Zumpe, London ca. 1765-1767, modified by Meincke and Pieter Meyer, Amsterdam, ca. 1791

Why a square pianoforte ?

In the second half of the 18th. century composers started to write music for a new keyboard instrument, the pianoforte. In fact a harpsichord that could play piano (soft) and forte (loud). These instruments were large and expensive. About ca. 1765 Johann Christian Bach played the first recital on a square pianoforte, a Zumpe. A small instrument with hardly 5 octaves. From that moment, this type of pianoforte was becoming the most made pianoforte of that time, a new musical fashion was born. All ladies of the well to do households wanted such an instrument. So the square piano industry was flourishing, and with that composing of easy music for these eager “Kenner und Liebhaber”.

In this way, the most authentic way of playing classical piano music is to play it on a square piano. At the end of the 18th. century, for every grand pianoforte, about 4000 squares were made. That is telling something about the popularity of these instruments.

Although of reasonable quality, few instruments survived, because most of them were halfway the 19th. century replaced by the upright piano with its heavier sound. And those who survived the fall into disgrace are in most cases badly restored. The sad result was bad instruments with a bad name.

In the recent decade, a new wave of restoring square pianos has swept the pianoforte world. A lot of research has been done, authentic materials have been recreated and the way of restoring uses the old skills, tools and materials. In that way we try to undo the disasters that were wrougth upon these poor delicate instruments by the “local piano tuners” in the 80-ies of the last century. Today, more and more pianoforte players are playing square pianos to revive the authentic sound of the early pianoforte music, and to enjoy the delicate sound, as fine as lace, of these utterly charming instruments.

I see it as my duty to provide these pianoforte players with as good as possible square pianos at affordable prices.






16.02.2020 11:15

George Dublon

Hi in English— I have a Kirkman grand pianoforte circa 1820 needs some work doing to it

26.05.2019 16:46

D. Rietveld

Geachte heer van Hees, ik heb een oude pianoforte of hammerklavier in de garage in slechte staat. Voor ik hem weg doe wilde ik vragen of u hem wil hebben uiteraard gratis.