History and Regional Styles

See also the ‘Harpsichord Resources and Collections pages

The history of the harpsichord with illustrations,  http://www.ukpianos.co.uk/harpsichord-history

Famous Harpsichord Makers from the past (and a few still present !)  http://www.snipview.com/q/Harpsichord_makers

‘The English Virginal’ 2 Volumes. Thesis 2003 Darryl Martin PhD The University of Edinburgh https://era.ed.ac.uk/handle/1842/7226

‘The English Spinet, the Schools of Keene & Hitchcock’ Doctoral Research Thesis by Peter Mole, two complete volumes downloadable from

Grant O’Brien “Ruckers: A Harpsichord and Virginal Building Tradition” reissued in paperback;
June 2008 by Cambridge University Press, price c £26. ISBN: 9780521066822

’Harpsichordmakers in the 16th and 17th century Harpsichord makers working in Antwerp in the 16th
and 17th century’ by J Koster. http://www.ruckersgenootschap.be/REG.php

‘History of the Harpsichord in Eighteenth Century France and the Flemish Influence’ by Janet Pierce http://archive.today/bRQ1A

A description of the restoration process and a detailed history of an important Franco-Flemish double-manual harpsichord, made in Antwerp in about 1620-1650, and ravalé in various periods and stages in Paris. http://www.claviantica.com/­Consulatations_files/­WR_cons.htm

An account by Grant O’Brien of the History and Restoration of a Stunning Double-manual Harpsichord made in Antwerp in 1617 and ravalé by François Étienne Blanchet, Paris, 1750. Probably once the property of Louis XV. http://claviantica.com/Franco-Flemish_harpsichord.htm

Ruckers Transposer Puzzle,  http://www.bigduck.com/­transposer.html

Surviving Harpsichords built or rebuilt in France 17th & 18th century – by Dean Anderson, with
many photo links http://harpsichordphoto.org/­french

17th French anonymous harpsichord. Detailed description and illustrations of the restoration process and the final attribution to Pierre Baillon and Gilbert Desruisseaux. https://www.academia.edu/43022210/17th_French_anonymous_harpsichord

Pythagoras & the Scale Design of Early Harpsichords in France, Germany, and Italy

‘ Italian Harpsichord-Building in the 16th and 17th Centuries’ by John D. Shortridge. Free Ebook available from the The Project Gutenberg.

Geometry and unit of measurement in the identification of Italian keyboard instruments.http://www.claviantica.com/geometry_ital.htm

Cordofones de Tecla Portugueses do Século XVII/Portuguese Stringed Keyboard Instruments of the 18th Century by Gerhard Doderer and John Henry Van Der Meer. Definitive book on the history of keyboard instruments in Portugal, text in English & Portuguese, available from http://www.keywordpress.co.uk

Tuning and Temperament in Southern Germany to the end of the Seventeenth Century

Research on the cultural history of keyboard instruments by Dr. phil. Thomas Aurelius Belz

Mid C20th Harpsichord Makers in America. http://www.kevinfryer.net/  Click on ’Library’> Makers circa 1960

‘Keys to the Past: Building Harpsichords and Feeling History in the Postwar United States’- Dissertation, Jessica Wood. 2010.  Includes chapters on the influence of Frank Hubbard in late 1960s and early 1970s.   dukespace.lib.duke.edu › D_Wood_Jessica_a_2010

Thomas Goff (1898-1975)  Pont Street, London- Harpsichord Maker http://www.baroquemusic.org/goff.html


A curiosity – A working Harpsichord built from Lego!

See under ’Acquiring’ > ‘Building a Harpsichord for detailed plans of historic instruments 


Harpsichord Glossary – see  http://www.hubharp.com  Click on the ‘Glossary’ link at top right of page

How it works! The Brook Street Band’s Carolyn Gibley demonstrates the inside of a harpsichord. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuaCXD0cP2o&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR0wt91tVw51dtsBs8yXoUbcM7x35lz7sWHvilXmwJpW80uzBqlWSPvfzLI

Simple harpsichord mechanism:mech1
English harpsichord action:mech3
French harpsichord action:mech2
Flemish harpsichord action:mech4
Source: Ripin Ed et al, Early Keyboard Instruments – New Grove Musical Instruments Series, 1989, PAPERMAC  Reproduced with permission of Palgrave Macmillan

What a Harpsichord sounds like

Real samples of historic instruments, mp3 demo downloads with description and photographs. Featuring French, Flemish, English and Italian harpsichords, English spinets and a reconstructed German Lautenwerck,- samples taken from the Andreas Beurmann Collection of Musical Instruments in MKG-Hamburg.   http://www.realsamples.net/ Click on ‘Edition Beurmann’

The Sounds of C20th European Revival Harpsichords,  http://jsebestyen.org/harpsichord/audio.html