Harpsichord Kits

Harpsichords and Virginals

Spinets and Fortepianos

Sound Samples - Listen!
Testimonials & Photos

We offer three harpsichord and virginal kits:

French Double-manual Kit

French Double-manual kit - assembledWe have chosen as the prototype for our French harpsichord kit an instrument made in Paris in 1769 by Pascal Taskin, possibly the most famous of all 18th century French makers. We made this choice because the mid-18th century French style harpsichord represents the most successful "general" purpose instrument. The instrument is suitable to all of the harpsichord literature of the baroque.

French harpsichord kit in piecesThe completed kit rewards the builder with a double-manual instrument of elegant proportion and detail having a range of five octaves, FF-f''' (61 notes). There are three ranks of jacks and three choirs of strings, 2 x 8', 1 x 4', with a buff stop which can be installed on either the back 8' choir or the upper-manual 8'. An additional peau de buffle register with leather plectra can be added to the lower-manual 8' if the builder chooses. The transposing keyboards are replicas of Taskin's keyboards.

The steel wire normally supplied with our kits is of a lower tensile strength than modern music wire. Its tensile strength reproduces that of the wire used in the 18th century and its high flexibility produces a tone somewhat richer in the lower harmonics and clearer in overall impression than harder wire.

Another view of the French Double-manual kit

French kits include a trestle stand. However, continental harpsichords in the mid 18th century were often supported by a set of turned and fluted legs attached to a low rim or apron. Later the legs were often attached directly to the bottom of the instrument. We offer the builder the option of purchasing in place of the trestle stand either a set of Louis XVI style legs, which can be screwed to the bottom of the harpsichord, or a Louis XVI apron, fully assembled with decorative moldings and screw-on legs. Other options are listed in our catalogue and price list.

Listen to the French double kit...

We now have a demonstration CD of this instrument available ($10.00 ppd. in U.S.). Please - inquire via our contact form.

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Flemish Single-manual Kit

Flemish Single: AssembledFor those builders whose musical requirements are considerable but whose resources are limited, our Flemish single-manual kit with its bold sound and unusually large range is ideal. Designed as a small concert harpsichord with transposing keyboard and a compass capable of performing virtually the entire baroque literature, the resulting instrument amply rewards the player with substantial artistic demands. Compact and light, this harpsichord is practical for the professional on tour and for amateur ensembles that require frequent moves. For home or institution, professional or student, we offer no better value.

The kit is patterned on an instrument built in Antwerp in 1584 by Hans Moermans. We have followed the 18th century practice of ravalement and extended the range of the original from 55 to 58 notes (GG-e''' chromatic). We have also added a French 18th century scaling. It is disposed with two eight foot (8') stops and a buff stop.

Like the French harpsichord kit, the Flemish Single-Manual Kit is available with a number of options, among them block printed papers (replicas of traditional Flemish designs) to decorate the interior of the instrument.

Listen to the Flemish single kit...

We now have a demonstration CD of this instrument available ($10.00 ppd. in U.S.). Please - inquire via our contact form.

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Flemish Single- & Double-Manual Virginal Kits:
"Mother & Child"

Flemish Virginal: Mother and ChildFlemish virginals emerged in the 17th century as two distinct instruments depending on which side of the front of the instrument the keyboard was located. Those with the keyboard positioned to the right were known as muselars and produced a round, fluty sound of unusual power. The spinet whose keyboard lies to the left of the center produces a sound approaching that of the wing-shaped harpsichord of the period. The ottavino or "Child" virginal lives in the body of the "Mother" and is pitched one octave higher than either the spinet or the muselar virginals. When played, it is pulled forward like a drawer in a bureau, or removed completely and placed on top of the eight-foot virginal cleverly forming a second keyboard at four-foot pitch.

How the "Mother & Child" work: In the large virginal a single set of strings runs the length of the virginal which is normally positioned in the room against a wall. The key levers run underneath the soundboard from front to back increasing in length as they progress from bass to treble. This allows them to have about the same mechanical advantage in lifting the jacks throughout the compass of the instrument. The key levers are guided vertically at the back with a rack and overrail to limit the amount of key dip. The balance mortises are also made in the manner of the old makers by punching directly into the key lever. The keys lift the jacks which rise through a leather covered register set into the soundboard. The jacks face alternately toward and away from the player making it possible for the strings to fit into half the space they would normally occupy in a harpsichord.

The action and lay-out of the diminutive ottavino are similar to the large instrument. The salient feature of the ottavino is its extreme compactness. In order to couple the ottavino to the large virginal the jackrail of the large virginal is removed and the ottavino set in its place. When played from the lower keyboard, the jacks of the large virginal then perform double duty by both plucking the eight-foot strings and raising the ottavino keys through a slot cut in the bottom of the smaller instrument. This provides the player with a 1 x 8', 1 x 4' disposition. One would be hard put to use a half-pint of paint on the ottavino. Its construction is as straightforward and simple as is possible for a harpsichord to be. We rank this as our easiest kit.

Both spinet and muselar kits are designed with the ottavino in mind.
Any Hubbard ottavino will fit any Hubbard muselar or spinet
virginal. It is, of course, possible to build the large virginal
first and add the ottavino later, or vice-versa. The range is C-c''',
49 notes. Both spinet and muselar are disposed 1 x 8', the ottavino
is disposed 1 x 4'.

With our large virginal kits we include a trestle stand in oak with
four turned legs. A 17th century oak joint stool kit is available
that nicely complements the stand.

Listen to the Flemish virginals kits...

We now have a demonstration CD of this instrument available ($10.00 ppd. in U.S.). Please - inquire via our contact form.

Send for a Kit Catalog and Price Guide

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