Zuckermann Harpsichords International

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

The Double Fretted "King of Sweden" Clavichord

The clavichord is a keyboard instrument whose origins date back to the end of the fourteenth century, about the same time as the birth of the harpsichord.

Our little clavichord is designed "after" an anonymous instrument that was probably made in Germany in the early or mid seventeenth century. It was reputed to have been in a collection of instruments belonging to the King of Sweden.

This particular instrument was made from a kit by a Zuckermann customer in West Virginia. It was here in the shop for new listing cloth and a few broken strings. Lena Zamolodchikova playing.

It used to be thought that the quietness of the clavichord's tone is a handicap, but that is a misconception that no longer reflects enlightened opinion. While the initial impression is one of extreme quietness, the ear soon adjusts to the instrument's dynamic range, and strong playing easily produces a shattering ff, while the softer sounds can shade off to near inaudibility.

In the proper acoustical environment clavichord recitals can be given quite successfully for several hundred people. Furthermore, in contrast to the organ and harpsichord, the clavichord is dynamically expressive — the intensity of every note is controlled by the player. The pressure of the finger must go exactly as far as you intend, and the note must be held without wavering. You can play the clavichord boldly and vigorously once you learn.

This is the easiest of our instruments to build. American cherry wood parts are accurately cut and include all hardware, specialty tools and detailed instruction.

Contact us today to order your "King of Sweden" clavichord!

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