A Guide to the Harpsichord by Ann Bond

By Ann Bond

This functional consultant treats the mechanics and evolution of the tool and gives a survey of its literature. the writer discusses contact and approach, together with articulation and fingering, and the problems all in favour of old functionality practices. She additionally presents feedback on deciding upon and protecting a harpsichord.

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Extra resources for A Guide to the Harpsichord

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Nor did the older generation of outstanding harpsichordists who are still active. Yet names like Kenneth Gilbert, Gustav Leonhardt, and Ton Koopman are now universally familiar, and they and the many excellent players following in their path continue to enlarge our musical world and give us tremendous pleasure. Notes 1. A Cambridge music degree course is a wonderful experience, but does not include actual instrumental tuition except in the case of organists and singers. 2. I am often asked if I can recommend a modern harpsichord instruction book for those unable to find good lessons.

The chance for the amateur to mix freely, both socially and musically, with professionals of several instruments, and to absorb some of the attitudes and atmosphere of their work, brings obvious benefits. Certainly both amateurs and professionals can now accept that early music has a secure and important place in musical life. Young performers entering careers in early music today may hardly even be aware that players of period instruments were once castigated as failures in the regular branch of the profession.

Different schools of builders favored different patterns of scaling: Italian harpsichords, for example, have short scaling in the treble, which accounts for the distinctive sharp curve of their bentside. A one-manual harpsichord (a single) usually has two eight-foot registers. These registers differ slightly in tone because one plucks proportionally a little nearer the end of the string than the other throughout, as is apparent when the jack rail is removed. The register that plucks nearest to the keyboard (the front 8) has a more nasal, rich sound than the mellower sound of the register that plucks nearer the middle of the string (the back 8), because the different point of pluck favors different harmonics, or overtones, of the sound.

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