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Fr.Harpsichords

Christopher Cartwright

Owner is Christopher Cartwright who lives in Chinon, France. You may contact Chris by the following Email link:

Harpsichord

A new (2003) instrument by Michael Johnson of Fontmell Magna in Dorset, England. He used the plucking points and speaking lengths from a single manual Ruckers of 1637 as the basis of this instrument. The registration of the original instrument was typical of Ruckers, 1 x 8ft + 4ft with a buff to the 8ft choir. The upper manual 8ft and the 4ft on the lower manual are close to those of Ruckers. The second 8ft choir on the lower manual, however, is similar to the work of 18th century makers enlarging instruments from the Ruckers workshop.

The compass has been extended on this instrument from the original C/E-c3 to GG-d3 with the facility to transpose the keyboards in both directions. It is strung to work at A-415, but in the transposed positions pitches of A-392 and A-440 can be used. In order to keep as close as possible to 17th century case sizes, there is a loss of a note in whichever direction the keyboard has been moved.

The woods used are all traditional, and mostly seasoned on the workshop site. These are poplar for the case, spruce (Picea Abies) for the soundboard, oak for the wrestplank, pear for the 8ft bridge and beech for the 4ft bridge and both the plank nuts. The lime keys are covered with resin ivory and bog oak sharps, and the arcades are boxwood. The jacks are made of pearwood with holly tongues. It is strung with Malcolm Rose brass and iron wire.

The motto on the front lid "Concinunt qui concordant" translates as "They sing in tune whose hearts are one". The motto on the main lid "Ad harmoniam compositi harmonia lætantur" is a translation of a quotation from Sir Thomas Browne's Religio Medici (1643), "Whosoever is harmonically composed delights in harmony"

clavichord

Clavichord After J.A.Hass Hamburg 1767 - This instrument is based on the J.A.Hass clavichord of 1767 now owned by Christopher Hogwood. It was made in Michael Johnson's workshop by his assistant Charles Gellett in 1984. The compass is FF-f3, and it is double-strung, with an additional third 4ft string for the bottom 20 notes FF-C. The soundboard was decorated by Kyle Turner, and the motto was painted by Richard Grasby, the internationally known letterer and stone carver. The motto is a quotation from Shakespeare's The Tempest, which continues "Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments will hum about mine ears" - quite suitable for clavichords or harpsichords!