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Found 38 result(s)

bell chimes

clapper bells, pellet bells

Stearns #0110

Europe

Florence, Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case, we have twelve brass Pellet Bells of various sizes on a red (painted) wooden oval holder with handle (damaged).

Research: Prof. James M. Borders

Turkish crescent

jingling Johnny, Chinese pavilion, chapeau chinois, pavillon chinois, Schellenbaum, jingling johnnie

Stearns #0257

Europe

Florence, Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case, a wooden handle carries a brass rod on which are loosely fastened--so as to turn freely--a brass crescent, a piece of sheet brass in the form of a lyre, and an inverted scalloped cone of the same metal. The cone has eight small pellet bells and eight small clapper bells (three missing). The lyre has two pellet bells (one missing). The large crescent has eight pellet bells (one missing) and ten pellet clapper bells (one missing). Two "horsetails" are also attached. The cone, by its resemblance to a Chinese hat, is responsible for the French designation.

See Stearns #0256 & #0259.

Research: Prof. James M. Borders

alto clarinet

Stearns #0628

Europe

Florence, Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case, we have an Alto Clarinet in F without keys. It is a composite instrument with four sections: two are leather-covered maple (a Franciolini favorite) with six finger holes plus a thumb hole and an ivory ferrule. The boxwood barrel appears to have been purloined from a bass clarinet (with ivory ferrules). The boxwood bell appears to have been lifted from an oboe, and is disguised with decorative turnings and ivory mount. The grendilla mouthpiece appears to be re-purposed from a bass clarinet. While Franciolini actively sought to mislead his customers, the simultaneous crudeness and creativity demonstrated in his catalogue is greatly entertaining. More troubling, however, is the shadow cast upon the flawed judgment of Frederick Stearns in his last years of collecting.

Research: Prof. James M. Borders and Stearns Staff

bass clarinet in Bb

Stearns #0637

Europe

Brussels, Belgium

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood; however, this is one of the rare cases in which the attribution of the maker and the instrument itself appear to be legitimate. This is a Bass Clarinet (Simple system) in B Flat made of two stained maple sections with brass ferrules. It has a brass goose neck and bell (replacement; stamped: "[within oval] CH. ROTH / A / STRASBOURG / BREVETE / S.G.D. GI)". It has twenty brass keys of shallow cup type mounted on pillars. There are two speaker keys; the tone holes have brass bushings. The piece is signed on the first and section sections, "* / SAX / A BRUXELLES / *".

Research: Prof. James M. Borders

crumhorn

tornebout, tournebout

Stearns #0661

Europe

Florence, Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case we have a fraudulent J-shaped Crumhorn that is made of leather-covered pine with a hard rubber, threaded cap. It has seven finger holes and two tuning holes.

Research: Prof. James M. Borders

bassoon

Stearns #0677

Europe

Florence, Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case, we have a composite Bassoon made of three painted (black) maple sections with brass fittings (extant)--the bell section has been replaced with a painted brass dragon's head. It has five brass keys mounted in saddles (all except one bracket are missing). The inscription on the boot and body sections has been obliterated. The red paper stamp of the Florentine dealer appears on the boot section. The paper is marked with blue crayon, "16 MO RO".

Research: Prof. James M. Borders

bagpipe

zampogna, cornemuse, Dudelsack, Sackpfeife, cornamusa, piva, zampogna, gaita, cornamusa, gaita, zampona

Stearns #0688

Europe

Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. This Bagpipe is made of boxwood pipes with horn ferrules fastened with boxwood pegs. It has a goatskin bag; the round boxwood stock holds four pipes. It has two chanters, each with four crudely cut finger holes. It has twinned R4 and L4 tone holes. It is made with threaded joints; it has two drone pipes. The piece bears the mark of being tainted: the red paper stamp of the Franciolini shop.

Research: Prof. James M. Borders

corneto in G

cornett

Stearns #0829

Europe

Florence, Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case, we have a fraudulent Cornetto in G that is made of leather-covered pine with a boxwood and ivory ferrule. It is an S-shaped round tube with six finger holes.

Research: Prof. James M. Borders

corneto in G

cornett, zink

Stearns #0830

Europe

Florence, Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case, we have a fraudulent Cornetto in G made of leather-covered pine with an ivory ferrule and brass bands. It is an S-shaped, round tube with six finger holes.

Research: Prof. James M. Borders

corneto in C

Stearns #0832

Europe

Florence, Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case, we have a fraudulent Cornetto in C made of leather-covered pine with an ivory ferrule. It is a curved, round tube with six finger holes.

Research: Prof. James M. Borders

cornettino

Stearns #0833

Europe

Germany?

This is a fraudulent Cornettino acquired in Hamburg in 1868. It is made of curved leather; the round tube has six crudely bored finger holes that are arbitrarily spaced.

Research: Prof. James M. Borders

tenor cornetto / corno torto

corno torto

Stearns #0834

Europe

Florence, Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case, it is fraudulent Corno torto (Tenor Cornetto) made of leather-covered pine with an ivory ferrule. It has an S-shaped round tube with six finger holes that are arbitrarily spaced. There is a single brass key of flat flap type with a brass saddle that is half-recessed into the key shank; has a steel leaf spring.

Research: Prof. James M. Borders

cornetto in D

Stearns #0835

Europe

Florence, Italy

This instrument is a forgery created by the Florence-based instrument salesman Leopoldo Franciolini. Although the octagonal shape of this Cornetto in D is correct, the scale is wrong, the workmanship is clumsy, and the finger holes are spaced so far apart on this three-foot long instrument as to render human hands incapable of playing lower pitches. It is made of leather-covered pine with an ivory ferrule. It has a single brass key (flat flap) mounted in a brass saddle with a sheet metal spring. It bears the telltale red paper stamp of the Franciolini shop.

Research: Prof. James M. Borders

corno curvo

Stearns #0836

Europe

Florence, Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case, we have a fraudulent Corno curvo made of leather-covered pine with an ivory ferrule. Two brass bands have brass rings for a cord. There are no finger holes.

Research: Prof. James M. Borders

serpent militaire

Stearns #0903

Europe

Florence, Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case, the body of this fraudulent Serpent Militaire is made of leather-covered pine with a brass crook. Its form is a figure-eight; the six finger holes are arbitrarily spaced.

Legitimate serpents were originally used in the church choirs of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to undergird the singing, and especially to fortify the sound of Gregorian chant. It later appeared in military bands where it functioned as a bass cornet until it was eventually replaced by valved brass instruments. The instrument was originally held vertically, but during the 18th century, players began to favor a horizontal position for both church and military band performances.

Research: Prof. James M. Borders and Stearns Staff

serpent militaire

Stearns #0923

Europe

Florence, Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case, we have a fraudulent Serpent Militaire which is made of a leather-covered pine body with brass crook and bell. It form is coiled; the six small finger holes are arbitrarily spaced. It bears an illegible inscription, "_____CONRIDI".

Research: Prof. James M. Borders

lute

ud, luth, Laute, lauto, liuto, leuto, laud

Stearns #1037

Europe

Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. This Lute is a composite instrument with widely varying levels of craftsmanship. The bowl and fingerboard are excellently made; the table, rosette, and sound hole are less so; the pegbox is poorly made. The various components likely date between the 17th and 19th Centuries. It has eighteen fine wire strings in nine courses. The integral fingerboard shows evidence of once having seven gut frets tied around it. The neck surface is veneered with ebony and rimmed with ivory.

Research: Dr. Bruce Mitchell Smith and Stearns Staff

orpheoreon

viola orpheoni

Stearns #1042

Europe

Naples, Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. While this “Orpharion” (it is not one) has a printed label that is visible through the sound hole that reads, “Petrvs Sabrianus. Neapoli annis 1534” – the portion reading “Neapoli annis 1534” has clearly been pasted on at a later point in time. This instrument is not shaped, nor strung like an orpharion; the only orpharion-like feature is the pin bridge that can sit on an angle. The construction is of mediocre quality—both in materials and craftsmanship. The work is evident of a style not uncommon in 19th Century Italy.

Research: Dr. Bruce Mitchell Smith and Stearns Staff

chitarrone

hambura

Stearns #1043

Europe

Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. The varying levels of craftsmanship indicate that this composite Chitarrone is made up of parts from at least three or four other instruments; alas, this is a “style” typical of Franciolini. The quality of the bowl and lower neck show the precision and care of an artist; the table and rosette are of inferior quality (the inlaid ivory has visible saw marks); and the upper neck is quite sloppy. While the Stearns Collection represents it as being of the late 19th Century; indeed the individual components of the instrument date earlier.

Research: Dr. Bruce Mitchell Smith and Stearns Staff

bass colascione

colachon, calascione, Gallichone, Galizona

Stearns #1045

Europe

Padova, Italy

This only functional use of this Colascione is as an open stringed bass instrument in an ensemble as the neck is over one meter long--it is humanly impossible to stop the strings with one’s fingers. It is likely that this instrument has passed through the corrupting hands of Leopoldo Franciolini, however, it is difficult to detect any alterations that may have been made. The piece is unique as it is constructed entirely of spruce.

Research: Dr. Bruce Mitchell Smith

"kakoka"

kanoka

Stearns #1073

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case, we have an instrument that was found in one of Franciolini’s catalogues marked as, “No. 9, Hinnari-Vina. An Indian instrument based on the Italian system. Covered in skin with gilted flowers.” We do not have knowledge of how the 1921 Stearns Catalogue came to name the instrument a “kakoka”. If Franciolini’s shop made this instrument, it reflects a rare moment for the craftsmanship and leatherwork are of respectable quality. It is possible, however, that the shop might only have added the neck—it is extremely long (1 m) which makes playing the instrument very difficult at best. The spruce table is shaped like a drooping apple pie with two “s-shaped” sound holes (lined with parchment). The leather-covered sides are puzzling as this is not a material conducive to free vibration. The back is leather-covered spruce with highly decorative gold designs. The neck is separate from the body; the ebony fingerboard has eleven tied-on gut frets and an ivory nut. It has six piano wire strings that fasten to pegs, cross a flat, ebony, movable bridge (prism-shaped), and attach to hooks in the lower side.

Research: Dr. Bruce Mitchell Smith

"papeha"

papaha

Stearns #1074

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case, we have an instrument that appears to be made by the same maker as Stearns #1073. We can only surmise that it passed through Franciolini’s hands because it has not been identified in any of his extant catalogues. The arrangement of strings suggests that of the mandolin (eight strings in four courses). The extremely shallow body depth—only three centimeters—greatly limits the resonating volume. There is no knowledge regarding how the 1921 Stearns Catalog came to refer to this instrument as a “Papeha” (uniquely creative nomenclature that has no other usage: hapax legomenon). The table is made of spruce and in form has severely sloping shoulders to the upper bouts, a waist, and wide lower bouts (no corners). The sides and back are of leather-covered wood with gold designs. The separate mahogany neck has an ebony fingerboard with ivory inlay. It has an ivory nut and eight gut frets tied to it. The peg board is veneered with ivory and ebony to match the fingerboard; there are eight boxwood pegs entering from the back to the front. It has a flat, prism-shaped ebony bridge and four wire hooks in the lower side.

Research: Dr. Bruce Mitchell Smith and Stearns Staff

guitar

chitarra, guitare, Gitarre, violao, guitarra, pessarola

Stearns #1098

Europe

Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case we have a delicate guitar-like instrument that exhibits moderately fine craftsmanship. Franciolini’s extant catalogues list a “Pessarolo di Zucca” that includes the following description, “inlaid mother-of-pearl, six strings, very fine”. This instrument probably passed through Franciolini’s hands, but in a rare twist, this particular instrument does not appear to have been altered by him.

Research: Dr. Bruce Mitchell Smith and Stearns Staff

lira-chitarra

Stearns #1123

Europe

Naples, Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case we have a Lyre-shaped Guitar that was made in Naples by the Gennaro Fabricatore I and sold to the Stearns Collection by Franciolini. Problematically, it is labeled as having been constructed in 1898, however, legitimate instruments of this type—and by this maker—suggest that proper date might be 1808. The designation “Fabricatore” means “maker” and was used by a number of Neapolitan lute and mandolin makers. It was probably not a family name and was used by any number of makers. Their work, however, decade by decade, has much in common. Makers with this name worked from about 1770 to 1830. Additionally, this instrument bears a very close resemblance to one of the same makers that was constructed in 1817 and is now located in the Brussels Conservatoire Royal de Musique, No. 1537. The instrument, therefore, it potentially legitimate and has merely been mislabeled by the unscrupulous Franciolini. It has twenty inlaid ivory frets and six strings that attach to a pin bridge on the lower table.

Research: Dr. Bruce Mitchell Smith

guitar

chitarra, guitare, Gitarre, violao, guitarra

Stearns #1126

Europe

Germany

This Double-Necked Guitar has evidence that the neck block originally only had a single, central neck, however, there is not evidence that a fingerboard was glued to the table surface in the center. It is possible that the instrument has passed through Leopoldo Franciolini’s hands as the body is well made, but the neck is only mediocre (search the catalog for "Franciolini"). It has a spruce table with bird’s eye maple sides and back. The right and left necks are joined together at the neck block and peg boards. The right fingerboard has no frets; the left has eighteen nickel-silver inlaid frets. The peg boards are angled back slightly; the left has six metal peg shafts, the right has six machine pegs (all on the right side). There are twelve strings that fasten to a black-painted pin bridge on the lower table.

Research: Dr. Bruce Mitchell Smith

violin

violon, Violine, Geige, violino

Stearns #1276

Europe

France

This Violin has a falsified label that reads, “Giovan Paolo Maggini, fecit in Brescia, 1608.” This instrument was obviously not made by Maggini—first of all, the condition of the instrument does not suggest 370 years of age. Secondly, there is no neck graft. Thirdly, there is evidence of intentional distressing of the instrument at each of the table’s corners. There is an inlay of a medieval chateau featured on the back of the instrument that is reportedly the Chateau de Chenouceau near Tours, owned at one time by one Duplin, Farmer-General. The spruce table of this likely Mirecourt model is not as long as those made by Maggini, but it is graceful and well-made. It has four ebony pegs and a carved scroll featuring a bearded, bald man.

Research: Dr. Bruce Mitchell Smith and William Monical

viola da braccio

Stearns #1291

Europe

Brescia, Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case, it appears that he has tried to imitate a lira da braccia by incorporating bourdon strings that run off the side of the fingerboard--which incidentally, are non-functional as they cannot vibrate freely because they scrape the fingerboard. Alterations in purfling on the upper corners indicates that the table and back have been cut down. The neck is not original. It is difficult to tell what this instrument originally was. The label is obviously a fake, "Gasparo da Salo, da Brescia," and the craftsmanship is of the poorest quality.

Research: Dr. Bruce Mitchell Smith and Stearns Staff

viola

alto, Bratsche

Stearns #1292

Europe

Cremona, Italy

This instrument may have come to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case, we have a viola that has a forged printed label that reads, "Gio Maria de Bussetto fece in Cremona 1546." While the instrument is rich with original features, it is obviously a forgery. The maker Bussetto is known to have worked from 1640 to 1681; however, the forgery artist missed the date by a century. Only a few of Bussetto's instruments have survived. This instrument appeared in Franciolini's illustrated catalogues with the following text, "Large size viola, four strings, of maple, Signed Gio. Maria del Bussetto, fece in Cremona, 1846. 300 lire."

Research: Dr. Bruce Mitchell Smith and William Monical

viola da braccio

Stearns #1293

Europe

Italy

This instrument may have come to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case, a viola-type instrument has been heavily altered by Franciolini's shop. It appears to be a seven-string, guitar-shaped viola type instrument with a lyra da braccia peg board. The table and back have been cut down. New sides have been added to match the new shape. At one time the instrument was greater in size as can be inferred by the scale of the sound holes--that have been filled in--which are located too close to the edge of the body. The upper bouts and varnish on the back have been altered in order to accommodate a different neck (as revealed by a change in purfling lines). The neck and peg board do not exhibit the same qualities of craftsmanship as the body. The neck has been painted with black lines to simulate flamed maple.

Research: Dr. Bruce Mitchell Smith and William Monical

viola d'amore

viole d'amour, Liebesgeige

Stearns #1296

Europe

This instrument may have come to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case, we have a fragmented composite instrument from no currently understood school. It is one of the few instruments in the Stearns Collection to have its original Franciolini label on it. The instrument is impossible to play as it is much to large to be placed under the chin (it is only playable between the knees). There is evidence of pegbox and scroll alternation. It is possible that the body started life as a larger instrument that was cut down because the sound holes appear to inappropriately scaled to this instrument.

It is quite possible that the label which reads, "Louis Guersan, Pres la Commedie Francaise, a Paris, 1737" is an original that Franciolini appropriated for use on this composite instrument. Most of Guersan's instruments were failures tonally, despite their highly decorative carvings that were often copied.

Research: Dr. Bruce Mitchell Smith and William Monical

harpsichord

cravicembalo, gravicembalo, cimbalone

Stearns #1332

Europe

Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. It was formerly attributed to J.B. Giusti, however, Dr. David Sutherland has identified it as very likely being one of four extant Giovanni Ferrini harpsichords; it was probably built around 1750. Ferrini was an apprentice and long-time assistant to Bartolomeo Cristofori, the great 18th Century keyboard maker of Italy and inventor of the piano.

Research: Stearns Staff

harpsichord

gravicembalo, cimbalo

Stearns #1333

Europe

Florence, Italy

This harpsichord features an inscription of “Christoforus Rigunini, Firenze, A.D. 1602,” which, if true, makes it one of the oldest keyboards in the Stearns Collection. It comes to us, however, through the nefarious instrument dealer, Leopoldo Franciolini. One could say that it is the only surviving instrument ever crafted by the maker Rigunini, however, given that not a single person by the name of Rigunini ever seems to have drawn breath, we might assume that Franciolini invented the name and forged the date. When John Koster examined the instrument in 2006, however, he wrote, “The original single-strung disposition, seldom made after the early seventeenth century, would suggest a relatively early date for the instrument.”

This harpsichord is elaborately decorated and would have appeared to be a treasure when it was purchased in 1901. On the inside of the fallboard is an image of three monks, one playing a trumpet-like instrument, another a violin, and the last singing. An image of a music book is painted above a stand for the performer’s actual music, and the inside of the case has an image of a cherub playing a keyboard to accompany dancing figures.

Research: Christopher Dempsey

harpsichord

clavecin, cembalo, clavicembalo, Flugel

Stearns #1336

Europe

Italy

Represented by Leopoldo Franciolini in 1900 as being a Three Manual Harpsichord crafted by none other than Bartolomeo Cristofori–the inventor of the piano–this instrument is actually comprised of several instruments that have been cobbled together. Other than the obvious problems associated with a muliplicity of origins: we now also know that Cristofori never made a triple harpsichord. An evaluation of the construction of this instrument confirms that, of the several instruments that comprise this harpsichord--some details do indeed point back to the 18th Century Cristofori shop; but, not for the entire instrument. With this story in mind, it should not come as a surprise that Franciolini–as a less than scrupulous businessman–during this period sold many forged and other questionable instruments to unwary collectors. In 1910, Franciolini was found guilty of commercial fraud for having sold forged instruments, but not before hundreds of instruments had been sold with doubtful pedigrees. So widespread was his influence that many of the major collections of musical instruments in the world has or has had instruments altered by him.

Research: Christopher Dempsey

portable piano

Stearns #1341

Europe

Italy

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case, we have portable piano with a three octave compass from f. It has a rectangular body of dark wood with no dampers. The piano has German action with escapement. Little is known about this specimen except that was known to have been sold by the nefarious Franciolini.

Research: Stearns Staff

organo di legno

positive organ, positif, Positiv

Stearns #1347

Europe

Italy

This instrument may have come to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case, we have an Italian Organo di Legno described in the 1921 Stearns Catalogue as: being in an upright wooden case with eighteen silvered "dummy " pipes in front. There are three draw stops; foot pedals are attached to lowest octave of keys. Each register contains forty-five pipes, all of metal, with the exception of the twelve lowest pipes of the Stopped Diapason which are of wood. In addition to this "stop" the organ contains the Flute and Super-octave. The bellows are blown by means of a handle. Its tone is very sweet and soft, as the pipes have a small percentage of tin. By means of rods running through iron rings the instrument could be transported. Its compass- from E to c".

When this instrument was restored in the 1980s by Dana Hull, she contacted Umberto Pineschi, an Italian instrument expert to discuss her findings. While Pineschi found the organ in its pre-restoration condition to be from the early 1800s, he also noted that it had been modified both before and after the early 1800s. Pineschi found one set of pipes to be almost identical to an extant set of Italian organ pipes from the 1500s. Hull's investigations also pointed out other curiosities: the instrument did not have a divided keyboard, as would be expected; the instrument had hardware that predated the 1800s (lock, handles); and, finally, the windchest and organ case showed clear evidence of having been expanded from a much smaller instrument--possibly an early Italian portativ organ. This organ, with its rich history of transformation, it thought to be the only antique instrument of its type in the United States.

Research: Dana Hull and Stearns Staff

portative organ

ninfale

Stearns #1350

Europe

Italy

This most interesting assemblage of spare parts is trying to pass itself off as a late gothic portative organ. While the many errors in materials use and form are laughable for experts, this instrument does embody highly unusual organ building techniques in addition to demonstrating the desperation of collectors in locating an original example. Stearns does posses pieces of what appears to be a slightly larger 16th Century positif organ–a relative in the same organ family (Stearns #1347)–and the only known example of this genre from this time.

Research: Stearns Staff

harp

arpa

Stearns #1376

Europe

Italy?

This instrument may have come to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In this case we have a very poorly crafted Harp with with a round pillar that is fastened to the wood crossbar with a sheet of brass and nails. The crossbar is attached to the spruce (?) resonance chamber with a brass plate, nails, and glue. Twenty-six crude wrest pins extend out of the left side of the crossbar (arranged in two rows). The resonance chamber has one oval sound hole. This harp has twenty-six strings that are obviously sourced from a piano; they attach to wooden screws on the sound board. Like some other Franciolini instruments, the inferior quality that was tolerated speaks more about the knowledge--or lack of it--of the collectors than it does the maker.

Research: Dr. Bruce Mitchell Smith and Stearns Staff

zither

cetra Napoletana

Stearns #1382

Europe

Italy?

This instrument comes to the Stearns Collection from a highly questionable source--Leopoldo Franciolini. Many Franciolini instruments are forgeries or interesting hybrids of original instruments and scrap wood. In the case of this Zither, the table is made of spruce with two circular sound holes. The sound holes have rosettes of six-pointed stars cut from parchment, both ringed by a band of pearl designs set into shellac. The fingerboard is does not have any frets and it is glued to the extreme right side. There are thirteen strings; four strings are stopped, nine are open. The instrument is irreparably damaged (cracks, water damage, and worm holes).

Research: Dr. Bruce Mitchell Smith and Stearns Staff





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