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Thread: Clavichord

  1. #1
    Senior Member MoonlightSonata's Avatar
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    Default Clavichord

    Has anyone else here ever played a clavichord or do you want to? I like the experience of playing vibrato on a keyboard instrument and it's a wonderful domestic instrument being so quiet and compact.

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Nope, never, can't stand the instrument.

    Just kidding. I used to possess one a few years ago, and it had a very nice timbre but the strings were tight and it was hard to do bebung on it. My ideal clavichord has enough notes to accommodate the classical era, but is still reasonably portable.

    They are a great instrument.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ptr's Avatar
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    I love the clavicord, the have a sublime tone, have built 3 (different models, the first a simple 4½ octave kit, the others from measured blueprints I picked up on the interweb, quite easy to build if You have "some" woodworking skills!), they are also very good exercise instruments for organists!

    Way back when I took musicology, an American dude (Joel Speerstra) at the Gotheburg University Organology department (GOART) even built a copy of a German (IIRC) three manual + pedals Cavicord that have been recorded in some Bach by Harald Vogel!

    /ptr
    Je suis Charlie ~ I am a certified OrgaNut! (F.—I.W.)

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptr View Post
    I love the clavicord, the have a sublime tone, have built 3 (different models, the first a simple 4½ octave kit, the others from measured blueprints I picked up on the interweb, quite easy to build if You have "some" woodworking skills!), they are also very good exercise instruments for organists!

    Way back when I took musicology, an American dude (Joel Speerstra) at the Gotheburg University Organology department (GOART) even built a copy of a German (IIRC) three manual + pedals Cavicord that have been recorded in some Bach by Harald Vogel!

    /ptr
    You love the clavichord, I love your message. Including the "quite easy to build" part. There is something very personal/private about the instrument anyway, and building your own adds significantly to that... (dammit, I don't have the word; it's somewhat related to 'aura', only it is 'luminous sound' and it is directed inward).

    [I feel it is only polite to put the philosophical mumbo-jumbo within ().]

    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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  7. #5
    Senior Member hreichgott's Avatar
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    Where did you get this kit ptr?? was the sound any good? would you recommend it?
    Heather W. Reichgott, piano
    http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com

  8. #6
    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    I owned one for several years, built by another, a ca. four and a half octave ("Bach range keyboard") single manual, none of the strings sharing a tangent (ergo, fully chromatic.)

    I loved it. It is THE only plinkety-plonk keyboard instrument of its era which is capable of dynamics, and as already stated, once you learn to control the additional ability for vibrato (modern kids, ladies and gentlemen, relate that to 'after touch' on a digital keyboard:-) you really can bring out one voice in a contrapuntal texture.

    Mine had keys of a width appropriate to the era, slightly narrower than present day keyboards, which was quite a revelation when playing Bach.

    It was also Bach's favorite plinkety plonk Clavier.

    It is so relatively quiet that it is useless for playing in any but the smaller or smallest of rooms, and it also of no utility if accompanying another instrument or voice.

    The instrument's capacity for dynamics and vibrato, its overall small dynamic scale, and a remarkable and palpable feeling of being in direct touch with the strings, combine to make it an extremely intimate instrument. (If desired, a pick up bar could be mounted over the strings for amplification,)

    I could not adequately tune it really really well even after two years (though 'practicing' tuning was not as regular to say I made that a goal), so the cost of the occasional professional tuning of it plus my regular piano tuning, and being still in conservatory at the time (way more money out than coming in:-) led me to the choice to sell it to another musician who was going to give it more regular use and care.

    It is an instrument the owner / player must be willing to learn to tune if they wish to use it regularly and not incur an otherwise great expense -- because with any regular use they go out of tune pretty quickly.
    Last edited by PetrB; Apr-27-2014 at 04:22.

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