A Guide to the Harpsichord by Ann Bond

By Ann Bond

This functional consultant treats the mechanics and evolution of the tool and provides a survey of its literature. the writer discusses contact and procedure, together with articulation and fingering, and the problems fascinated with old functionality practices. She additionally offers feedback on opting for and preserving a harpsichord.

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Additional info for A Guide to the Harpsichord

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There are three lines of approach to deciding about the articulation. We can · apply our own musical sense, · listen carefully to what the instrument itself can tell us, · inquire about the general practice of the time of composition. < previous page page_59 next page > < previous page page_60 next page > Page 60 Many treatises and instruction books of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are now available in reprints. These writings occasionally contain information about articulation, and musicologists now study them closely and write about their conclusions.

They were almost invariably single-manual, with two eight-foot registers; and these two were normally played together, being separated only for tuning. Cypress wood was often used for the soundboard and case. , accompanying an ensemble). In fact, there was no particularly extensive literature for the solo instrument. An Italian harpsichord is easily recognizable by its shape; it is sharply curved behind the cheek because of its short scaling, and it has a long thin tail. It is usually strung throughout in brass.

The inside of the lid might be decorated with classical pastoral paintings, often by well-known painters, and the soundboard was painted with floral motifs. Tonally, the mature eighteenth-century instrument was equally sophisticated. It was lightly quilled and possessed a great smoothness < previous page page_38 next page > < previous page page_39 next page > Page 39 and sweetness of tone; its action was also refined and particularly well suited to the highly ornamented French style. Whereas some seventeenth-century French instruments had both eight-foot registers on the lower manual (the "grand clavier") and the four-foot alone on the upper, the classic arrangement of one eight-foot on each manual plus the four-foot on the lower became normal by the eighteenth century.

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