This harpsichord is based on the anonymous Neapolitan instrument in the Museum of Fine Art, Boston which is thought to date from about 1550. It is one of the few Italian harpsichords that can be positively identified as having had an original disposition of 1x8 1x4, which was not uncommon in the early period of Italian harpsichord building.
An unusual feature is the soundboard which is made of maple (European sycamore) rather than the more usual cypress. It also has a feature possibly derived from the 15th century where the baseboard is raised about 7mm. above the level of the sides of the instrument so that it is free to resonate. Research by John Koster and others has revealed that this harpsichord is possibly related to others that have a similar baseboard arrangement and also originate from the Naples area. For the instrument that I offer the original design has been closely followed including the maple soundboard with minimal barring and raised baseboard.
The internal components are made from pine and lime with numerous supporting knees making an inner frame that is both light and strong. It produces a beautifully rich bass with an almost bell like treble and four foot register. The sides are also made of sycamore with finely detailed moulding profiles, the rose is pearwood with layers of parchment. Keyboard and action are of beechwood in the Italian manner with traditional box slides. Jacks are also beechwood fitted with Delrin plectra. Boxwood is used for the natural keys and arcades and the sharps are pearwood topped with ebony. The instrument can be supplied painted or in natural maple with an oiled finish. An outer case is also available with matching turned stand or the instrument can be constructed, false inner-outer. The C/E-c"' version of this instrument retains the dimensions of the original harpsichord with it's beautiful proportions and deeply curving bentside.
A very detailed description of the original harpsichord is given in, "Keyboard Musical Instrument in the Museum of Fine Art, Boston", by John Koster.
Museum of Fine Art, Boston http://www.mfa.org
Compass: C/E-c’’’ short octave (as original) or GG – d’’’
Disposition: 1 x 8, 1 x 4. Strung throughout in brass
Pitch: a' = 415Hz.
Dimensions: 1940 x 685mm.