Flemish Single-Manual Harpsichord After Ruckers
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 with an enlarged compass.
The Ruckers' double-manual harpsichords were originally made with their keyboards unaligned--the lower manual was a fourth lower than the upper.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.
||2x8', buff or 1x8', 1x4', buff; stop levers in keywell
||56+1 notes, GG-d'''; transposable A415/A440
||app. 82" x 29"
||app. 121 lbs.
||reverse keyboard with ebony naturals, bone-slipped sharps and pearwood arcades; wooden jacks
||case in lime or basswood; oak wrestplank; Swiss pine soundboard
- Antique style music wire
- Soundboard painting
- Decorative rose in the soundboard
- Case and interior lid painting in Flemish or another style (simple faux marble, or two colors) using traditional techniques
- Flemish papers around the inner case and in the keywell
- Adjustable, folding music desk, regular and continuo lid sticks in waxed, natural oak
- Dust cover
- Keyboard with bone naturals and oak sharps, and with arcades in embossed leather
- Special motifs on the case and other decorative details
- Staining of the natural woods
- Other stand
- Padded cover
Signed D. Jacques Way.