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Keeping it light - Flute Clock Pieces - Franz Josef Haydn

It has been awhile since I posted anything, and it’s because there has been much weighing heavily on my heart that I have been at a loss for words. I’m sure that many of you may be feeling that way, too.

So I’ve decided to lighten our mood a little bit. These little pieces written for a musical clock will make you smile!

A musical clock marks the hours of the day with a musical tune. The earliest known flute clock was made in 1598 by Nicholas Vallin. The pipe organ clock “chimed” the hour with a melody from a small pipe organ built into the unit. Clock makers fashioned a cylinder with cut-out holes which would allow air into tiny pipes to create a melody. Many famous composers wrote for the musical clock, the Flötenuhr; notable among them - Händel, Mozart, Haydn, C. P. E. Bach, and Beethoven.

The Black Forest clock company, known for their cuckoo clocks, started producing flute clocks in the mid-18th century and they gained in popularity among those who could afford them, and a sign of the times. According to writer, Timothy Judd, “It’s a device which epitomized the scientific rationality of the Enlightenment. Coming long before electronic synthesizers, the inner workings of the mechanism must have inspired a sense of thrill and fascination.”

Haydn served for many years as court musician for Prince Esterhazy of Hungary, and wrote music specifically for the prince’s orchestra, as well as chamber groups (the genesis of the string quartet as a genre is attributed to him.) Joseph Niemecz was the librarian and resident clock maker at the Esterházy palace and created a number of elaborate organ clocks, some with multiple stops, for which Haydn composed.

I hope that these little pieces help to brighten your day!

Matthew 11:30 - ‘For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

You can hear a few of Haydn's pieces here:

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1 Comment

kristi bruton
Jul 03, 2020

I'm surprised I recognized all of these! What a breath of fresh air. Thanks, Kelly!

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