Zuckermann Harpsichords International

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

Italian Harpsichord after Grimaldi

Italian Harpsichord after Grimaldi Carlo Grimaldi, who also made organs and lutes, was considered one of the finest Italian builders of the late 17th through the early 18th centuries. He retains that reputation today, even though only two of his instruments have survived. But these long and slender harpsichords, with no embellishment other than their graceful shape and complex architectural moldings, are among the most handsome and eloquent examples of Italian harpsichord building that have come down to us.

Keywell Detail Both the extant Grimaldis are 'true inner-outers'; that is, they are thin-case, natural-wood harpsichords set into heavy, painted, protective outer cases. But integral case instruments - the ones we now call 'false inner-outers' - were being made then as well. These were heavy-case harpsichords, but with moldings and veneers strategically placed, they gave the appearance of an inner instrument in a painted outer case. Like almost all Italians, our Grimaldi model is disposed 2x8' and has one keyboard. Strung entirely in brass, the sound of the Grimaldi is noted for its power and speech-like quality, appropriate for continuo playing, accompanying, and for the Italian solo literature.


Disposition 2x8'; stop levers on wrestplank
Range 56 + 1 notes, GG-d'''; transposable A415/A440
Dimensions app. 93" x 37"
Weight app. 99 lbs.
Action keyboard with boxwood naturals, walnut sharps; keyboard scrolls carved with acanthus leaves motif; cherry jacks
Wood 'false inner-outer' case to achieve traditional Italian trompe-d'oeil effect; 'interior' in yellow cedar, 'exterior' (actually joined to interior but appearing to be a separate case) in basswood; Swiss pine soundboard
Stand pedestal-style in turned, naturally-finished beech
Standard features:
  • 'Outer' case painted one color using traditional Italian techniques and 'inner' case naturally-finished; or both cases naturally-finished
  • Adjustable folding music desk, regular and continuo lid sticks matching the
  • inner case
  • Dust cover


  • Lid painting, special motifs on the case and other decorative details
  • Walnut stand
  • Padded cover

Signed D. Jacques Way.

Grimaldi Harpsichord — Detail

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