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

Harpsichord History Book

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A History of the Harpsichord brings together for the first time more than 200 photographs, illustrations, and drawings of harpsichords in public museums and private collections throughout Europe and the United States. Edward L. Kottick draws on his extensive technical knowledge and experience as a harpsichord builder to detail the changing design, structure, and acoustics of the instrument over six centuries.

Based on painstaking research, the book considers the place of the instrument in society and vividly describes the market forces that brought about changes in its form, decoration, and cultural importance. An accompanying CD includes performances on several of the historical instruments described and illustrated in the volume, including a 1580 spinet virginal by Martin van der Biest and instruments built by Ruckers and Pleyel. The volume devotes attention to American harpsichord design as well as to present and future uses of the instrument. This comprehensive volume will prove indispensable to harpsichordists, keyboardists, scholars, and early music enthusiasts alike.

Plates and Illustrations

I. The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries

1. From Psaltery and Monochord to Harpsichord and Virginal
Hermann Poll and the clavicembalum
The psaltery and the monochord
Iconographical evidence of the harpsichord
A digression on pitch and scale
The manuscript of Henri Arnaut
Clavichords and virginals
The Royal College of Music clavicytherium
Summing up

II. The Sixteenth Century

2. The Emergence of the Northern Harpsichord
Archival records
Germany and the Müller harpsichord
Antwerp and the virginals of Ioes Karest
England and the Theewes claviorganum
Summing up

3. Antwerp Harpsichord Building between Karest and Ruckers
The surviving virginals
A virginal by Hans Ruckers
The surviving grands
Summing up

4. Early Italian Style
The earliest Italian harpsichords
Harpsichords, Italian style
Virginals and spinets
Italian scales
Venice and the tradition of opulence
Naples and elsewhere
Summing up

III. The Seventeenth Century

5. The Ruckers-Couchet Dynasty
The Ruckers-Couchet family
Single-manual harpsichords
Double-manual harpsichords
The harpsichord/virginal combination
The late Couchet instruments
The decoration of harpsichords and virginals
The Flemish harpsichord as a cultural icon
Summing up

6. Later Italian Style
New developments in the seventeenth century
Naples and elsewhere
Anonymous instruments
Summing up

7. Seventeenth-Century International Style
Characteristics of International style
Regional distinctions
Summing up

8. France
Virginals and spinets
Harpsichord making in Paris
Lyons and elsewhere
Summing up

9. Germany and Austria
Virginals and spinets
Summing up

10. England
Bentside spinets
Summing up

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