Custom Instruments

German 18th Century
Unfretted Clavichord

After J.C.G. Schiedmayer (1789 & 1791)

It was the opinion of C.P.E. Bach that the clavichord constituted the truest test of any keyboard player's abilities. The clavichord is at once the most primitive and most expressive of all keyboard instruments. It is the only stringed keyboard instrument on which the fingers are able to modulate the strings' pitch and dynamic levels in a manner analogous to the violin or lute. It is the only keyboard instrument capable of rendering a vibrato on any note the player may choose.

German Clavichord

As with other instruments, the range and sophistication of the clavichord gradually grew as the music demanded more of it until, in the late 18th century, instruments of very large range with discrete pairs of strings for each key (unfretted) became the norm. On this sort of instrument music containing any dissonance in any key could be performed. It was for this type of clavichord that C.P.E. Bach wrote his keyboard master works.

Our clavichord is based on two surviving instruments by J.C.G. Schiedmayer (1789 and 1791). It sounds best when pitched one whole tone low (A-392 Hz) but will perform quite satisfactorily at normal 'old' pitch, one half tone low. Our clavichord is constructed in solid oak, cherry or walnut. The cabinetry is finely detailed with hand-cut dovetails, carved keys, handsome black mouldings with brass studs and a flourish at the bass end of the bridge. A simple frame and panel lid and four turned and fluted legs complete the decor. Range is FF-g''', 63 notes, double strung in brass.

German unfretted clavichord – Offering Sheet



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