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Fr.Harpsichords

George Debono

Unfretted Clavichord

This instrument was built in 1997 in Malta. The main frame, which incorporates the hitchpins and wrestplanks, is constructed out of thoroughly weathered oak. The remaining parts of the case are made out of matured pine. The case is elaborately veneered with mahogany and marquetry inlays. The keys were obtained from an old piano the casing of which was being dismantled by a craftsman to be converted into a cabinet desk. Some other parts of this piano were re-used as, for instance, balance pins and guide pins. It is nice to know that this old piano lives on in a new guise. The soundboard is made out of matured spruce from picea excelsa which grew in the Dolomites, Northern Italy. The wrest pins, tangents, and hitchpins are made out of ordinary iron, and were fashioned for the most part out of light steel rods. The clavichord is strung with bichord throughout. The bottom octave, C - c, is strung with covered strings. The weight and tension of these strings were calculated specifically for the instrument. The Clavichord was not 100% complete at the time trhe photo was taken. The listing cloth hadn't arrived yet, what you see instead is white wool unravelled from a pullover.

Though Malta is full of antiquities and museums, I am not aware that there exists a single clavichord in Malta. This is therefore the only instrument on the island! At the time of writing construction of a second clavichord (JA Hass 1761) was in progress.

Builder & Owner: George Debono
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