Beni Culturali Soprintendenza Speciale per il Patrimonio Storico Artistico ed Etnoantropologico per il Polo Museale della città di Roma

The Barberini Harp

The Barberini Harp 

The harp was built between 1605 and 1620 for the Barberini family, whose coat of arms with the three bees crowns the finely carved and gilded pillar. The instrument was given by the Barberini family to Marco Marazzoli, a respected singer, instrumentalist and composer born in Parma around 1602. A prominent figure in the musical life of seventeenth-century Rome and closely linked to the Barberini circle, the musician was known as Marco dell'Аrра because of his renowned virtuosity in playing the instrument. In 1662, on his deathbed, the harp was returned to his patron, Cardinal Antonio Barberini.

Together with the instrument, Marco Marazzoli also left to the Cardinal a beautiful painting of the Allegory of Music, which the painter Giovanni Lanfranco, his friend and fellow countryman, had painted expressly for him. The painting, kept in Rome at the National Gallery of Ancient Art in Palazzo Barberini, depicts a young Venus playing the precious Barberini Harp, albeit with some differences with respect to the instrument preserved here, and which are still the subject of debate among scholars today.
From a musical point of view the most important feature of the instrument is represented by the three rows of strings: two identical rows for notes in the diatonic scale, and another in the centre, allowing one to play the accidentals, thus making the harp a fully chromatic instrument before the invention of the pedal system at the beginning of the 1700s.

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Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo
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00186 Roma, Italia
tel. 39 06 67231
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Polo Museale del Lazio
Piazza San Marco, 49
00186 Roma, Italia
Tel. +39 06 69994251  -  06 69994342
e-mail: pm-laz@beniculturali.it
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Museo Nazionale degli Strumenti Musicali
Piazza Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, 9/A  00185 Roma
tel.: +39 06 7014796
e-mail: museonazionalestrumentimusicali@beniculturali.it

 

  

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Page created 12/12/2011, last modify 22/01/2016