Blanchet 1801, piano tuners’ manual


A keyboard tuning manual specifically dealing with pianos.

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BLANCHET, Armand François Nicolas (1763–1818)

Méthode abrégée pour accorder le clavecin et le forte-piano.

Paris: chez Lacloye, Libraire, Rue du Pourtour-Gervais, no. 13, et rue du Coq-Honoré, no. 120. Vendémaire an neuf, 1801.

8vo, A8 (blank A8), 8 leaves, pp. 13 [3] (last 3 pages blank). Woodcut or cast device on title; printed on blue tinted paper.

2 folding engraved plates (printed on 1 sheet), platemarks 212 x 300, numbered Pl. 1ere–2me. ‘Gravé par Souhart’. 

Condition: 218 x 139mm. Insignificant foxing, plate paper slightly discoloured. 

Binding: Stitched as issued. 

Provenance: The author’s advertisement on the verso of the titlepage, giving his address as rue de la Verrerie, has been crossed through and a new address, rue de Bellefonds No. 12 added under his name on the titlepage. The price has also been altered in ink to 2 francs by carefully scraping away the original price which is no longer visible. 

First edition. A second edition was published by Blanchet’s widow in 1818. References. RISM Ecrits, p. 152.

An early manual specifically dealing with piano tuning as well as harpsichord tuning. The first plate shows the keyboard of both instruments, the second the piano wrest plank strung with steel and copper. The Blanchet family had been making harpsichords since the end of the seventeenth century and some of the first pianos to be made in Paris, in the 1790s. The firm’s relationship with the court began in the 1740s with the building of a harpsichord for Mesdames à Fontevrault and with increased repair work sent by Christophe Chiquelier, keeper of the King’s instruments; during the 1750s the firm became ‘facteur des clavessins du Roi’.

The advertisement on the verso of the titlepage offers the new strings made of twisted silk recently invented by Baud in Versailles for violins, violas, cellos and guitars.

This edition is located by OCLC at the BNF, Bern, Leipzig, Staatliches Institut for Musikforschung, Newberry and Eastman School of Music; the 1818 edition is at the BL and NYPL.