found here. The volume can be ordered by sending an email to

Next year’s issue of Keyboard Perspectives, Volume VII, will be “a special issue devoted to a selection of topics that are, in one way or another, connected to Beethoven’s Sonata, op. 106 (“Hammerklavier”), and the question of why it became so problematically emblematic of nineteenth-century pianism.” It includes “six essays, complementing one another, originate from a seminar taught at McGill University by Tom Beghin, who will also be guest editor of the volume.” (excerpt from the Westfield Newsletter Volume xxv/2, p. 4)

I will return as guest editor in Keyboard Perspectives Volume VIII.

This issue will give special attention to the combination instrument of the late eighteenth century (such as the combination of organ and harpsichord, and organ and fortepiano), and such keyboard instruments that had a place in their time, even if they perhaps did not make it into the pantheon of mainstream keyboard culture: various subspecies of the budding fortepiano, for instance (such as the Clavecin Royal, or the Tangentenflügel, to name but two examples). Why were these instruments made, who financed their manufacture, who played them, in what musical contexts?
Contributions that address this topic area are especially welcome, but please do not hesitate to submit proposals that address other keyboard-related topics as well. Proposals can be sent to me via the address provided on the contact page. They should reach me no later than the end of September 2014.

beethoven’s broadwood

August 10, 2014


© Tilman Skowroneck 2014, updated 2 May, 2016

My book Beethoven the Pianist ends (more or less) where Beethoven’s piano music arguably becomes most interesting for many people: his late period. So there was no place to discuss his famous Broadwood grand from 1817 in it. I have now published a new article about this instrument: how Beethoven used (or did not use) it, its state of repair (or disrepair), its modernity (or lack thereof) and the various ways that Viennese instrument makers interacted with the instrument and its owner.

In my article, I offer a thorough investigation of the available sources and sort out a number of contradictory claims of the secondary literature. I try to give credit, especially, to the piano maker André Stein for putting the piano back in order rather more frequently, and apparently in a more sympathetic spirit, than a casual glance at the documentation suggests. I include a discussion about Beethoven’s late work and the problem of conflicting keyboard compasses.

The article “A Brit in Vienna: Beethoven’s Broadwood Piano” with a postscript by Tom Beghin “Beethoven’s Broadwood: A Construction Project” can be found in the Yearbook of the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies,

Keyboard Perspectives Vol. V/2012, pp. 41–82

Full table of contents and the editor’s preface of this volume can be found here. The volume can be ordered by sending an email to See also the  website of the Westfield Center.




new dissertation about j.a.stein

April 26, 2012

© Tilman Skowroneck 2012

On May 4, 2012, Robin Blanton will defend her doctoral dissertation in musicology. The title is Johann Andreas Stein’s 1781 Claviorganum and the Construction of Art in Eighteenth-Century Augsburg.

The dissertation is available for download at the following link: Printed copies are available for sale from the Department of Cultural Sciences at the University of Gothenburg.

The defense will take place at 1 p.m. in Vasaparken, the main building of the University of Gothenburg, on Vasagatan, Sal 10. The opponent will be Assistant Professor of Music Emily Dolan of the University of Pennsylvania.

time management I

April 23, 2009

In early spring, perfectly timed with the snow that paralyzed the south of England for a few days,  I introduced myself at the music department of the University Southampton – a first move in connection with my post-doc research project which is up and running as of 15 March (see a short abstract under the “research” tab). One of the questions I heard was how I combine playing and research. One could add, “how do I manage to write blog posts about either activity?” A look at the frequency of my postings during the last half year provides the answer, “hardly at all.” The rest is time management, to be attempted again every new day. The following posts are about this topic.

One of the reasons why I’m not drinking ale with my colleagues in Southampton at the moment is that the new project requires an awful lot of reading – and I’ve got more relevant books than I can handle right here at home. I used to be a performance practice person with a bit of knowledge about instrument building; now I am confronted with art worlds, how users matter, the history of technology and Viennese concert life, to name but a few of the things I have to know about before I can even begin worrying about the thickness of strings and hammer heads and the correspondence of various Viennese piano firms. All this material is spread out over several horizontal surfaces all over the house, and whether it is read or not depends solely on my discipline. I need discipline to refrain from cutting the firewood in the garden first, from making another cup of coffee, from thinking that I first need to practice for one of the upcoming concerts, from sliding off into the depths and widths of the world wide web and even from doing the dishes. The problem is not so much that reading books about theory isn’t fun (I will not put a parenthesis after this statement). It is that one needs to create space for truly absorbing what one reads. In the absence of a real plot in most of these books, “stuff” tries to invade one’s brain all the time, and one’s thoughts want to wander. But the paragraph that floats past un-understood is in effect an unread one. There are hundreds of candidates for such paragraphs in scholarly books. One must resort to foolproof and simplistic methods for getting the reading done. Half-engaged scholarly reading is a gigantic waste of time. (more…)