Talk at the University of Indiana - 1973
Restoring and Reconstructing
[Edited by B.J. Fine]
I see by today's program that I am expected to address you on the
subject of restoring and reconstructing the harpsichord. This title, of course, has two
meanings: the first would be the reviving of the harpsichord, the making it available to
contemporary musicians and the returning it to use. The essential nature of the instrument
would have to be rediscovered and those observations implemented in wood and wire. The
second interpretation of the subject would involve the repairing or rebuilding of existing
examples of old harpsichords. I plan to deal in some detail with both the revival and the
restoration of the harpsichord.
Since the revival of an obsolete but accessible technology is largely a
matter of motivation - the obstacles are easily surmountable - I can perhaps best define
my own motivation by giving you an account of how it came into being.
In 1946 I had been newly discharged from the army after three dreary but
fortunately unadventurous years, and largely motivated by a desire to take up my life
where I had last dropped it, was enrolled in the Graduate School at Harvard, where I
proposed to continue my study of English literature, a field I now realize aroused in me
only a tepid interest. It wasn't the literature itself. I enjoyed that well enough, a good
percentage of it at any rate. In those days at Harvard, the study of literature was
regarded mainly as a means of studying the history of ideas. What energy was left after
the pursuit, capture and analysis of this elusive game was devoted to what was then
referred to in hushed tones as "The New Criticism." This new criticism seemed to
amount to a word by word dissection of a text with the end of baring its most intimate
rhetorical devices, of discovering the pinions of the artist's craft which were presumed
to engage with the rack of human sensibilities to produce the exquisite sensations of
literature. Ideas stripped of the means of their expression and the color and detail of
their provenance, for me at least, are not to conjure with. Thus, in the context of my
studies, the grand progress of literary expression, like the triumph of Maximilian, was
symbolized by a sort of bare chassis of historical cart laboriously drawn by professors in
yoke, occupied by the skeleton of the poet, all sparsely delineated by the new criticism
carping in chorus.
However, the past, not only the writing of the past but all of its
manifestations, was magical for me. If my fairy godmother had granted me a wish, I should
have chosen a time machine in which I could travel to see for myself. But the sort of
chewed extract of the past which I was expected to ingest and indeed to excrete on demand
was not meaningful to me. In terms of the moment I should have said that it was not
relevant. Now, it certainly was relevant to the past. The ideas were there. The rhetorical
devices, consciously employed or not, had their stated effects. The ideas were
influential, the rhetoric timeless. Thus it was also relevant to the present and future.
What I mean to say is that it was not relevant to me. My peculiar combination of talents
and sensibilities could not be exercised effectively in that milieu. What I required was
an effort of the imagination sufficient to discover a field to which I could usefully
contribute and in which my peculiar talent and passion could become involved.
The fact that I turned toward the history of musical instruments and the
construction of harpsichords was entirely accidental, and this particular combination of
activities could have been replaced by any one of many others. Any successful solution of
my dilemma, however, would have had one common denominator which C.V. Wedgewood has called
the "romantic approach to history." An irrelevant irony, of course, is that in
becoming an historian and exponent of one aspect of the music of the Renaissance and
Baroque, usually billed as the natural enemies of the music of the Romantic period, I have
done so from motives that would have been entirely comprehensible to Wagner or Schumann.
What I required of any sort of historical discipline was that it both
demand and feed an effort of the imagination - that the final result of the perusal of
documents or the examination of objects should be the vivid personal sense of the past. I
wished to reconstruct and then experience the life of the past, or at least whatever
aspects of it were accessible to me in their totality. Miss Wedgewood has described Jacob
Burkhardt's purpose in lecturing to his students in Basel as follows: "He said that
he wished 'to make every member of my audience feel and know that everyone may and must
take independent possession of what appeals to him personally.' 'Take independent
possession' is the key phrase, for, ultimately, the understanding of the past, in so far
as it is achieved at all, has to be independently achieved by a sustained effort of the
imagination working on a personal accumulation of knowledge and experience."
Much of the current opinion that historical studies are irrelevant to
the present world and its injustices stems from the essentially romantic and essentially
discredited notion that "human life was a constant, forward progress toward an
attainable perfection." (Once again I borrow from Miss Wedgewood.)
The past existed chiefly to lead up to, and make way for, the
glorious present and still more glorious future . . . . From this it is an easy step to
regarding as worthy of study only such institutions and only such persons as can be shown
to have some clear connection with the present, and of seeing or imagining in them only
such elements as can be made to fit into the splendid story of progress toward the
political or social idea as we happen to see it . . . . In spite of these drawbacks,
possibly even because of them, the romantic approach to history made the understanding of
the past possible in ways never attempted before. The romantics recognized the
comprehensive nature of history as a study. 'In the domain of history lies the entire
moral world' said Schiller . . . ; for him . . . there was no province of human endeavor
outside the scope of history.
And in this definition I would include not only the present but the
future. We all live in history. Everything was, is, and will be relevant. However, not
only those ideas or techniques or activities which obviously have directly led to an
analogue existing at present are of significance. Dead ends, aborted movements, also have
their charm and validity. This is nowhere more true than in the history of art and music.
Of course, all of this was not so neatly formulated in my mind during
those days in 1946 and 1947. What I felt then was a sort of general malaise, the result of
my inability to become personally involved with my studies. I knew that I had to find
something more meaningful and I suppose that I defined that merely as something I could do
By chance, my stall in the stacks of the Widener Library was on 4 West,
the section at that time occupied by books on music, since removed to the Music Library.
Often when I should have been analyzing texts according to the currently fashionable
modes, I found myself poring over the beautiful picture books devoted to musical
instruments. Once I stumbled across a treasure: Heron-Allen's Violin Making As It Was
and Is. This young Victorian gentleman's evocation of the world and technique of
violin makers, given in some curious way a sweep and perspective by the copious employment
of his laboriously acquired Latin tags, fascinated me, and I spent a whole summer making a
violin after his instruction. Alas for romantic scholarship. I found his technical devices
often deficient and that his varnish wouldn't dry, but the experience was meaningful for
all that. The violin still hangs on its nail in a dark closet, a sort of instrument
maker's family skeleton. [The violin has since come out of the closet. It is now displayed
on a beautiful antique secretary in Diane's and my library. It doesn't suffer at all in
comparison with that piece. The quality of workmanship is evident and the varnish is
About this time the passionate interest of an old boyhood friend,
William Dowd, in the harpsichord began to dimly indicate a path out of the intellectual
maze in which I found myself wandering. Together we examined the books in 4 West, attended
the concerts of the only practicing harpsichordists in the area, Claude Chiasson and
Daniel Pinkham, and gradually concocted the grandiose project of reviving single handed
the whole baroque orchestra. I, it was decided, would deal with strings, Dowd with
keyboards, and the winds, in some unspecified way, would take care of themselves.
The only makers of such instruments we had ever heard of (at least those
not speaking outlandish tongues - and of that I will say more later) were Arnold Dolmetsch
in England and John Challis in Detroit. Since my G.I. Bill support was a bit more
substantial than that of Dowd, it was decided that I would go to Dolmetsch, Dowd to
I shall never forget the gracious letter of acceptance I received from
Carl Dolmetsch in which he generously waived his usual apprenticeship fee and permitted me
to enter his employ as something less than a slave, since I was neither boarded nor
clothed as was customary in even the most reactionary of antebellum circles. Several weeks
later I found myself walking up the hill toward Beechside, as the house was called, from
Haslemere station. Haslemere is set in what an Englishman might call suburbia, but to an
American tempered in the crueler manifestations of that drab world, it seemed a fairy
village. Cottages, some of them even half-timbered, were picturesquely set in the midst of
lawns of an inconceivable greenness. The high road to Guilford up which I carried my box
of tools passed along the red brick High Street to become a grassy banked depression
between hedges until it emerged on a hillside open to the rolling countryside of Surrey.
Inside Beechside, I found a warren of small workshops in which several
men were working who spoke an almost incomprehensible language. First, there was Leslie
Ward - tall, lean, bald, shrewd and grasping, with a cockney-timbred voice. He was the
works manager and in charge of the harpsichord workshop. George Carley, his
brother-in-law, shy and inarticulate, mild and curly-haired, was the head viol maker,
assisted by a brassy young woman who I later found spent her lunch hours practicing Max
Bruch on the violin. Mr. Ward seriously responded to one remark I made on that incongruity
by sighing, "Oh yes, the old man would never have permitted it. We had ideals in
Recorders were turned by a gaggle of other ranks headed by bespectacled
Vic Smithers who never ceased wondering that any bird so rare as I could walk the earth.
The foreman in the harpsichord shop, by contrast to Smithers, was almost cosmopolitan,
upward mobile, too, if the relentless ennoblement of his name meant anything. When I first
met him he seemed a pleasant Englishman from the environs of London, called prosaically,
Douglas Brown. There must have been some spark of the Celt in him though - he named his
daughter something like Gwynneth or Gillian. Soon I noticed that he had become Douglas C.
Brown, and not long after it was revealed that this actually stood for Douglas Campbell
Brown. The inevitable hyphen eventually cemented his attachment to the proud north. At
this stage my connection with Campbell-Brown was severed, but I have since learned that
this evolution of Englishman into Scot continued until now one has to deal with an Andrew
C. Douglas. I am not sure whether the proper prefix will ultimately be Saint or The.
Brown, as I still think of him, was the neatest workman I have ever
known. He arrived each morning in an impeccable pinstripe suit, the paper he had read on
the train under his arm. Preparing to work, he would first remove his coat which he
carefully hung on a hangar. Then he would pull up the sleeves of his shirt slightly and
restrain them over the biceps with rubber bands. No speck of dust, no drop of glue ever
seemed to fall on him. At lunch time, he could even work under the car which he
occasionally drove to work, emerging with the ball of each finger stained with grease but
otherwise unmarked. His bench top was french polished. Never more than one tool at a time
rested there. "Lovely work," he used to sarcastically breath as he stooped to
examine my amateurish endeavors.
At Dolmetsch's I was permitted to drill identical holes in thousands of
small objects, make tea at eleven each morning, and sweep. Occasionally, but not always,
my questions were answered. Still, by watching if not by doing, I learned something of
wood working and the sort of compulsiveness that makes a craftsman. Of the history of the
harpsichord or the glorious examples still extant, I learned nothing.
Curiously enough, in those days, it seemed not have have occurred to
anyone that in reviving the instrument in order to bring long neglected music to life, the
logical effort would be to follow extant historical examples as models. The earliest
modern harpsichords to be made in any quantity were developed in Paris in the last decade
of the 19th century by Pleyel, a large piano manufacturer who seems to have turned inward
for inspiration, deriving his harpsichord designs as if the project were to develop a
plucked piano. Undue emphasis was laid on the ability of the harpsichord to vary its tone
color, on the whole not a very central issue. These instruments produced an enormous
variety of sounds, all bad. However, Pleyel was blessed by the genius of a young Polish
pianist named Wanda Landowska who, in a transcendent exercise of pure imagination, found a
way of using even the Pleyel to make viable music. Thus, for nearly fifty years, the
movement to revive the literature of the harpsichord was to be dominated by this
Arnold Dolmetsch, the founder of the firm for which I worked, had been
one of the pioneers in the movement to revive old music. Originally a violinist, he had
become involved in music for recorders, viols, lute and strings, as well as for the
harpsichord. He had formed his family of four children into a touring troupe which
performed widely, leaving many traces on the literary as well as the musical life of the
time. T.S. Eliot is said to have enjoyed their concerts as a young man. Yates was a
personal friend. Bernard Shaw reviewed them favorably. Later, an annual Haslemere festival
became traditional for which the faithful regularly journeyed down from London.
In 1908, Dolmetsch was invited by the Chickering Piano Company in Boston
to establish a workshop in a corner of their factory to be devoted to the construction of
old instruments. Removed somewhat from the proximity of the Pleyel harpsichords, these
American harpsichords were the best Dolmetsch ever made. Ralph Kirkpatrick played on
Chickerings for years. The American episode in Dometsch's career was followed by a brief
interlude in Paris where he directed a harpsichord making project of Pleyel's competitors,
Gaveau. But soon he was back in England where he established the workshop I knew and began
to turn out instruments of the style which are still made there.
Brown and I used to discuss the lack of correspondence between Dolmetsch
harpsichords and old instruments but apparently a combination of ingrained habit in the
maker and conditioned expectation in the customer made improvements impossible.
I soon found collections of old harpsichords in London at the Victoria
and Albert Museum and in a house owned by the National Trust at Cheyne Walk, a charming
tree-lined street on the banks of the Thames. Driven by some sort of uneasy instinct like
that of a bird about to build his nest, I began to make notes and measurements of these
harpsichords. Brief trips to the continent where I visited the collections in Paris,
Brussels, and The Hague added to my archives. I acquired a reader's card for the British
Museum and began a desultory search for contemporary descriptions of the instrument.
After about a year at Dometsch's, for various complicated reasons I
suddenly found myself without, as they say in England, a place. Now there were not many
harpsichord makers anywhere and most in England were terrified of making enemies of the
Dolmetschs. The only one I found courageous enough to take me on was Hugh Gough in London.
There we formed a two-man shop operating in what had been the front parlor of the dreary
row house he occupied in Acton.
Gough, however, was a great improvement over the Dolmetschs. Pert and
birdlike, compulsively the correct British gentleman, he was gifted with almost total
recall, able to quote at length anything he had ever read. A trifle rakish in his tastes,
I found him frightfully sophisticated and was even impelled to make discrete inquiries as
to the name of his tailor. Most important, he had seen many old instruments and had
notebooks full of details which I devoured. He introduced me to his friend, Donald Boalch,
who had been engaged for some years in compiling a dictionary of harpsichord makers.
Boalch had also assembled a bibliography of literature on the subject which assisted my
efforts in the British Museum considerably.
And so another year passed characterized mainly in my mind by the dank
coal smoke smell of London hallways, the cool chill of the air, the round fog-filled dome
of the Reading Room at the British Museum, and weekend excursions on the Green Line.
In November of 1949, Dowd and I rented an unheated loft in a ramshackle
building on Tremont Street in Boston's South End. We managed to scrape together enough
money to buy a circular saw, band saw, drill press, two benches, and a surplus army coal
stove which devoured endless quantities of fuel without producing any noticeable heat.
Cold winter mornings we huddled around that stove until eleven before we could find
courage to venture into the corners of the room. Even so, we did manage to lay down four
harpsichords which were epoch making in the simple fact that we were attempting to follow
old models. Subsequent opportunities to examine the interior construction of old
harpsichords have indicated how far we inadvertently departed from ancient practice, but
at least we had been the first to set foot on the new path. That our philosophy of
harpsichord making filled a need sensed by many musicians is indicated by the fact that
all four were sold before they were finished.
All of our errors, however, were not due to innocent ignorance. In
taking that first step on the road to historical rectitude we set foot in a trap that
awaits all those who attempt to resurrect, reproduce, restore, or even describe the art
and thought of the past. The most servile copyist must make certain decisions, first as to
what to copy, then as to what in his model is original and the result of a deliberate act
of its maker. We, of course, thought to temper the manifest eccentricities of the past by
choosing the best, judiciously adding obvious modern technological improvements and
employing certain materials unknown to earlier ages. This was an error which has taken
many years to partially overcome. It is a truism that most revivals of antique styles
reflect the taste of their own age, not that of the earlier era. Renaissance architecture
and ornament is not identical to that of ancient Rome, the school surrounding William
Morris was not medieval. Our harpsichords, by their very choice of model, the use of
materials such as screws and plywood, music wire and machined brass parts, showed their
age and our fatal knowledge of what came after our model in the development of the
instrument. Although they were more useful in the performance of old music than the
modernist concoctions of Pleyel and Dolmetsch, they testified to our failure to enter in
imagination into the world of the past. Although they pretended to follow 17th century
Flemish models, they would not have seemed very familiar to Froberger or Chambonniéres.
To make harpsichords is to operate a sort of historical laboratory.
One's historical conjectures must be subjected to empirical proof. It is routine enough,
even if laborious, to ferret out information about a specific type of old harpsichord. One
must measure, examine, weed out later accretions from original parts, compare one extant
example to another and then view the resulting data with suspicion in the light of any
available written documentation. Then the difficult part comes. The instrument whose
design results from these procedures must be appraised, and not on the scale of arbitrary
taste but with a taste consciously deformed by acquired knowledge of the expressed
opinions and preferences of old authorities and by internal clues left by composers which
might indicate their assumptions about the sort of instrument that should be used to
realize their compositions. [Italics added. Ed.]
It is plain that this complex process can never become objective. One is
always maneuvering between the Scylla of the mindless rationalization of everything for
which one can find authority and the Charybdis of an arbitrary subjective judgment. It is
hopeless and possibly undesirable to expect to completely eliminate all modern bias in
one's judgment and technique. Yet, to the extent that he is able, the harpsichord maker
should attempt to direct his decisions by reference to the past and not by an absolute and
arbitrary aesthetic standard. The harpsichord is an instrument of the artistic purpose
of other times. The syntax of its speech stems from a language that is not ours. To forget
these facts is barbarous. [Italics added. Ed.]
Such is what I conceive to be the most effective philosophy for the
present day harpsichord maker. Now how does he express it in the products of his trade?
His first necessity is to choose a model upon which to exercise his talents and this model
must fit certain very specific requirements. First it must be significant - that is to say
there must be a body of first class music clearly appropriate to it. The most visible of
old harpsichords are not necessarily the most significant. When I was casting about for
models, the commonest of large old harpsichords were the English. Every collection seemed
to have one and they were seductive. Soundly constructed, of a restful and rational decor,
they glowed with the patina of fine old walnut and mahogany. The action had the solidity
and precision of an English tall clock. Now there is nothing wrong with attempting to make
a harpsichord in the English style, but it is not the place to start. We failed to ask
ourselves what music was peculiarly appropriate to the type, that of Dr. Arne, Dr.
Pepusch? Even Handel had, after all, been raised on other styles and was rumored to have
had a Ruckers.
Before choosing a model, the maker must define his purpose. Is he
seeking an instrument for all periods and styles or planning an instrument of more limited
purpose? It is easy enough to sneer at general-purpose harpsichords and to insist that
they are certain to fail, but how many harpsichords can we expect to place on the
platforms of our concert halls? Must the player, like a mouse in a bakery wagon dart from
instrument to instrument as his program labors onward in the usual progress from the 16th
to 18th century? Therefore, I feel that any commercial maker (and I use the term with a
wistful sort of resignation, only wishing it were so) must supply some sort of general
purpose instrument at the head of his list. After that he may indulge special clients and
his personal pleasure with instruments of more specialized type.
Thus, our first model must not only be historically significant with a
large literature for which it is specific, but it must not be entirely inappropriate for
as much other literature as possible. This rules out the possibility of a 16th or 17th
century model for a general purpose instrument. It would not have enough range nor offer
sufficient scope in registration for the later music. This fact also, sadly, condemns the
earlier music of the repertoire to less than ideal performance.
In the 18th century, there were four schools of harpsichord making whose
products are complex enough to be considered as models for a general purpose harpsichord:
the French, the Flemish, The German-Scandinavian, and the English. The last we have
already ruled out. A case could be made for each of the others.
The French harpsichords were the vehicle of possibly the most idiomatic
of all styles of harpsichord composition. During the 18th century, French artifacts and
ideas alike were enormously influential throughout Europe. A fine school of harpsichord
making centered in Paris has bequeathed enough instruments to serve as models, and these
extant harpsichords are embedded in a matrix of writings, critical and technical, which
serve to make the aims and attitudes of makers and players somewhat more accessible than
is typically the case. Dowd and I eventually chose the French instruments are our model.
The 18th century Flemish school represented by such makers as Dulcken,
Bull and Delin has much to be said for it. To begin with, its style is descended directly
from the great 16th and 17th century makers of Antwerp, and yet that style has been
sufficiently aggrandized and complicated to make it appropriate to any demand of 18th
century music. There is more emphasis on tricky transpositions and a greater length to
supply noble basses. The weakness of the Flemish school is an historical one: no composers
of real merit can be directly associated with the 18th century Flemish style of
harpsichord., Skowroneck has chosen Dulcken as his most usual model.
The German and Scandinavian makers of course had a great school of
keyboard composition to lend significance to their efforts. However, their instruments are
not as useful models as one might expect. To begin with, the German style was not well
unified - it is more difficult to choose a typical example. The large instruments with 16'
are each one-of-a-kind. It would be difficult to find enough consensus in design and
disposition to settle on a model. They are also rare and it is likely that they always
were so. It would seem perverse to choose so unusual an instrument as a model for a
general purpose harpsichord. Among the smaller 2 x 8', 1 x 4' German harpsichords one
could probably find good models. Few makers have done so.
It is ironic that nearly all 20th century makers are unanimous in
declaring the Italian style harpsichord too limited in color and range to stand as a
candidate for the general purpose instrument, and yet during the 17th and 18th centuries
it more nearly fulfilled that purpose than any other type of harpsichord. Are we once
again blinding ourselves to the obvious?
Let us suppose that our fledgling harpsichord maker has finally chosen a
model and addresses himself to his task. Exactly which features is he to copy, and which
to "improve?" How authentic should his copy be? Must he hand forge his nails,
import his wood, and shoot crow for quills?
It used to be said that the essence of a harpsichord was that which
could be expressed in a plan view: the lengths of the strings, the point along the string
at which it is plucked, the distance from bridge to bentside and to four-foot hitchpin
rail, the placement of soundboard ribs, the thickness of the soundboard, and, of course,
the range and disposition of the instrument. Many "copies" have been made which
do not resemble their prototypes except in having a common plan.
As the movement toward authentic style and technique in performance
becomes more refined, the actions of harpsichords have come under closer scrutiny. Now we
are concerning ourselves more with the details which can be imparted by the elevation: the
lengths, thicknesses, weighting, balance points and method of guiding the key levers, the
key dip and point at which the dip is arrested, the weight of the jack, the type of cloth
padding at various points in the action.
These things are all essential, but even attention to this formidable
list seems insufficient. There is new emphasis on materials. Differences which seemed
insignificant some years ago now appear vital. Delrin quill replaced leather plectra
because it sounded more like crow quill. Now in subtle insight, several makers have
discovered that crow quill sounds even more like crow quill than Delrin does. The
difference is small. Note for note they are indistinguishable, but a whole instrument
voiced in quill is not identical to an instrument voiced in Delrin.
Old music wire was softer and more flexible than modern high tensile
steel wire. The tone of a harpsichord string in this wire is more transparent and
interesting than the plain and clear sound of an instrument strung with modern wire. This
is particularly true of the harpsichord tuned to a lower "old" pitch.
American makers have been satisfied to make soundboards of Sitka spruce
for years. Now, several makers are importing Norway spruce, the species most commonly used
in old harpsichords.
Case materials have become more esoteric. A few years ago, most modern
harpsichords were made of plywood or stable woods such as mahogany. Now makers are
beginning to use the lime or poplar most often found in continental harpsichords.
They endeavor to duplicate the light touch, the silvery , vibrant tone,
light yet expressive, which is found in the best old harpsichords. The most successful
makers have achieved this end by attention to detail and by applying a mixture of
scientific common sense, historical imagination, and aesthetic perception to the problem.
Of course, one man's common sense is another man's gobbledygook. Only the result can
finally resolve the argument.
One pitfall is apparent. Just as the amateur cook is likely to believe
two measures of an ingredient to be more effective than one, many makers in the endeavor
to be super authentic have actually abandoned all historical verisimilitude in indulging
their personal caprice. The most common eccentricity of this sort is the pursuit of
extreme lightness of case weight, either by choice of material or by the thinness of
parts. Cedar, a very light wood, has been used by several makers in reproductions of North
European harpsichords. Old instruments of this type were never made of cedar, nor were
their dimensions ordinarily reduced to the values one now sometimes finds.
Another exaggeration of this kind is what at first would seem a good
thing: over-fastidious craftsmanship. Old harpsichords by good makers like Blanchet,
Dulcken, or Hass were neatly and soundly made but they were not fussy. In morality it
is much easier to be correct than just, and in workmanship nothing is more difficult to
recapture than that sort of secure and rapid expression given their concepts by old
makers. It is easy, if expensive, to agonize over a joint or finish. It is difficult to
carry it out neatly and adequately the first time. Competence is the ability to perform a
task well and quickly. Overly slow work leaves characteristic flaws as plain to the
connoisseur as the errors of the careless workman. [Italics added. Ed.]
We have now stood at our young harpsichord maker's shoulder ever ready
with prolix advice as he has chosen his model, decided which parts of it to copy, and
determined the materials he is to employ. Let us leave him now to turn out several
instruments in its image and rejoin him only as he considers what steps she should take
He will have noticed what seem to him the beauties of his model and its
weaknesses. He must assess the latter with particular care, constantly on guard against
applying inappropriate criteria from the modern age. However, by comparing his instrument
to antiques and good copies of other models, he should become aware of certain
shortcomings. He is now ready to move on to the next stage which is to reproduce not a
certain instrument, but a style of instrument - to choose the best from several antiques
and yet make a harpsichord which is recognizable as stemming from a certain school. This
process obviously requires a more complete control of his material on the part of the
maker than the process of making a copy. Now he must decide not only what was done but
what was central to the concept. If there are two means of achieving an objective, he must
recognize that fact and not attempt both ways simultaneously. Instruments made as
representations of a school are certainly more risky to attempt. Fewer will be relevant to
the music. They will be more likely to fall out of fashion as they age. Yet, I suppose
that the rewards of success are greater.