500 Years of Keyboard Instruments

This past fall, my husband and I had the privilege of traveling to Europe for the first time. Countries visited included Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (London), and France.

If you want to get a little peek into this adventure, listen in on episode #47 of The Piano Pantry Podcast!

The entire trip went quite smoothly. The only transportation hiccup we encountered was traveling via train from the Netherlands to London. One of our trains out of the Netherlands was delayed, causing a missed connection from Brussels to London. Luckily, they could get us on a train later that evening, but it meant we had an eight-hour overlay in Brussels, Belgium.

What at first seemed to be an inconvenience turned into a wonderful opportunity as we could spend an entire day exploring the city! A delay of two or three hours would have kept us waiting at the train station.

As we walked through the city, we passed a beautiful building, its splendor making me pause in awe to take it in.

A closer look revealed it was a musical instrument museum!

(As a side note, my husband and I noticed schoolchildren on field trips in multiple places, each wearing yellow vests. Brilliant!)

Aren’t the details on this building gorgeous?

Since this blog is about piano teaching, I selected around 25 favorites from the keyboard segment of the museum to share in this post – just a fraction of what the museum held! (Plus a couple of fun other instruments.)

They’re listed in date order through the 1500s, 1600s, 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s. A few of the instruments in this post are featured here on the museum’s website. Those that are, I also directly linked below each image.

Enjoy this phenomenal collection!

 

1500

Fretted Clavichord – Italy, c1587

 

1600

Harpsichord – Italy, 1619

 

Harpsichord and Virginal – Belgium, 1619

 

Virginal – Belgium, 1620

 

Geigenwerk – Spain, 1625

 

Wing-Shaped Spinet – Italy, 1637

 

Harpsichord – Belgium, 1646

 

1700

Pyramid Piano – Germany, 1745

 

Clavicytherium – Belgium, 1751

 

Square Piano – Germany, c1785

 

Glass Harmonica – Austria, c1786

(OK, not a keyboard instrument, but I had to include it! 🙂

 

Piano Table “Square Piano” – Germany, 1793

 

1800

Componium – Netherlands, 1821

 

Cabinet Piano – Brussels, 1830

 

Giraffe Piano – Netherlands, 1835

 

Terpodion – United Kingdom, c1840 (see next photo for an up-close look)

 

Terpodion – United Kingdom, c1840

 

Claviharpe – Brussels, c1850

 

Double-Piano with Mirrored Keyboards – France, 1879 (see next photo for a different view)

 

Double Grand Piano with Mirrored Keyboards – France, 1879

 

Pedal-Keyboard – Belgium, c 1890 (see next two photo’s for an up-close look)

 

Pedal-Keyboard – Belgium, c1890 (see next photo for an up-close look)

 

Pedal-Keyboard – Belgium, c1890

 

Harpsichord – France, 1891

 

1900

Isomorphic Keyboard – Germany, c1900

 

Player-Piano, Humanola – Belgium, c1915

 

Upright-Piano – France, 1930

 

Piano-Viole – Brussels, 1935 (see next photo for an up-close look)

 

Piano-Viole – Brussels, 1935

 

Melodica, Germany, c. 1965

 

Electric-Piano / Butterfly Baby Grand by Wurlitzer – United States, c. 1969

(P.S. Yes, that’s my lovely husband patiently waiting while I looked at every keyboard instrument!)

 

Hohner Electra Piano – Germany, 1970

 

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