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Musical InstrumentsHistory, Technology, and Performance of Instruments of Western Music$
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Murray Campbell, Clive Greated, and Arnold Myers

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198165040

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198165040.001.0001

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Clavichord and Harpsichord

Clavichord and Harpsichord

Chapter:
(p.306) 10 Clavichord and Harpsichord
Source:
Musical Instruments
Author(s):

Murray Campbell

Clive Greated

Arnold Myers

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198165040.003.0010

This chapter sets out the fundamental principles of stringing and compares the clavichord and harpsichord classes of instruments in terms of the ways in which the strings are excited. The resulting sound quality and the degree of control that the player has over the sound are discussed. The development of the harpsichord in Italy and Northern Europe is examined and followed through to the modern instrument. The simpler virginal and spinet are described. Construction techniques are explained for the soundboard, barring, frame, and keyboard. The section on tuning uses circular diagrams to illustrate different historic temperaments and compares the merits of these. Performance practice techniques include the use of bebung on the clavichord, figured bass, and special effects used in avant-garde performance.

Keywords:   virginal, spinet, stringing, soundboard, barring, frame, keyboard, bebung

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