Early French Harpsichord

This instrument is based on a French harpsichord made by Anton Lefebvre who worked in Paris c1680.
Original French harpsichords of the 17th century are rare. Lefebvre's instrument is one of only about five single manual French harpsichords known to have survived from this period. Double manual instruments are known but even this list is relatively short. However those that have survived evidently belong to an early indigenous school of harpsichord building. They are markedly different in many aspects of their design and construction to the instruments of Blanchet and Hemch that became established in a national style at the beginning of the 18th century.

 

 

 

 




These early French harpsichords have
constructional details similar to those of both the Italian and Flemish schools of instrument building. They are noted for their light and responsive keyboards with naturals covered usually with ebony and the sharps of either bone or ivory. On this instrument a trefoil motif is carved directly into the ends of the key levers.

At each end of the keyboard the blocks have a scrolled top surface reminiscent of Italian work and the removable nameboard drops from the level of the sides in a decorative scroll to just above the wrest plank. The soundboards of these early instruments were almost always decorated with flowers and butterflies etc. and the soundhole fitted with a pierced parchment rose.

 

Specification:
Compass: GG/AA - c"'(as original) or GG - d"'

Disposition: 2 x 8, Strung throughout in brass. Pitch: a'= 415Hz.
Dimensions: 1915mm x 800mm x 190mm
(850mm high with stand).

The instrument is supplied complete with separate folding music desk and tuning lever.