Custom Instruments

Flemish 16th and 17th Century Single-Manual Harpsichords
original range & petit ravalement

Harpsichord after Hans Moermans (1584)
original or extended range
(Both ranges available in kit form)

Harpsichord after Andreas Ruckers (1640)
original or extended range
(Available as custom instruments only)

Single-manual harpsichord after Moermans, 1584, in period decorationIf the harpsichord was born in Italy during the 15th century, it matured into prominence as a solo instrument in Flanders between 1575 and 1650. Flemish builders were not hesitant about using a more robust construction than that previously used in traditional light Italian instruments. The results of their innovations became the most widely emulated approach to harpsichord building in the classical era. By 1625, Antwerp was the acknowledged center for harpsichord production, a position it held until the growth of the French school in the next century. Until the harpsichord was discarded as a vehicle for musical expression, nearly all makers claimed descent from the great workshops of Antwerp.

Flemish Single HarpsichordThe Hubbard large Flemish single-manual harpsichord (above) is patterned on an instrument built in Antwerp in 1584 by Hans Moermans. In its received form it is disposed 1 x 8', 1 x 4, buff and posses the short-octave range GG/BB-f''' (non-transposing).  The sound of this form is full and bright. 

Following 18th century French tradition, we have extended the 55-note range of the original to 58 notes (GG-e''' chromatic) and added a French 18th century scaling (left). Disposed 2 x 8' with buff stop, the resulting instrument has a crisp, free-speaking tone capable of performing the brilliant solo keyboard works of the 17th and 18th centuries as well as concerti with baroque orchestra. It serves equally well as continuo accompaniment in the chamber music literature of the period. Its most practical feature, however, is its compact size which makes it a portable companion for the touring professional.

Flemish single after A. Ruckers, 1640

Our small Flemish single-manual harpsichord (right) is based on an instrument made in Antwerp in 1640 by Andreas Ruckers. In its original form had the short-octave range C/E-c'''.  Its range was extended sometime in the 18th century from 45 to 51 notes and we have added one note for transposition. Disposed in either version 1 x 8', 1 x 4', buff stop, these instruments make a great deal of superior sound, more than one would judge possible from their size. One hears in them (and in the original-range Moermans) the magical tone quality that clearly was a part of the mystique surrounding 16th century Flemish harpsichords. They are offered decorated with reproduction block-printed paper on the interior surfaces and painted on the outside.


Flemish single-manual harpsichords - Custom Instrument offering sheet

Kit offering sheets

After Moermans, 1584, original, received range

After Moermans, à petit ravalement



Listen to the small Flemish single...

You can hear an excerpt from a demonstration CD we have prepared for this instrument:

  • Long Sample  - 1,300K 192 kpbs mp3 file (60 seconds)

~ A Note About The Files ~

Not all mp3 files are equal! The sound of a harpsichord is particularly difficult to compress satisfactorily. The bit rate we have chosen for these samples is the lowest that reproduces the original recording with negligible loss. Download times will vary widely depending on your setup and the quality of your connection.   On a 28K Internet connection, the shorter sound sample may take from about 5 to over 10 minutes to download. If you have a fast connection (T1, cable modem, DSL) please try the long sample - you may expect download times substantially under a minute.

~ Problems Playing the File ~
If you cannot play the file through your web browser, PC users with the Microsoft browser can right click on the link, then choose the "Save target" option to download the file, then use an MP3 player (or a the Windows media player) to listen to it.

We now have available a demonstration CD which demonstrates the different voices of these two designs ($10.00 ppd. in U.S.). Please - inquire via our contact form.

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Hubbard Harpsichords

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updated: 11/13/03