German Harpsichords

To represent German harpsichords, I have chosen the work of two makers from the first half of the 18th century:

Mietke, c.1710

Zell, 1728

Zell's work, as might be expected from a maker working a generation later than Mietke, is larger in size and layout than that of the latter. However, many constructional details are similar, and they share the clarity of sound preferable for the performance of the German contrapuntal repertoire.

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Mietke, c.1710

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Three harpsichords from Mietke's workshop are known to have survived. Dating from the first two decades of the 18 th century, all show a marked Italianate influence - particularly the single-manual instruments - with their slender cases, brass-scaled stringing, and ‘false inner-case' construction. The resulting dry, clear sound has a distinctive quality with considerable colour, giving excellent clarity of line and texture to the music of Bach and his predecessors. This type of instrument is also very effective in continuo, and for accompanying small groups.

Various schemes of decoration are possible, usually based on a painted case with an inner case-lining of maple or walnut.

Range FF – f3, or GG – e3.
  Transposing A392 -415, or A415 – 440.

Disposition Double lower 8', 4', buff
    upper 8'
    shove coupler
     
  Single 2 x 8', buff, optional 4'

Keyboards Ebony naturals with boxwood or ebony arcades, bone-topped accidentals

Decoration Painted case in one or two colours, with gold bands or other gilded decoration, inner case lining in maple or walnut, supported by a simple trestle stand with 4 turned legs. Many other schemes of decoration are possible, examples of which are illustrated on the Gallery page.

Dimensions

Double 94” x 36” (239 x 92cm)

Single 87" x 36" (221 x 92cm)

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Zell, 1728

click for larger image

This instrument is larger in size than the double-manual instrument by Mietke, and is scaled for the more usual iron stringing in the treble. These factors combine to give it a bigger voice than the Mietke, but the sound is still admirably clear, as expected from a German maker. The characteristic keywell decoration based on marquetry stars is available as an option.

Range FF –f3, transposing A415 – 440.

Disposition lower 8', 4', buff
  upper 8'
  shove coupler
   
  2 x 8', buff, optional 4'

Keyboards Bone naturals with walnut arcades, pernambuco-topped walnut accidentals

Decoration Case painted and gilded, inner case lining of walnut or maple, supported by a simple trestle stand, painted and gilded en suite . Other options are available, please enquire.

Dimensions

Double 94” x 36” (239 x 92cm)

Single 87" x 36" (221 x 92cm)

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