French Harpsichord

2010-05-18

A harpsichord is predecessor to the piano and a keyboard instrument that produces its sound by plucking strings with quills when the keys are pressed. The sounds of the strings are then acoustically amplified by the body of the instrument. The pitch of a set of strings is described in feet like the pipes of an organ. An 8 foot string set sounds one octave lower than a 4 foot.

A characteristic feature of a harpsichord is the sound of the quill that hits the string again when a key is released. Harpsichords do not respond to velocity and they are not equipped with a sustain pedal. It is however possible to use the sustain pedal to emulate keys being held down, on our sounds. French harpsichords have wonderfully light and responsive actions, warm richness, deep, sonorous basses, and clarity of tone that makes these instruments very appealing. They also produce a more distinct sound when you release the keys with a longer deacy.

A typical french harpsichord have an upper and a lower manual, three sets of strings, and a buff (lute) stop. The range is five octaves. Our triple stringed harpsichord was recorded at the Swedish National Radio, studio 9.