Custom Made Harpsichord

SØRLI Lautenwerke and Harpsichords

Steven Sørli, 425 Pratt Corner Road, Amherst, MA 01002
Telephone: 413-259-1774
email: sorli(at)lautenwerk(dot)com

Rave Reviews

"My 2016 Sorli pedal clavicytherium, pedal board, bench and stand for supporting a manual harpsichord (in this case a pre-existing one by a different maker) were all custom fitted to suit my needs. My personal dimensions, the way the accidentals would be shaped and how they would relate to the naturals, the height and width of the bench, the dimensions and design of the stand all had to be taken into consideration. Steven did all of this to perfection. The pedal action is light and sensitive, the same as a harpsichord action, without springs to aid the return. The bench and stand are strong and beautifully made. The clavicytherium is clean-looking, slim and attractive, and its action works flawlessly and quietly. The sound of the main 8' is full, reedy, penetrating and never tiring to the ear. The second 8' can be added to it by a hand lever whenever the player desires. The clavicytherium has a back lid that can be kept closed, partly opened, or fully opened, as the player desires. There's a tuning keyboard in the rear of the clavicytherium at floor level just under the pin block. Having the pedal strings behind the player, instead of the more usual location under the manual harpsichord, gives an attractive spatial separation between the two instruments and helps make the pedal line that much more distinguishable from the manual sound."-Ed Parmentier


"In addition to having a beautiful design, Steven Sørli's new clavicytherium is poetry in motion. It has an expressive range from purely lyrical to aggressive, it sustains like a harp and plays runs like greased lightning. This instrument was the hit of the exhibition: I couldn't tear myself away from it--on the rare occasions when I could get my hands on it in the first place, that is!" -Beth Garfinkel, DM in harpsichord from Indiana University '07


"I am writing to tell you how much I continue to enjoy owning and playing my clavicytherium. It is a very popular instrument among my students and friends.  Especially gratifying is the large variety of repertoire that "works" on the clavicytherium, which has changed the opinion of a few people who assumed that it would be appropriate only for limited repertoire.  The instrument is versatile, expressive (depending on how it is played, of course), and easy to care for." -Ryan L. Whitney, Seattle, WA


"The clavicytherium is giving us all great pleasure. The tone is beautiful and the action provides perfect control. It makes me feel like I am playing a lute or guitar - but with the facility and compass that a keyboard can provide. Thank you for making such a wonderful instrument." -Karl Habermeir, Classical Guitarist, Rockville, MD


"Just a note to inform you that the instrument arrived safe and sound (and still in tune!) on Wednesday. The Clavicytherium looks really good and the tone is beautiful. Everyone who has heard or played the instrument is very happy with it." -Francis Biggi, Head of Early Music, Conservatoire Supérieur de Musique de Genève


"Firstly, I must say that I have never enjoyed a new instrument as much as I have this lautenwerck. I have to pull myself away from it to get anything done! The sound is extraordinary. I am so pleased I chose the metal and lute stringing because the variety of colors is astonishing. The harfenzuge is a wonderful addition to the sound possibilities, as is the nasale effect created by the sliding keyboard. It is all too scrumptious for words and the audio clips on your website just don't do it justice. It is far more ravishing in person!  I only wish that I had the financial resources to purchase your theorbenflügel, which doubtless is even far more astounding! Yet this one is certainly much easier to transport for performances and seems to be perfect for continuo playing." -Keith Paulson-Thorpe, Director of Music, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Delray Beach, FL


"I never grow tired of playing on this lute-harpsichord. The sound is so pleasing that the time I spend practicing literally flies. It has cleaned up my playing considerably and has changed the way I hear music. Hitherto, with few exceptions, J. S. Bach harpsichord pieces were, to me, little more than finger exercises. My lautenwerck has caused me to hear more like a lutenist/guitarist. The subtle space between the notes has become as important as the notes themselves. Taking time to allow a phrase to bloom, to gracefully wane, and begin again, this is an aural lesson that only a fine instrument can teach. I am grateful to you for providing me with this patient teacher and an enthusiastic musical companion." -J. Mark Dunn, Staten Island, NY


"As an organizer of an early music vacation workshop and as a recording engineer, I have encountered enough of Steven Sørli's keyboard instruments to have a fair idea of what they're about. They are meticulously regulated and voiced. The fine architectonics and 17th and 18th century color schemes of these harpsichords and lautenwercke draw one's appraising eye in a most pleasing way. The latter lute-strung singles and doubles have a rich, fundamental presence that fully supports and enriches music involving strings and winds. The sound lends itself to vocal accompaniment, in part because the cues one perceives strongly resemble those of an archlute or theorbo." -Christopher Greenleaf, Rhode Island


"During the autumn of 2002 I performed a couple of concerts using a lautenwerk by harpsichord maker, Steven Sørli. I found the instrument useful for a surprisingly wide range of musical tasks. I was pleased how well it handled a variety of repertoire for the lute as well as music for the harpsichord. For my taste, the lautenwerck sounds at its best playing either lute music or harpsichord music that is lute-inspired such as the stil brise. Froberger sounded great on the Sørli lautnewerk. Also the instrument worked quite well as a continuo instrument. The particular instrument I was using allowed the performer to adjust the plucking point by sliding the keyboard in and out, imitating the tonal changes created by changing the plucking point on a lute. I found this color variety quite useful for continuo playing." -Andrus Madsen, Boston, MA.


"I had a chance to experience the lautenwerk that you just sent out to San Diego. I had never seen an instrument like this before. Your workmanship is superb! It is beautifully made, really a lovely instrument. The sound was really a treat. It has a sweet, charming tone that really fits so nicely with early music. I had read about lautenwerken and knew that you built them. It was a real treat to hear the real thing! Wonderful work!" -John Seal, San Diego Harpsichord Society


Double-Lyre Clavicytherium

Sørli Clavicytherium at Boston Early Music Festival 2013

Lute and Guitar Strings For Sale