Quarter-Tone and Sixth-Tone Musical Instruments Built according to Designs by Alois Hába
|Keywords||Alois Hába – August Förster – microtones – quarter-tone piano – quarter-tone pianino – quarter-tone harmonium – sixth-tone harmonium – quarter-tone clarinet – experiments in music of the twentieth century|
|Citation||ČÍŽEK, Bohuslav . Quarter-Tone and Sixth-Tone Musical Instruments Built according to Designs by Alois Hába. Musicalia. Journal of the Czech Museum of Music / Časopis Českého muzea hudby . Prague: National Museum, 2013, 5(1-2), 35-56. DOI: https://doi.org/. ISSN 1803-7828 (Print), 2533-5634 (Online). Also available from: https://publikace.nm.cz/en/periodicals/mjotcmom/5-1-2/quarter-tone-and-sixth-tone-musical-instruments-built-according-to-designs-by-alois-haba|
For Alois Hába’s conception of microtonal music to be implemented in practice it was necessary to produce some special musical instruments. The first of them, presented in Prague in 1924, was a quarter-tone grand piano. Subsequent years saw the building of quarter-tone and sixth-tone harmoniums as well as quarter-tone pianinos, all by the firm of August Förster in Jiříkov (Georgswalde). Also produced, however, were quarter-tone clarinets, trumpets, and a guitar. These microtonal instruments were used in many solo and chamber compositions by Hába and in his opera Matka (Mother). A total of twelve of them have survived to this day – in the Czech Museum of Music, the Prague Conservatory, and the Music and Dance School of Prague’s Academy of Performing Arts. The article presents an overview and brief characterization of them and describes some of the historical circumstances of their origin.