Tune of the Day: Piece for Musical Clock No. 3
This and four other pieces surfaced after Beethoven's death, bringing with them several very puzzling mysteries. Most challenging of them all was the instrument for which they were written. Piano, strings, harp and most other common instruments were instantly ruled out, building on the perplexing mystery and adding to the frustration. Eventually, Albert Kopfermann set forth a convincing argument that their strange scoring seemed a perfect fit for the Flötenuhr or Spielühr, a mechanical clock.
While the musical clock of the eighteenth century might seem like a toy to the twenty-first century ear and eye, its owners (usually members of the aristocracy) regarded it as a quite sophisticated device, not least because it was the only way to hear music away from the concert hall and parlors. Its chime-like tones may have limited its expressive range, but it seems that famous composers like Beethoven took compositions for the musical clock quite seriously.