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Fr.Harpsichords

Rodney Myrvaagnes

These instruments belong to Barbara and Rodney Myrvaagnes, in whose crowded apartment they live and play. The two wing-shaped harpsichords were built by Rodney Myrvaagnes in 1972-3. The spinettino is an antique.

The outer cases of the modern instruments are slightly later than the inners. Both were decorated by Barbara Myrvaagnes. It may be hard to see in the photos, but the first one is all gold leaf. It was obviously inspired by a picture of the Grimaldi.

The second she painted freehand mainly with yellow ochre when she thought the plain black case was too utilitarian looking. I made the case when I was using it for rental and it was getting banged up.

After da Pertici

After da Pertici

Made in 1972-3 after da Pertici Boston. Inner case is Med Cypress, with knots as you can see where the spine shows above the soundboard. The outer case is a couple of years later.

The keys are box naturals, which have never gotten smudgy. The sharps are ebony veneer on pearwood stained with iron and tannic acid.

Third Instrument

My third instrument, also from 1973 with a later outer case. It is GG/BB-d3 with no split keys. The keyboard was originally covered with zapatera ("Colombian Boxwood"). It did require frequent cleaning as the keys got smudgy.

In 1979 I redid the naturals with real boxwood and have had no trouble since. The sharps were ebony to begin with. The inner case and soundboard is Alaska yellow cedar.

1683 Obici

This is the 1683 Obici, W311, also in all three editions of Boalch. The partly inset keyboard was also characteristic of another Veronese, Bruneto. Cypress inner case, box naturals, ebony-capped sharps. C/E-c3. Scale really short.

The outer case sides have a sleazy repaint job probably done at the French dealer that sold it to the Harding Museum. The case itself is old, and I think the lid painting is as well. It is certainly a much higher class of work than the outside.

The bottom of the outer case has an opening for the one octave (8 notes) of pedal pulldowns. Traces of the wires are embedded in the keys.