Zuckermann Harpsichords International

Harpsichords, clavichords, spinets and virginals ... closely based on the best extant antiques from the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.


Flemish Double-Manual Harpsichord

Flemish Double-Manual Harpsichord The members of the Ruckers family of Antwerp dominated harpsichord making North of the Alps for the first 50 years of the 17th century. They produced virginals in a variety of forms and sizes, but their single and double-manual harpsichords were the most prized. By the end of the 17th century their singles, with only a 1x8', 1x4' disposition and a 45-note (four-octave) short- octave keyboard, seemed hopelessly inadequate. But the instruments were far too valuable to discard, so in a process called ravalement, they were rebuilt to give them the more flexible disposition of 2x8', or 2x8', 1x4', and the compass was enlarged.

Keywell Detail The Ruckers' double-manual harpsichords were originally made with their keyboards unaligned — the lower manual was a fourth lower than the upper. Later, they underwent ravalement as well, and in the process their keyboards were lined up. Our Flemish instruments have been "enlarged" to four and a half octaves with chromatic bass, giving a compass useful for most of the music written in the baroque. Since these single- and double-manual harpsichords were redecorated in current local fashion after the rebuilding process, a variety of decorative options is available, ranging from the Ruckers marbling to the French gold bands and moldings. [Continued] ... [Details]


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