Orphica by Joseph Dohnal (Kunsthistorisches Museum)

The orphica is a portable piano invented by Carl Leopold Röllig in the late 18th century. Like a guitar, the orphica could be held on a shoulder strap, thus being an early forerunner of the modern keytar.[1]

Only a few orphicas were made in Vienna from 1795 to 1810; about 30 orphicas are still in existence today.

Beethoven's compositions for orphica

Among the few composers writing for the orphica was Ludwig van Beethoven. According to a letter of Beethoven's friend Franz Gerhard Wegeler from December 23, 1827, Wegeler had 2 Stückchen für die Orphica, die Bhven für meine Frau componirte ('2 small pieces for the orphica which Beethoven composed for my wife').[2] This refers to the two pieces of 1798, WoO. 51, formerly erroneously titled Leichte Klaviersonate.



  1. ^ "Orphica". Music Instruments Index. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  2. ^ Beethoven aus der Sicht seiner Zeitgenossen, ed. Klaus Martin Kopitz and Rainer Cadenbach, Munich 2009, vol. 2, p. 788

Further reading