|i n s t r u m e n t s|
|terms of sale|
are never exact copies. They are either inspired by a particular historical
instrument which has in most cases been personally examined, or they are
built in the style of a certain instrument-making school and period.
From the Gothic onward the "Orgel- und Instrumentmacher" made organs, as well as clavichords and harpsichords. When they subsequently turned to piano building around 1800, the harpsichord very quickly became obsolete. So we have no continuous tradition as is in organ building or string instrument making. Therefore it is essential to study early instruments and learn from them. They are the "masters" for the present day harpsichord maker. It cannot be overemphasized how important it is to understand what the old masters did and why.
Josef Mertin, the Viennese musicologist and instrument maker, teacher of numerous musicians including Gustav Leonhardt and Nikolaus Harnoncourt, used to encourage his students to examine old instruments and try to understand why they were made the way they are. "Don't copy them, understand them!" ("...alte Instrumente kapieren, nicht kopieren!").
sound I am aiming at is not the sound ancient musical instruments make
today, but the sound these instruments made when new. In my opinion this
is the only true approach to the myth called authentic sound. What we
get from original instruments now is not the historical sound. It is the
sound of later centuries after long periods of neglect, damage and more
or less successful restoration. Nearly every restoration involves replacement
of missing parts through new materials. The sound may appeal to us but
it is not the sound heard by Paumann, Froberger or Bach. And their socio-economic
situation was completely different. Our ears are not the ears of the past.
Is it really possible to imagine an age when there was no electricity,
no modern medical care, no motorized traffic or communication, a time
of high mortality, endless wars and diseases?
Working on my own I build only a small number of instruments per year. I make most of the components myself, including keyboards, action parts, tuning pins and various other items like tangents and overspun strings for clavichords. The action consists of traditional wooden jacks with no regulating screws, the tuning pins are hand-forged with flat tops and no holes but they have a light hand-filed thread.
The clavichord has been the central keyboard instrument throughout the centuries, from the beginning of the history of stringed keyboard instruments until well beyond 1800. As opposed to the harpsichord, which was much more of a court instrument, one may consider the clavichord as the everyday-instrument of the keyboard player. Many an organist would have had one in his house to practise on, to help in composing or just play for his own pleasure. The clavichord was not only a relatively inexpensive and thus more widespread alternative to the organ, but it was an important pedagogical tool which teaches the player to articulate precisely. This applies especially to the fretted clavichord. The method of tone production which allows dynamic playing as well as the unique effect of "Bebung" enabled it to compete with the fortepiano when the harpsichord had already disappeared from musical life. The youngest dated historical clavichord we know of was built in Spain in 1858.
|Fretted clavichord, C - c3 (Donat 1700)|
|This clavichord is built after an instrument by Johann Jacob Donat of Leipzig. It is the only surviving clavichord but there are some organs of his preserved in Saxony. Having been built in the time and in the region of J. S. Bach it may be considered ideal for his keyboard works. The compass of four chromatic octaves allows its use for the well-tempered clavier for instance. Case material is spruce veneered with cherry and furnished with black mouldings. The Donat has been used in a recording of Sweelinck.|
|Fretted clavichord, C/E - d3 (Römer 1774)|
The instrument after Römer is a typical example of the work of conservative Austrian organ builders as is reflected in contemporary Austrian organs. Despite the late date, the style of this clavichord - with its straight bridge and simple case construction - corresponds much more with earlier instruments. The short octave is well-suited for music of the 16th and 17th centuries. Its small case dimensions make it a very handsome travelling clavichord. The case is spruce with painted finish. The original is in the Sammlung Alter Musikinstrumente, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna.
|Fretted clavichord, AA - f3 (Noli?)|
|Fretted clavichord, FF- f3 (Noli?)|
Amongst the clavichords
of the collection of musical instruments in the Schloßmuseum Linz/Austria
are two anonymous instruments which are very similar to each other, a
third one is privately owned in Austria. Since all three have identical
signatures it is very likely that they have been built in the same workshop.
Although these signatures have never been deciphered with absolute certainty
I believe they stem from the workshop of Franz Prokop Noli in the Bohemian
town of Pilsen. There were two organ makers (father and son) of this name
so it is not clear which of them actually made the instruments. The date
is probably the last quarter of the 18th century. No matter who built
these clavichords, they are a good starting point for a fretted clavichord
of moderate size (c. 40 x 130 cm) with still (nearly) five octaves (one
has AA - f3, two have FF - f3).
|Unfretted clavichord, FF- f3 (Friederici 1765)|
|Christian Gottfried Friederici is one of the members of a large family of keyboard instrument makers in Gera. Their instruments were highly praised by contemporaries in the 18th century. They are mentioned in the letters of Leopold Mozart, who according to his own account owned a Friederici harpsichord. A clavichord by Chr. Ernst Friederici was in the posession of W. A. Mozart. It is a typical instrument of the "Empfindsamkeit".|
|Unfretted Clavichord, FF - g3, (Schiedmayer 1796)|
type of clavichord represents what I see as a small square piano with a
clavichord action. Schiedmayer, also famous for his pianos, shortened the
afterlength of the strings from tangent to hitchpin by means of extra "nut"
pins on the hitchrail and created an instrument that was suited to piano
playing technique, allowing the player to heavily hit the keys without the
danger of an unwanted "Bebung".
There is a recording of keyboard works by J. S. Bach on a Schiedmayer of mine.
|The smaller clavichords come without a stand whereas the Friederici and the Schiedmayer have an upper frame with four turned screw-on legs with wooden threads.|
I make harpsichords in the style of various historical instrument-building traditions. As mentioned above they are either built to my own design or inspired by an original instrument which i have examined and measured.
Austrian harpsichord has long been neglected by scholars and organologists.
Recent research has brought to light new instruments which had remained
unnoticed until a few years ago. Now we have a clearer view of what the
keyboard instruments of Froberger, Kerll, Muffat, Haydn, Mozart or Wagenseil
were like. The fact that so few instruments have survived is due to the
rapid development of piano making in Vienna from the late 18th century onwards.
With such prominent makers as Kober, Stein or Walter in Austria, it is obvious
why the harpsichord quickly became out of date.
I offer three instruments with a full chromatic compass and two with the typically Viennese multiple short broken octave which is required for several works by Poglietti, Fux or Haydn for instance.
|Single manual harpsichord, FF - f3, 8'8' (Blum 1778)|
|According to some tax documents, Mathias Blum must have been a very successful and wealthy organbuilder in Vienna. There is only one surviving harpsichord by him. It has a buffstop which is operated by a knee-lever and touches both strings from underneath. The case is of solid walnut and has a double-curved bentside; the short scale is suitable for brass stringing throughout.|
|Single manual harpsichord, FF - f3, 8'8' (Malleck 1778)|
|Very similar to the instrument of Blum, Malleck´s harpsichord is also short scaled and has fairly thin scantlings of walnut with an s-shaped bentside. The buffstop is of the same type but without a knee-lever. Joseph Haydn was certainly acquainted with instruments by Malleck who built the organ at the Bergkirche of Eisenstadt. Moreover, it is likely that he knew Malleck and perhaps even owned one of his harpsichords at Eszterháza. Malleck´s work is interesting insofar as there is one harpsichord as well as one piano (dated 1787) from his hand. It is the oldest Viennese fortepiano which is signed and dated. In addition there are also several organs still preserved in Austria.|
|Single manual harpsichord, FF - f3, 8'8' (Anon. Prague?, late 18th cent.)|
|The original of this model is possibly the only surviving genuine Bohemian harpsichord (see article). It is a very large instrument with a case length of over 2,5 meters. Like many Austrian harpsichords it has a double-curve bentside and only 6 mm thick case walls. However, it is painted and has a long scale for iron stringing. My reproduction of that instrument can be heard on CD.|
|Single manual harpsichord, FF/C - f3, g3, 8'8' (Anon. c. 1700)|
|This instrument has the "Viennese" bass octave with a compass of FF, GG, AA, BBb, BB, C, D, E, F - f3, g3. The softwood case is painted.|
|Single manual harpsichord, FF/C - f3, 8'8' (Leydecker 1755)|
|For many years Leydecker´s instrument was thought to be the only surviving harpsichord with the "Viennese" bass octave. Some of Haydn´s works cannot be played successfully on a normal chromatic keyboard. Therefor he must have used this type of instrument when composing his capriccio Hob. XVII/1 (Sauschneyder-Capriccio). Instruments with this keyboard were widely used in Vienna up to c. 1800. The case material is walnut.|
|Single manual harpsichord, C/E - c3, 8'4' (Ruckers)|
|The typical 17th flemish "steertstuck" with bone keyboard, Flemish papers and marbled case.|
|Single manual harpsichord, GG, AA - d3, 8'4' or 8'8' (Ruckers petit ravalement)|
|Slightly enlarged version with 4 1/2 octaves.|
|Single manual harpsichord, GG - e3, 8'8' (Delin)|
|Albert Delin is said to be a true follower of the Ruckers tradition. The disposition is 8'8' rather than Ruckers´ 8'4'.|
|Single manual harpsichord, FF - f3, 8'8'4' (Dulcken 1740)|
|Double manual harpsichord, GG - d3, 8'8'4' (Ruckers)|
|The Marquis de Sade Ruckers of 1624 in Colmar is the basis for this instrument. It can be made with a shove coupler for the second manual or a dogleg 8' on the upper manual.|
|Double manual harpsichord, FF - f3, 8'8'4' (Dulcken 1745)|
|Single manual harpsichord with five split sharps, C/E - f3, 8'|
|This instrument is based on an anonymous harpsichord in the Russell collection in Edinburgh. It has a short broken octave as well as five split sharps for eb/d# and g#/ab. It is normally single strung, a second 8´-choir can be made if desired.|
|Single manual harpsichord, C/E - c3, 8'|
A light and powerful continuo harpsichord with short octave and a single 8' choir. Thin cypress case, no lid.
|Single manual harpsichord, C/E - c3, 8'8'|
|As above but with two 8' strings.|
|Single manual harpsichord, C - d3, 8'8', false inner-outer (Ridolfi 1665)|
|Single manual harpsichord, C - d3, 8'8', false inner-outer (Giusti 1681)|
|Italian harpsichord that combines a slightly thicker case with painted finish and a lid.|
|Single manual harpsichord, GG/BB - e3, 8'8', false inner-outer (Gregori 1736)|
|Based on an instrument in the Barnes collection in Edinburgh but with slightly modified compass. There are several cd-recordings which use one of my Gregoris.|
|Single manual harpsichord, GG - d3, 8'8', false inner-outer|
|Single manual harpsichord, GG - g3, 8'8', false inner-outer|
compass of this harpsichord is ideal for Scarlatti´s keyboard music,
some of which requires g3.
|Italian GG - g3|
|Italian FF- f3|
Singlestrung Italian GG/BB - d3
|Italian C - d3|
|Single manual harpsichord, GG/BB - e3, 8'8' (Vater 1738)|
|A very handsome instrument, the Vater unites German and Italian features: shallow case, false inner-outer construction, double-bentside, brass stringing.|
|Single manual harpsichord, GG - e3, 8'8' (Mietke 1710)|
|Based on the Mietke in Hudiksvall.|
|Single manual harpsichord, C - d3, 8'8'4' (Seitz 1754)|
|Despite the rather late date the harpsichord by Seitz represents a type that might have been built around 1700 if not before. It exhibits several features of the early German school of harpsichord making. These include a narrow wrestplank with second soundboard under the nut, or the sloping case sides at the front with separate scrolled cheek doublings. There is an article about the harpsichord by Johann Elias Seitz which was discovered and identified in 1996. It is privately owned in Austria.|
|Single manual harpsichord, GG - f3, 8'8'4' (Seitz 1754)|
|Enlarged version of the above. The three registers are either operated with levers on the wrestplank or by stop knobs through the cheek.|
|Double manual harpsichord, FF,GG - e3, 8'8'4' (Mietke c. 1700)|
|This harpsichord is based on the Hudiksvall Mietke and the two Charlottenburg instruments.|
|Double manual harpsichord, FF - d3, 8'8'4' (Gräbner 1722)|
|The original is in the Villa Bertramka in Prague. The present compass of EE - e3 might have been extended from FF - d3 in the 18th century. It can be made with five octaves up to f3 if required.|
|Double manual harpsichord, FF - d3, 8'8'4' (Zell 1728)|
|Single manual harpsichord, FF- f3, 8'8'|
|This instrument is inspired by French harpsichords of the 18th century with a full five octave compass and a double transposer (392 - 415 - 440 cps).|
|Double manual harpsichord, GG/BB - c3, 8'8'4' (Vaudry 1681)|
|The four octave compass of this instruments permits a slender case of solid walnut with a strong, reedy and clear sound. It is ideally suited for the music of the early French harpsichord school of Louis Couperin, d'Anglebert, Le Roux and contemporaries. But this type of harpsichord might have been known just as well to Francois Couperin or Rameau. The Vaudry has been used in a recording of Telemann´s Clavierfantasien, Vivaldi´s Le Quattro Stagioni. and music by Louis Couperin.|
|Double manual harpsichord, FF - f3, 8'8'4' (Taskin 1769)|
on the famous Edinburgh Taskin, this is a mature if not to say "decadent"
big French double which can also be made with a compass of FF - g3 and transposing
down to 392 cps.
|Bentside spinet GG - g3, (Th. Hitchcock, London c. 1710)|
|The short-scaled brass stringing of this instrument makes for a very round, flute-like sound with a strong fundamental tone similar to a flemish muselaar. This is due to the plucking points which are fairly close to the centre of the string. Being single strung, it is a rather loud and powerful little instrument which can well make itself heard within an ensemble. Casework is of solid walnut or mahogany. It can also be had with a compass of FF - f3. The transposing keyboard is covered with boxwood and black "skunktail" sharps.|
|terms of sale|
All harpsichords except for those with short octave or split sharps have a transposing keyboard. A double transposer is available on application at extra cost. A simple trestle stand with turned legs is standard, other types of stand can be discussed individually. Prices given are for a painted finish with two colours of your choice or, where applicable, for an oil and wax finish. Prices for soundboard painting, bone naturals, marbled cases or other special case decoration and gilding are available on application. The instruments come with a toolkit (tuning hammer, spare strings and plectra), music stand and an optional padded transport cover.
One third of the payment is due when ordering an instrument, one third as work commences, the final installment upon completion of the instrument, prior to delivery. Prices and models are subject to change without notice. Delivery is free within Austria. For other countries packing and shipping costs have to be added.
|price-list||The price-list is currently not available. Please email for details.|
|is currently about four years. The time of building an instrument has to be added. This varies from three to six months depending on the type of instrument.|
If you wish to hire a clavichord, harpsichord or virginal for a concert, course or recording please email me. There are several instruments available, from single strung Italians to French doubles.