I have not yet answered to a couple of posts answering my last
contribution. I'll try to work on that later - but it might alos grow
into an article.
In the meantime a couple of comments concerning Froberger's possible
choices of temperament:
At least one organ in Vienna is still known to have had split keys
the Johannes-Wöckherl-organ of the Franziskanerkirche. The instrument
was built in 1642 – not long after Froberger returned from his studies
with Frescobaldi in Rome (I'm just pointing to the close dates, not
implying that Froberger had influence on the organ's tonal design!).
The splits were g#/ab, eb'/d#' and g#'/ab'. They were removed as late as
1832-1833 – Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert might have known the organ with
its split keys.
(S. Ibo Ortgies: "Subsemitones in Organs Built between 1468 and 1721.
Introduction and Commentary with an Annotated Catalog", 56
In: GOArt Research Reports, Vol. 3, ed. Sverker Jullander, 11-74.
Göteborg: Göteborg Organ Art Center, 2003)
That we don't know more about other organ with split keys in Vienna
doesn't meant that there weren't others. Christopher Stembridge's, mine
and other's researches have lead to a constant addition of
newly-detected organs with split keys to the records. The list is now at
more than 80 instruments (a italian recension of my quoted article
revealed further six instruments ion Italy, among others in large city
Therefore it can not be excluded, or it might be considered to be
likely, that there have been more such organs in the Imperial city of
Froberger served at the Viennese Imperial court. Inventories of the
court show, that there were 2 "enharmonic" instruments in the second
half of the 17th century, probably older instruments. Such instruments
were equipped with at least 19 notes per octave. One of the instruments
was built by Francesco Nigetti (1603-1681) - who was an also organist,
who completed his studies with Frescobaldi, when the latter served at
Also at the Imperial court chapel in Innsbruck was a similar instrument
available, transferred to Vienna in 1667. It seems to have had two
manuals, all black keys split (may be split into more than two parts?).
It was mentioned 1665 and again in 1741.
(s. Gerhard Stradner: "Saitenklaviere in österreichischen Inventaren."
In: Das Österreichische Cembalo. 600 Jahre Cembalobau in Österreich, ed.
Alfons Huber, 329–342. Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 2001.).
Stradner mentions btw, that the Viennese court had in 1706 314
instruments including 35 keyboard instruments: 13 organs (!), 3
claviorgana, 13 harpsichords, 5 spinets and 1 clavicitherium. No
clavichords were listed).
Were the 13 organs all bought after Froberger's ended his tenure at the
In the beginning of the 17th century the enharmonic harpsichord, owned
by the court organist (!) Carl Luython in Prague, was described by
Praetorius. It was however was sold in 1613 (Praetorius info on
Luython's ownership was outdated, when he published about it).
(s. the well-known "Organographia" Praetorius 1619, but also
A. Koczirz: "Zur Geschichte des Luython'schen Klavizimbels." Sammelbände
der Internationalen Musikgesellschaft, Vol. IX (1907-1908): 565-570)
According to Praetorius owned the Archducal court chapel in Graz
(Austria) an Italian organ positiv with 19 notes per octave:
"Vor etlich wenig jahren ist auch ein herrlich Positiff an de[n]
Ertzhertzogischen Hof naher Grätz aus Italia gebracht worden / darinnen
gleichergestalt [MP refers to the 19-note instrument described in the
same chapter] alle Semitonia doppelt und vollnkömmlich zu finden / und
ein trefflich Werck seyn sol." (Praetorius 1619, 66)
It is clear that instruments, both organs and stringed keyboard
instruments, with some split keys as well as "enharmonic", existed in
the sphere of the Habsburgian courts throughout Froberger's tenure. Even
more, it is safe to say that north of the Alps the Habsburgian court was
a center of "enharmonicity".
Froberger's studies in Rome with Frescobaldi must have made him
acquainted with at least two larger organs with split keys, there (f.
ex. the large Blasi-organ in San Giovanni in Laterano, 1598-99, split
keys for eb/d# and g#/ab from bass-G# up to g#'/ab'. Reconstructed in
The new Grove mentions:
"In the dedication of his 1624 Capricci (A.5) Frescobaldi declared
himself a pupil of Luzzaschi, who was considered one of the great
organists of his time as well as one of the few players capable of
performing on (and even composing for) Nicola Vicentino's arcicembalo.
(In 1619 Frescobaldi was described as the only keyboard player in Rome
capable of playing a similar instrument in the possession of Cardinal
(S. Frederick Hammond/Alexander Silbiger: 'Frescobaldi, Girolamo
Alessandro', Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed 20 March 2004),
I have pointed elsewhere to Doni's untrustworthy, unflattering ancedote
which connects Frescobaldi with Equal temperament in organ - and this
information supports Frescobaldi's connection with meantone and/or Just
Though there seems not to be a direct link between Frescobaldi and the
d'Este-court in Ferrara it may be noteworthy that this court owned 2
claviorgana with an unknown number of split keys.
The above enharmonic instrument in the Court chapel of Innsbruck was
built by a Caesar de Pollastris from Ferrara. I couldn't find the year
dates of this builder - if he worked before 1600 then Frescobaldi might
have known his instruments from his time in Ferrara. And Praetorius
mentions a builder of enharmonic instruments named Iulius Caesar (not
the Roman emperor, if anybody suspected that). Where they an identical
person? "Iulius Caesar de Pollastris"?
It is striking to see Froberger's output within the whole frame:
- His musical studies with a master, who was so to say closesly
connected to some of several Italian centra of meantone and
- His tenure at the Habsburgian court, a center of meantone and
just intonation, equipped with suitable instruments
We do neither know what kind of instruments he owned himself, nor which
kind of organs/keyboard instruments he had available after he wasn't
reappointed to the Viennese court organist position in 1657 (after the
death of the emperor).
It is however another striking observation, the connection to Christiaan
Huygens, the famous mathematician, physicist, astronomer and music
theorist. Huygens had a strong interest in tone systems and had since
the early 1660s ideas about the 31-note equal system (which comes
closest to a 1/5-pyth.comma-meantone temperament) – he published it only
in 1691. He met Froberger in September 1665 at the court in Mainz and
the continued to exchange letters until Froberger's death in May 1667.
In short the meantone/just intonation web around Froberger
- Luzzaschi, the famous player of the 31-/36-note instruments,
- Frescobaldi who played such an instrument in Rome 1619
- Huygens supporting 31-note-meantone-system having contact
- And then we have Michael Buliowsky de Dulycz, a pupil of Froberger,
whose copy (Ms., Strasbourg 1675) of Froberger pieces was
discovered some years ago. He a treatise on the 31-note-system in
1680, both in German and Latin (Brevis de Emendatione Organi Musici
Tractatio. Kurtze Vorstellung von Verbesserung des Orgelwercks.
Straßburg: Johann Eberhard Zetzner, 1680. Facsimile edition =
Bibliotheca Organologica. Vol. 68. Peter Williams (ed.). Buren:
Uitgeverij Frits Knuf, 1988.)
Of course, all this evidence does not exclude, that Froberger might have
experimented with temperaments on strunged keyboard instruments which
wouldn't have offered these possibliities.
We simply don't know.
The historical evidence and the likeliness speaks for instruments tuned
in meantone, (in single cases) just intonation, and/or 19- to 31-note
instruments for Froberger's music.
Any well-tempered system has little likeliness as far as the evidence of
his lifetime is concerned. What the 18th century musician would have
chosen or experimented with as a suitable temperament for Froberger is a
It is of course possible and fully justifiable to experiment today, too.
By that one can come to personal conclusions about, which (kind of)
temperament is suitable for a given Froberger piece or his whole known
output. And of course everyone can find any well-tempered or even
12-note-equal temperament convincing with Froberger.
But, however convincing someone or many think that the outcome of such
experiments is, it will still be be based only on modern personal
preferences and esthetics. And that modern experience does not allow to
conclude backwards, what might/must have been the preferences of
The same is true for other music, too, like Bach's, for example:
Bradley Lehman has come to personal conclusions with Bach's music and
has proposed a modern interpretation which he even claims to "Bach's
temperament". He has tried it out and some other musicians, too, and
they think it is a good temperament. That's fine, and everyone can have
any opinion. But even if all present musicians would agree (which isn't
the case, of course), it would not tell us anything about what would
have been agreeable in Bach's time.
Therefore we still all have to wait for part II and have to hope that
Bradley will finally present the decisive evidence from sources around
Bach, which until now lacks completely. After all the proud but until
now unsupported claims in part I (and here on the list) it will be
exciting to see the sources, which no one yet knows about.