Athanasius Kircher, Jesuit theologian, mathematician, and music theorist, received court appointments in mathematics from Emperor Ferdinand II in Vienna and patronage from Pope Urban VIII. Kircher's "Phonurgia nova," dedicated to Leopold I, is a work on acoustics, dealing primarily with the reflection, dispersion, and focusing of sound. In an appendix, Kircher describes several musical instruments invented by his contemporary Michele Todini. One of Todini's keyboard instruments, constructed and first exhibited in Rome about 1676 and similar to the one show here, is on display in the Museum's André Mertens Galleries for Musical Instruments.
Illustrated: p. 168, a composite keyboard instrument designed by Michele Todini, from Phonurgia nova