Praetorius's theater of instruments

Theatrum title pageVia the Open Library and Google Books, you can download a pdf file containing images of the entire text of a 19th-century German reprint of Michael Praetorius's De organographia (1618). As best I can tell from a quick look, this is a composer's handbook of instruments, with special emphasis on the organ. Aside from some interesting tables setting out the ranges and types of instruments, the real delight here is a section entitled Theatrum Instrumentorium (go to page 267). Here are engravings of the major European instruments of the time, but also instruments originating in Turkey, India, and probably other parts of the world.

The title page interests me from another point of view–it is strongly reminiscent of the title page to William Billings's Psalm Singer's Amusement. I wonder just how old this visual trope of balconies filled with musicians might be!

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