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314.122-6-8 True board zithers with resonator box (box zithers) sounded by plectrum, with keyboard

Harpsichord with two keyboards, five octaves, FF-f''', no FF sharp, two eight foot registers, one four foot register, lute register, buff stop to front eight foot, machine stop and nag's head lid swell. The swell mechanism was partially removed during a restoration in 1959 and reinstated during the restoration of 2013. The instrument is now in playing condition. Previously restored in 1959, 1972 & 1980 . Previously owned by Lady Braye of Stanford Hall; inscription on back of the nameboard: 'Irvin Hinchcliffe bought this harpsichord from Lady Braye Stanford Park 1948'; Glyndebourne Festival Opera owned the instrument in 1958; it was acquired by the Horniman 1972.

Harpsichord with two keyboards. Five octaves, F1, G1 - F6 (FF-f3, no FF sharp), 60 notes. Two eight foot registers, one four foot register, lute register, buff stop to front eight foot, machine stop and nag's head lid swell. The left pedal operates the machine stop (pedal up: lower manual 2x8 + 4, upper manual 1x8. pedal down: lower manual 1x8, upper manual 1x 8 (lute)). One rose. The instrument is now in playing condition. The swell mechanism was partially removed during a restoration in 1959 and reinstated during the restoration of 2013.

This harpsichord, the most expensive of Kirckman’s models, was far beyond ordinary means. Nevertheless, it placed at the command of one who could afford it, an impressive array of sounds. With its two keyboards, three sets of strings and two pedal-operated devices, it had the most up-to-date specification. The left pedal facilitates quick changes in tone colour and volume. The right pedal operates a Nag’s head swell which creates gradations in volume by lifting and lowering the front portion of the lid. Its buff stop applies a set of leather pads to the strings giving a muffled, less percussive sound, and the lute stop plucks the strings very close to one of its end points yielding a very nasal sound.

English harpsichords of this era represent both the instrument's apogee and the heralding of its eventual eclipse by the piano. During this extended period of transition, music began to demand expressive effects, such as the creation of gradual crescendo and diminuendo within a single phrase, which were more easily accomplished on an instrument with touch sensitive dynamics, like the piano.

This harpsichord, the most expensive of Kirckman’s models, was far beyond ordinary means. Nevertheless, it placed at the command of one who could afford it, an impressive array of sounds. With its two keyboards, three sets of strings and two pedal-operated devices, it had the most up-to-date specification. The left pedal facilitates quick changes in tone colour and volume. The right pedal operates a Nag’s head swell which creates gradations in volume by lifting and lowering the front portion of the lid. Its buff stop applies a set of leather pads to the strings giving a muffled, less percussive sound, and the lute stop plucks the strings very close to one of its end points yielding a very nasal sound. English harpsichords of this era represent both the instrument's apogee and the heralding of its eventual eclipse by the piano. During this extended period of transition, music began to demand expressive effects, such as the creation of gradual crescendo and diminuendo within a single phrase, which were more easily accomplished on an instrument with touch sensitive dynamics, like the piano.

Inaugural performance by Jane Chapman on 29 January 2014, at launch of At Home With Music exhibition.

Collection Information

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