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Clavichord (Germany, 1710)

About the Clavichord (Germany, 1710)

This easily portable, four-octave clavichord of anonymous German workmanship is dated 1710 on the finely embossed paper front of each plumwood-covered natural key. Old marks inked on the neatly whittled key levers indicate the proper material (brass or iron) and gauge of the wire strings, which are struck by brass tangents embedded near the ends of the levers. Placement of the tangents determines the vibrating length of the strings. Most of the strings are "fretted," that is, struck by two adjacent tangents, giving two successive notes from each pair of strings; the lowest ten pairs are each struck by only one tangent. Clavichords sound very quiet and were often used for practicing and for private entertainment at home; this one, which retains two rare old spools of wire, was restored in 1989.

Image of Clavichord (Germany, 1710)