FRETTED CLAVICHORD AFTER BODECHTEL
[For picture, click here].
The design of this clavichord is based on an instrument made by Johann Jacob Bodechtel in Nuremberg around 1785. The original is now at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto. By the time it was made, the tradition of fretted clavichord making had reached its maturity in Germany, though there were still several years to go before the clavichord ceded pride of place to the fortepiano.
This is the most recent instrument I have made after this model. But Bodechtel was only the starting point; I have developed the design in the light of experience, and added one extra note (BB) to the compass, with the aim of producing an instrument for general domestic and concert use (hence the nickname Bavdechtel). The cross-barred soundboard produces a bold tone with a beautiful singing treble; the tenor and bass have a sound somewhat like a viola or cello.
Compass BB–f 3.
Pitch: a¹=430 Hz (slightly below standard modern pitch); alternatively, it can be tuned to a¹= 415 Hz. Fretted in pairs from note e♭ upwards, with Ds and As unfretted – the usual German system.
Temperament: Bendeler III. This was described by the organ builder Johann Philipp Bendeler c.1690. It is one of the earliest circulating temperaments, enabling music to be played in any key: in my view, it works particularly well in the keyboard works of J. S. Bach.
Size: 1350 × 390 × 130 mm (4 ft 5 in × 15½ in × 5 in).
Weight: about 18 kg (35 lb)
Keyboard: Naturals of ebony; accidentals of pear, capped with bone. The keylevers themselves are made of lime with traditional roof-carving.
Case: The case of the instrument is in English cherry, with a three-panelled lid.
Soundboard: of European spruce (Picea excelsa) with bridge of maple.
Strung in brass, the lowest basses having specially made open-wound strings.
The instrument has a tool-box at the left-hand end of the keyboard, and is supplied with tuning key, stringing tool and wedge. Music rests on a removable shelf and is supported by the open lid.
Stand: consists of a frame and four tapered legs, which can be taken apart for transport.
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