to the homepage of the Greifenberg Institute of Organology
The Greifenberg Institute of Organology is a private non profit GmbH ("Ltd.") under German law in Greifenberg near the Ammersee for research, documentation and re-construction of historic keyboard - at present with a focus on grand pianofortes before 1800.
The research, reconstruction and repetition of historic craftsmanship and working procedures in keyboard instrument making are a major part of our activities, combined with research of contemporary musical and cultural contexts of these instruments.
As a member, and in accordance with the guidelines of the international organisations of museums ICOM and CIMCIM we consider "restorations" of original historic instruments for playability purposes a severe danger of grave damage for, if not loss of, our cultural heritage.
Therefore our institute develops ways - by various methods presented on our homepage - to scientifically document, reveal and re-engineer technical, practical and sound features of the cultural heirloom "original musical instrument."
a virtual voyage to the keyboard instruments of the 17th to the 19th century
(informations only in German)
(project in progress)
(most informations only in German)
In his essay "Über die bildende Nachahmung des Schönen" (On the formative imitation of beauty) published in 1788 Goethe's friend Karl Philipp Moritz expressed a basic principle of our research. We consider the intact substance of the instrument a capital permitting us to apprehend not only a fundamental part of our musical culture and its sociocultural environment as well as base of research.
Understanding an instrument's structure and knowledge
manifest in it requires a overall exploration of its manufacture
process. A documentation of the instrument, analysis of materials, and
forensic exploration of traces of the tools used in manufacture
establish a base for all the following proceedings.
Thus applying methods of experimental archeology we develop procedures of "formative imitations of beauty" to achieve an understanding of the keyboard culture of its period.
The complete repetition of all stages of works reveals the formative process leading to the finished instrument, closely linked to the conditions and desires of its time.
A scientific reconstruction thus represents a wider range of information than a mere copy. It offers a base for experiments of musical and technical function preserved in the original instrument but inaccessible without altering the historical substance.
The methods developped in our Institute preserve the
original as an unaltered source of information and remnant of culture,
enable a way of formative imitation of beauty to collect experiences of
an epoch which established the fundaments of our present cultural
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