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Johann Christoph Denner (1655-1707), came to Nuremberg about 1666 and began learning to be a horn-turner with his father.  Later he started making woodwind instruments in the French style based on instruments he saw which were just then beginning to spread into Germany. In 1696 he petitioned for master's rights together with Johann Schell (1660--1732) and in 1697 the two were granted rights for the 'manufacture of French musical instruments consisting chiefly of oboes and recorders [flandadois]'.  Johann Christoph's two sons Jacob Denner (1681-1735) and Johann David Denner (1691-1764) both learned the craft of instrument making from their father. Jacob was working for the Medici court in Florence in spring 1708 and deliveries of instruments made by him, including clarinets (the earliest references to this instrument), are recorded from 1710 onwards. He was granted master's rights before 1716. Jacob was also a professional performer: he was mentioned as a member of the Nuremberg Stadtpfeiferei in 1705 and attained its highest post in 1727. His funeral sermon  provides many biographical details and praises his skill on the oboe, 'which he handled so finely ... and played so admirably that his like was never heard in Nuremberg'. Johann David was a 'musician, also maker of oboes, bassoons and flutes', according to the address at his funeral. He succeeded to his father's workshop but acquired master's rights unusually late, in 1736, when he was 45 years of age. Jacob apparently set up on his own, with the result that there were two different workshops producing instruments.


The outstanding importance of the Denners was recognized by their contemporaries. Of particular significance is Doppelmayr's appraisal expressly ascribing the invention of the clarinet to Johann Christoph, together with improvements to the racket and the chalumeau. Although no clarinet by Johann Christoph has been preserved (the existing instruments bearing the mark 'I.C. DENNER' are by Johann David), much evidence indicates that the instrument originated with the Denner family in Nuremberg. The fame of the Denners, based on their invention of the clarinet and on Doppelmayr's Historische Nachricht, was passed down through the centuries; Johann Christoph even attained the status of operetta hero in Der Klarinettenmacher, by Friedrich Weigmann and G.R. Kruse (Berlin, 1912). More than 150 woodwind instruments from the Denner workshops have been preserved (see Young): recorders of all pitches, both traditional models and those described as 'French flutes'; transverse flutes in three sections with a C foot as well as the earliest flutes in four sections; shawms and oboes of various sizes; chalumeaux and clarinets; rackets, dulcians and bassoons; and cornetts. Some of the early instruments show clearly the influence of French models, but further developed through the experience born of musical practice. There are both luxuriously grand and plainer models, but all are of high quality. It is difficult to ascribe instruments to individual makers since masters' marks were inherited in Nuremberg. Three distinct marks were used by members of the Denner family: 'D' on its own; 'I.C. DENNER' in scroll , with a 'D' and sometimes also an 'I' underneath; and 'I. DENNER' in scroll with 'ID' beneath it, with a tree between the letters.


(Abridged and Adapted from Grove's Online Encyclopedia of Music)


Maker Recorder Model Recorder Size Pitch Material Pieces




List Price


Mollenhauer Morgan Denner
Alto 440 Brazilian Boxwood Three DoubleEnglish

New - Very easy high notes. Excellent quality instrument at a very moderate price!

Kung J. C Denner
Alto 415 Boxwood w/Ivory Thumb Bushing Three SingleEnglish Used - very good condition. NLA$679
Moeck Denner
Alto 415 Castello Boxwood Three DoubleEnglish Uses, As New - Haunting tone, easy high notes! Great for Telemann and Bach! $1429$1095
Mollenhauer Morgan Denner (Special Edition)  
Alto 440 Brazilian Boxwood Three DoubleEnglish New - Soloistic tone! Special quality instrument at a very reasonable! $1495$1295
Joachim Rohmer Denner
Alto 415 Maple Three DoubleEnglish Used - Mint Condition!
Lovely tone and very light weight. Great ergonomics! 
$1950 $1650
 Jean-Luc Boudreau Denner

Sopranino 415 Grenadilla/Ivory TwoDoubleEnglish New - Very pleasing sweet tone, perfect for Couperin, Handel, Vivaldi, and Shannon! Hand-picked at ARS 2012! $1550

$1550 In Stock!

Ralf Netsch Denner

Alto 440 European Boxwood Three, w/soft case Double English  Used - Mint Condition. High-quality A440 alto for baroque music! $1620 $1720


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