The German Harpsichord


One of the earliest surviving instruments is that of Hermann Müller in the Museo degli Strumenti Musicali in Rome from 1537 ( Leipzig). (see for example the article " Harpsichord, Klavizitherium , spinet , virginal " in MGG , S, 499-500 )


Should also be mentioned the South German - Austrian or " Habsburg " -Cembaloschule with the wonderful instrument by Johann Maier (Stuttgart 1619 today Carolino - Augusteum Museum in Salzburg) , and a Klavicytherium in Nuremberg with 4 tabs. Both instruments are playable, had originally probably partly Metallplektren , and typically Nasalregister that are touched by one of the 8 'stops (ie, a string reference is plucked at 2 places ) .


Technical information harpsichord Johann Mayer from

Chris Maene Workshop (Belgium)


There are other ( partially unplayable ) instruments in Munich and Budapest. (For information on the instruments can be found in MGG-articles and also in the English article in the "New Grove " , also in the books of Kottick ( see above ) and Kottick & Lucktenberg "Early Keyboard Instruments " , Indiana University Press, 1997) .



1) The harpsichord in Germany before 1700 has left little evidence , presumably a result of the Thirty Years' War. The construction of clavichords and harpsichords is in German speaking countries traditionally a side business of organ builders increasingly exercised at times when they are not busy with Organ buildings or repairs . Only in a few particularly prosperous cities can establish itself after 1700 establishments that specialize in the production of harpsichords, such as . In the Thirty Years War rapidly growing capital of Prussia , Berlin or Hamburg Hamburg flourishes thanks to its proximity to Scandinavia in particular . The harpsichords of the Haas / hate the butcher and Christian lineage cells stand out for its highly individual design , decoration and disposition of the other German instruments from time significantly and betrayed the provision for a wealthy clientele.



Zweimanualiges Cembalo 1728, von Christian Zell (1683[?]-1763), Eigentum der Stiftung für die Hamburger Kunstsammlungen, 1962, © Foto: Roman Raacke


In Berlin, the music love some Hohenzollern draws (especially Frederick II and his sister Princess Anna Amalia of Prussia ) , the most significant representatives of those composers , in whose work the style change is taking place in the middle of the 18th century , the Graun brothers , the Benda, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Hofcembalist or the flautist Johann Joachim Quantz, the teacher Frederick . Accordingly, the instrument can flourish and bring forth excellence , whether . In the form of flutes of Kirst , or harpsichords of Mietke that were not to be found less numerous in the Berlin and Potsdam's palaces than the pianoforte Silbermann


1 ) Excerpt © Greifenberger Institute for Music Instrument tuition 2010