By Ann Bond
This functional advisor treats the mechanics and evolution of the software and gives a survey of its literature. the writer discusses contact and procedure, together with articulation and fingering, and the problems occupied with historic functionality practices. She additionally offers feedback on deciding upon and holding a harpsichord.
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Extra info for A Guide to the Harpsichord
To whom was it addressed? This example highlights two truths: first, that articulation is not easy to write about; and second, that although historic sources should certainly be consulted, their inferences need careful sifting by the expert performer, and do not offer sufficient advice for a beginner. Further help is therefore needed, and the practical experience of professional performers can be one way of supplying it. Historical performance studies are now well developed, and there are many players who have read the sources and experimented with various historical techniques.
There was also a parallel within the organ-building scene, where builders were increasingly exploring concepts of authenticity as applied to organ building. Insistence on a light wooden frame was fundamental to the new harpsichord thinking, just as the appreciation of the importance of a shallow, well-designed case was crucial for the organ. As the movement toward a lightly built, authentically strung harpsichord gathered momentum in the 1960s, keyboard collections such as the Vleeshuis Museum in Antwerp, the Russell Collection in Edinburgh, or the Skinner Collection at Yale University began to be besieged by builders anxious to measure and examine the historic harpsichords they housed.
Hass and Silbermann seem to have experimented with sixteen-foot (suboctave) tone, and an isolated instrument by Hass is definitely known to have had three manualspossibly following a Spanish patternwith a third manual devoted to a sixteen-foot and a two-foot register. Both these extreme features impose severe constraints on the design of an instrument. The short strings of a two-foot register are obviously unstable in tuning, and in addition the strings cannot be continued above treble c" because the string length becomes so short that there is no room to accommodate all the necessary rows of jacks along it; so the experiment was not followed up.
A Guide to the Harpsichord by Ann Bond