Anon., ca. 1600
or extended range
or extended range
the 16th century, northern Italy became the world center of harpsichord
making. Prior to the last decade of the century Italian makers enjoyed
an almost complete monopoly of their trade. It is not surprising, therefore,
that Italian harpsichords were the commonest of all harpsichords on
the continent even into the baroque era. They were typically used as
continuo instruments accompanying vocal and instrumental music. They
are short-scaled and as a result their sound characteristically has
a sharper attack and quicker decay than that of Flemish or French harpsichords.
It is this clarity of voice that distinguishes Italian harpsichords
from later instruments. Rimmed with delicate mouldings and carved cheeks,
this fragile, slender instrument was often inserted into a more sturdy
box decorated on the exterior.
Italian harpsichords we offer both have an 18th century range of C -
d''', 51 notes, chromatic, transposing. One is largely based on the
anonymous instrument of about 1600 in the Raymond Russell Collection,
Edinburgh. This instrument began its life with 2 sets of strings but
57 notes and had many split sharps. The other, by Boni, 1619,
originally had a short-octave, 45-note range (C/E-c''') and several
split sharps but only one set of strings. Either is also available in
its prototype's original form and disposition. Both are lightly
constructed of natural Mediterranean cypress, Port Orford or Alaska
yellow cedar, depending on availability. The keyboards have bone, degamé,
or boxwood (if available) naturals with ebony-capped dark hardwood sharps.
The instruments are provided with turned and carved legs. They may also
be fitted with a traditional outer case, either painted or veneered
single-manual harpsichords – Offering
You can hear an excerpt from a demonstration
CD we have prepared for this instrument (after anon.):
A Note About The Files ~
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.
now have available a demonstration
CD of the Italian single-manual harpsichord ($10.00 ppd. in U.S.).
Please - inquire via our contact form.