The shimmering and lustrous tone of the Flemish harpsichord ensured its place as the workhorse keyboard instrument of the Baroque period.
Developed and refined by the Antwerp school of builders in various body formats, many instruments of the 16th century Ruckers dynasty, built as standardized models in an almost assembly line manner, were continually modified and expanded to accommodate the ever widening keyboard range.
By 1700 the harpsichord compass had been standardized to 5 octaves, FF - f3, two manuals, with two eight foot sets of unison strings, one on each manual and a four foot set on the lower.
A shove coupler allowed all strings to be played from the lower manual.
The long scale used by the Flemish school gives the strings a higher tension, creating a "bloom" after the initial pluck.
The wealth of overtones allows the sound to penetrate ensembles and large spaces.
The Flemish harpsichord quickly became the favorite virtuoso performance instrument, lending itself equally to various acoustic situations and with its quick speaking characteristics and tonal clarity to all types of repertoire as well, from the bright fireworks of Bach and Scarlatti to the deep amber of the French school.
||2x8, 1x4, coupler, buff on lower 8
||FF - f3, transposer
||French, ebony naturals, bone-topped accidentals,
||pear body, holly tongues,
delrin plectra, double flag dampers
||high tensile steel, yellow brass
|Soundboard Art: Lida Pit