John Betts of London

This instrument is an excellent example of early English square pianos. Betts was a piano dealer, not a maker, so it is presumed that this instrument was made by someone else, and commissioned by Betts to be sold. It is probable that is was made by either Houston or Ganer, due to the similarities in hitch-pin placement, and the ornate decorations on the case of the piano.

This instrument provides an example of the Zumpe action. Zumpe (or English Single) action was designed by Johannes Zumpe, as is a simpler version of the normal action found in pianos, designed by Bartolomeo Cristofori (seen as the ‘father’ of the modern piano). Betts square piano is slightly smaller than the average square piano, and has a compass of only five octaves. The instrument has two hand stops (levers pulled by the hand); a damper lift and a buff stop. This piano is typical of the English instruments used by CPE Bach, Clementi, and Eckard.

This instrument was donated to the ANU Keyboard Institute in 2009 by Dr Andrew Nolan.

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