Folding Harpsichord


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 681

A rare form of a small harpsichord, the folding harpsichord was made to sit on a table. It has a removable keyboard as well as a soundboard in three hinged sections that fold up. This instrument has a limited range of less than four octaves and a quiet sound, which would have been well suited for private music making.

Technical description: Folding harpsichord (Clavecin brise) is composed of one rectangular and two trapezoidal sections hinged together to fold into a rectangular box shape for travel; case and soundboard of cypress with a multi-layered parchment rose; c/e-c4, single manual, 2x4 inches, olivewood naturals, key fronts now missing, black-stained accidentals covered with rosewood plates, keys guided by pins between the rear of the levers; pearwood jacks with beech tongues, brass leaf springs, quill plectra.

Folding Harpsichord, Cypress, iron, and various materials, Italian

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