The Clavichord

The Clavichord

by Bernard Brauchli
     
 
This is a richly illustrated history of the clavichord, the forerunner of the modern piano. Through extensive literary and pictorial documentation the book traces the clavichord's development from the fourteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries. Written in an accessible and largely non-technical style, this book is rendered accessible to both professional and amateur

Overview

This is a richly illustrated history of the clavichord, the forerunner of the modern piano. Through extensive literary and pictorial documentation the book traces the clavichord's development from the fourteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries. Written in an accessible and largely non-technical style, this book is rendered accessible to both professional and amateur alike. As there is almost no literature currently available on the subject, this work fills a major gap in the study of Western civilisation's musical heritage.

Editorial Reviews

The New Yorker
Robert Moog's moment of revelation came in 1964 when he and a colleague realized the acoustic possibilities of a pair of voltage-controlled oscillators. "It was my turn for my head to blow," he recalls in Analog Days by Trevor Pinch and Frank Trocco (Harvard), a history of the Moog synthesizer. Electronic sound had, until then, been the province of the classical avant-garde, but the Moog came to dominate the counterculture—so much so that Mick Jagger hired one of Moog's staffers in 1968 to teach him how to play it.

Most musical instruments have less definite birth dates. The clavichord probably developed from precursors like the monochord and the psaltery sometime in the fifteenth century, but no one knows exactly how. Bernard Brauchli's The Clavichord (Cambridge) exhaustively charts the instrument's four-century career until its decline, in the mid-nineteenth century, when its extreme quietness put it at a disadvantage against the early piano. While music historians tend to dismiss the clavichord as a curio, Brauchli shows that it was crucial to music-making in intimate domestic settings and capable of expressive effects, like vibrato, impossible on other keyboard instruments.

A domestic ethos of a rather different kind influenced the rise of the Victorian reed organs celebrated in Manufacturing the Muse, by Dennis G. Waring (Wesleyan). Cheaper than a piano, these parlor organs appealed to the aspirations of the growing American middle class. Waring focusses on the Estey company of Vermont, whose instruments graced hundreds of thousands of drawing rooms, parlors, and churches. An accompanying CD showcases a dozen surviving instruments warbling such Victorian favorites as "Oh! Susanna" and "The Last Rose of Summer."

(Leo Carey)
From the Publisher
'… a warm welcome for this handsome, scholarly and approachable book … as an account of the clavichord's evolution, this one is outstanding'. The Musical Times

'I thought I knew a reasonable amount about the clavichord, but this book told otherwise … This is a superbly presented and very readable book which I can strongly recommend.' Douglas Hollick, Choir and Organ

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521630672
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
11/19/1998
Series:
Cambridge Musical Texts and Monographs Series
Pages:
406
Product dimensions:
7.44(w) x 9.69(h) x 1.02(d)

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