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Quartertone - Grand Piano and Piano

The Quartertone Grand Piano

In cooperation with the Czech composer and music theorist Alois Haba, AUGUST FÖRSTER built the first version of a quarter tone grand piano in 1923. This grand piano consisted of 2 sound mechanisms stacked on top of each other in traditional construction and chromatic intonation which was tuned a quartertone apart.

A special keyboard in several levels made it possible to play the instrument together. Later a new key board was developed which eliminated the traditional separation of the keys completely.

Then a backframe was constructed which integrated the quartertonescale in a single sound mechanism so that 170 tone steps are accommodated in a standard piano.

The Quartertone Piano

In the fall of 1928 AUGUST FÖRSTER surprised the piano experts at the Leipzig Tradeshow when he exhibited the first quartertone piano. It was constructed for the composer Mr. Ivan Wyschnegradsky who lived in Paris. The beautiful cabinet had some similarity with an organ. The construction consisted of two sound mechanisms which were each made of: posts, soundboard, iron frame and strings. Similar to the grand piano one of the sound mechanisms was tuned a quartertone higher.

The last existing quartertone grand pianos are exhibited at the Prague National Museum in the section “Museum Czech Music” and at the "National Arab Music Institut" in Kairo