Musical instruments in the Museum Kircherianum

Bonanni, Filippo (1638-1725).

Gabinetto Armonico pieno d’Istromenti sonori indicati, e spiegati dal padre Filippo Bonanni della Compagnia di Giesù offerto al santo re David. Rome, Giorgio Placho, 1722.

Bonanni, Filippo (1638-1725) Gabinetto Armonico pieno d’Istromenti sonori indicati, e spiegati dal padre Filippo Bonanni della Compagnia di Giesù offerto al santo re David. Giorgio Placho, 1722.

4° (240x175 mm). [16], 177, [1, with the errata] pages. Frontispiece engraved by Giovanni Battista Sintes after Stefano Spargioni containing an excerpt from Psalm 150. A portrait of King David with a harp engraved by Arnold Van Westerhout after Spargioni, and 151 full-page engraved plates depicting musical instruments. The plates are numbered I-CXLVIII; two plates are numbered XII-XIII and XIII-XIV; numbers XXIX and LXXVIII are repeated; two plates are not numbered (pp. 94 and 138); pl. CIII is misplaced before p. 131. Plate no. XXXIII (p. 80) is folding and depicts the magnificent organ at Palazzo Verospi in Roma. The unsigned plates are attributed to Van Westerhout and Spargioni. Woodcut title vignette, elaborate woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces. Contemporary mottled calf, covers within triple gilt fillet. Spine with five raised bands, gilt-tooled; title in gold on morocco lettering-piece. Marbled flyleaves, red edges. Spine damaged, joints heavily restored. A good, genuine copy. Very light browning throughout, some plates more heavily browned.

First edition of the earliest attempt to describe and depict every known musical instrument from ancient times up to the period in which the author lived, and one of the most important eighteenth-century sources for the history of musical instruments. The edition is presented in the issue supplemented with the final Aggiunta containing seven additional pages of text and twelve more plates; the errata on the recto of the final leaf, which replaces the errata leaf that was bound in the first issue after fol. X5v, is also augmented with three new entries.

The author of this work, the Jesuit Filippo Bonanni, was chief librarian at the Collegio Romano, and succeeded his teacher Athanasius Kircher as Professor of Mathematics. He was also responsible for the Museum Kircherianum, and this volume presents the important collection of musical instruments once assembled in this museum. Bonanni describes a total of 151 ancient and modern instruments, including examples from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and America: among others, violas, violins, mandolins, and Spanish guitars; oboes, tubas, and double-flutes; bagpipes, bird calls, and clam-castanets; serpentone, palla di bronzo, xilorgano, and zampogne; Jewish, Roman, Chinese and Persian horns; and other exotic instruments like the 'Tamburro de Batam', and the 'Instrumento di Affricani'. Several instruments are also related to the New World, such as the 'Trombo della Florida'. The double-folding plate shows the 'Galleria armonica', i.e., the elaborate multi-keyboard built by Michele Todino and held at that time in the Roman palace of 'Signor Verospi'.

The present book, reprinted in 1723, was Bonanni's last publication.

RISM B-6, p. 161; Hirsch IV, 1476; The New Grove, 3, p. 14; A. Mayer-Deutsch, Das Musaeum Kircherianum. Kontemplative Momente, historische Rekonstruktion, Bildrhetorik, Zürich 2010; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 226.

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