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Johann Nepomuk Maelzel

(1772—1838)


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(b Regensburg, 1772; d aboard ship, La Guiara, Venezuela, 1838).

Ger. inventor of mechanical musical devices. Settled in Vienna 1792. Constructed panharmonicon, a mechanical orch. (exhibited in Vienna 1908) for which his friend Beethoven wrote his Battle Symphony (1813). Made mus. chronometer based on Stöckel's invention and, in 1814, a metronome, based on an idea from Winkel of Amsterdam. The 2nd movt. of Beethoven's 8th sym. begins with a theme said to derive from a canon extemporized by Beethoven at a supper in honour of Maelzel, the tickings of the chronometer being represented by staccato 16th‐notes, i.e. ‘Ta‐ta‐ta‐ta … lieber Maelzel’.


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