The French Harpsichord


The French harpsichord , emerged from the Flemish school , was mainly in the 18th century . Developed ( the golden age of the harpsichord ) .

The French school is looking for a very soft and rich sound , with an almost indefinite approach , very deep bass and a very gentle and sensitive touch .


The typical game device consists of three registers ( 8 8 4 , lute ) and two keyboards ( with shove coupler ) with five octaves ( FF - f3 ) circumference .

Some instruments have a fourth register , so-called . Peau de buffle , with an extremely soft sound , and toggle to operate the registry .


Detailansicht, Ioannes Couchet, 1652, Musée de la musique, Paris, © Photo Jean-Marc Anglès



The case is often painted in two colors , with gold bands and frame ( or decorated with chinoiserie ) , painted the inner cover and the soundboard decorated with flowers .

Taskin-Cembalo (1787Paris), Pascal Taskin (1723-1793), MK&G Hamburg, Sammlung Beurmann, © Foto: Angela Franke



The instruments of the harpsichord builder Pascal Taskin represent a culmination of the French harpsichord construction in the second half of the 18th century . This two-manual instrument is deceptive while pretending to be the conversion of an old Dutch instrument from the famous workshop of the Flemish family Ruckers . Your harpsichords were particularly precious. The Dutch scenery of the 17th century , showing the cover painting is , in addition to some other details confirm this origin . On the other hand, the prevailing taste fine chinoiserie in gold and silver color on the outer surfaces of the harpsichord.

© MKG Hamburg


Harpsichord, ca. 1650, Made by Jan Couchet the Elder

(Flemish, ca. 1612–1655), Antwerp, Flanders

© 2000–2015 The Metropolitan Museum of Art



Portrait of  Johannes Couchet - Gonzales Coques

(1614 Antwerp - 1684 Antwerp)