By Ann Bond
This functional consultant treats the mechanics and evolution of the device and provides a survey of its literature. the writer discusses contact and process, together with articulation and fingering, and the problems thinking about old functionality practices. She additionally presents feedback on deciding on and preserving a harpsichord.
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Additional info for A Guide to the Harpsichord
These louvers could be opened or closed with a pedal to give small crescendos and diminuendos. The louvers, however, alter the natural tone of the instrument radically when closed, masking much of the sharpness of the pluck. Add to this the occasional use of leather plectra, and we are faced with an instrument whose tone was not so very far removed from that of the fortepiano, and which could make good sense of classical compositions such as Haydn's sonatas. Crescendos and diminuendos are nevertheless artistically foreign to the harpsichord's nature; and in the end, the integrity of the instrument was pushed beyond its limits by attempting to cope with changes in composition styles.
Bach and Rameau, 1 refer to this position. In fact, if your hands are large no other position is really possible. You will also realize that your nails need to be kept short. The curve of the fingers means that as you play a note your finger moves slightly toward the front of the key as well as downward. The release of the note is not simply a lift of the finger, but may also be a continuation of the curve. Experiment with this movement now, away from the keyboard. Although a difficult technical point, such as an awk < previous page page_52 next page > < previous page page_53 next page > Page 53 ward trill, can sometimes be solved by flattening the fingers slightly, curved fingers should be the norm.
Delving in historic treatises can be fascinating, but it must be admitted that they are sometimes obscure, random, or even inconsistent, and they often lack a pedagogic sense. I cherish the memory of one viol book that progresses, in three musical examples, from the most elementary fingering to a passage of hideous difficulty. These books are equally apt to be vague or unsubtle in keyboard matters. The instruction "raise the finger from A and depress B" could cover quite a variety of transition types (whose effect could depend on many variablesfor instance, on how far the key dips before it plucks); it might have a basic meaning to a beginner, but a more complex one to an expert.
A Guide to the Harpsichord by Ann Bond