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- The shaped vertical front of the natural key. The design is
formed by a rotating cutter.
- A stop similar to a buff stop except that the strings are
touched by metal pins, producing a buzzing sound.
- Sharp edge formed by the angular contact of two plane or
- Back eight foot
- The rank of eight foot jacks which are the farthest from the
player. Since they pluck the string at a point distant from its end, the tone is dark and
flutey. The back eight foot is always on the lower manual.
- String plucked far from the nut thus producing a round and
- Back rail
- The cross member of a key bed which supports the rear of the
key levers. It is covered with felt or cloth which muffles the sound as the keys fall back
- Balance pin
- See Balance rail pin.
- Balance point
- The point along the length of the key lever at which it is
- Balance rail
- The center rail of a three-rail key bed, or the front rail
of a two-rail key bed. It serves as a fulcrum for the keys.
- Balance rail pin
- The pin which passes through the key at its center. It
is driven into a part of the key bed known as the balance rail. The balance rail pin
prevents the key from slipping in and out or twisting from side to side.
- Bar clamp
- A long wooden or metal clamp consisting of a bar and a
sliding member which is often fitted with a screw. It is used for clamping wide objects.
It is possible to buy bar-clamp fittings which are designed to be affixed to pieces of
threaded pipe obtainable in any length.
- The upward thrust of the soundboard and bridge against
the downward force of the strings.
- A throbbing or undulating effect taking place in rapid
succession when two notes not quite of the same pitch are sounded together. If two tones
are one cycle per second apart in pitch there will be one beat per second.
- Belly rail
- The frame member (or members) which cross the rim from
cheek to spine. The upper belly rail supports the soundboard and forms the rear edge of
the gap. The lower belly rail stiffens the bottom and rim.
- The curved side of a harpsichord or spinet case.
- 1. A tool which is sort of an adjustable square, used
for determining angles. 2. To reduce a square edge to a more obtuse angle; also, the
contour resulting from that procedure.
- Block plane
- A small iron plane especially intended for planing
end-grain. There is no back-iron and the blade is inserted bevel uppermost. A low-angle
block plane is most suitable for harpsichord making. A good one is the Stanley #60 1/2.
- Boom tone
- The bass-drum-like tone of the bass note which is at
the resonant frequency of the air enclosed in the case of an instrument.
- Box resonance
- The pitch at which the air enclosed in the case of an
instrument resonates. It is usually around C for five-octave instruments.
- Box slide
- A type of register found mainly in Italian instruments
and English spinets. It is very deep (one to three inches) and requires no lower guide.
- The curved strip of wood glued to the top of the
soundboard. The strings rest on it and are maintained in position by bridge pins. The
bridge transmits the vibration of the string to the soundboard.
- Bridge pin
- A pin driven into a bridge which serves to position a
string and to define the end of its vibrating segment.
- The spring (originally of hog's bristle, now of nylon
or metal wire) which maintains the tongue in a forward position.
- Buff batten
- The strip of wood loosely held against the vertical front of
the nut carrying the buff pads on its upper surface. It can be moved a short distance
sideways to cause the buff pads to partially damp the strings, producing a muffled tone.
- Buff pad
- The pad, usually of leather, which is glued to the top of
the buff batten.
- Buff stop
- As many soft leather pads as there are notes mounted on a
moveable batten (buff batten) which is placed next to the eight foot nut or sixteen foot
nut. When the batten is moved sideways, the pads damp one choir of strings producing a
harp-like sound. Sometimes called harp stop or the orbo stop, and, in error, lute stop (a
mistranslation of the German Lautenzug. See Lute stop).
- Cap molding
- The molding on the upper edge of an Italian instrument.
- Capstan screw
- A large-headed screw with holes in the side of the head used
for end regulation of various parts of the action such as registers and pedal rods.
- Center punch
- A punch used to mark the point at which to drill a piece of
wood or metal.
- To cut a bevel into the edge of a piece of wood or metal.
- Cheekpiece (or
- The short side of the case of a harpsichord to the right of
- A style of painted decoration in imitation of oriental
- Choir of strings
- The group of strings, one per key on the keyboard, which are
provided for a stop. A harpsichord with two eight foot stops would have two choirs of
eight foot strings.
- An oblong stringed instrument with keys. A brass tangent
mounted in the rear of each key lever strikes the string(s) when the key is depressed.
- Close pair
- Since harpsichord jacks rise between the strings they pluck
and face either to the right or to the left, the strings for one note are arranged over
the right and the left edges of the key lever. When the strings are viewed from above, the
groups of eight foot strings fall into pairs which are close together. These "close
pairs" are actually the strings for adjacent notes.
- Combination saw
- A circular saw with the same profile as a planer saw but in
which the teeth are set alternately left and right - for heavy cuts either across or along
the grain of the wood.
- Combination square
- A square with a head which slides along the rule. The head
may be set at any point along the rule with a tightening screw.
- A device to counterbore a hole for the head of a flat head
- see Manual Coupler
- Coupler dog
- The upright member either tenoned or pivoted into the rear
of the lower manual key lever. The coupler dog engages the upper manual key lever to
couple the manuals together.
- Covered string
- A type of string which has a layer of soft wire wrapped over
a hard core.
- A line scribed on wood with a knife.
- Cut-off bar
- The largest of the ribs glued to the underside of the
soundboard. It lies approximately parallel with the four-foot hitchpin rail.