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Fr.Harpsichords

Nick Gardner

Owner is Nick Gardner who lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. You may contact Nick by the following Email link:

Virginal

Cornelis Bom of Nieuwolda, Holland, made this very fine virginal in December 2003 --March 2004. The instrument is not made after a specific instrument but is after measurements of old virginals in museums in Rome, Edinburgh, London, Nuremberg, Leipzig, and Hamburg. The design intention behind the construction of this virginal, Cornelis says, is to accompany a church choir and for playing later music. Even Mozart is possible, he adds.

The sound is full-bodied, creative, and resonant as well as being very warm and friendly (much like Cornelis' personality). The tone of the bass is masculine, deep, vibrant, and rumbling. In fact, it roars. The treble, in contrast, is feminine, very clear, and articulate. The middle section of the keyboard has a solid, firm sound that combines the tone of the bass and treble. In sum, the virginal has a wide-range of timbres from bass to treble, which is one of the distinctive qualities of the instrument.

The compass runs from BB-d''' (Helmholtz notation) - sufficient for playing an extensive repertoire with BB tuned to GG, C# to AA, D# to BB, with C to d''' chromatic. The action is light and responsive. The instrument is tuned at A=440 in Rameau's tempérament ordinaire with the instrument living in 50% RH at 21 degrees C.

In terms of the virginal's construction, Cornelis has made the case thicker than usual for strength of construction. As the owner has moved many times during his life (Canada, Africa, Finland, Russia, the USA, and South Korea as an itinerant ESL teacher), Cornelis has prepared the virginal to accompany any future travels. But the soundboard has been made especially thin, thinner than in any previous virginal or harpsichord which Cornelis has made. Perhaps, this is why the instrument has such a powerful, resonant sound. The size of the rectangular case is 152 cm (L) X 41 cm (W) X 20 cm (H) with the keyboard section 68 cm (L) X 13 cm (W) X 20 cm (H). After being plucked, C (Helmholtz notation) keeps its sustain for 16 seconds. In contrast, c''' has a sustain of 3 seconds. This means that the instrument is wonderful for combining contrasts of tone and sustain between the bass and treble

Virginal

The beautiful decoration of the virginal was completed by Tineke Slot Jorritsma, who spent many sleepless nights pondering how to make the instrument a stunning example of her art. (Tineke, by the way, sings in the same choir as Cornelis.) Tineke lives in Hellum and has her workshop in Noordbroek, Holland. All of the decoration is painted. The wood has the real look of real maple. The decoration complements the sound and historical origins of the instrument. Tineke has given the virginal a real presence and distinctive visual personality.

The owner wishes to thank both Cornelis and Tineke for creating this wonderful instrument with its warm and full-bodied musical and visual character. The virginal has become a good friend. It is his hope that he will play it with ever-increasing enjoyment and understanding of its many voices.