Description: Harpsichord, Clavichord - Harpsichord, Sperrhake, mint
This instrument was built in the mid-1960's, in Passau, Germany, in the Sperrhake factory. It has two sets of strings and two registers, 8' and 4', with 53 notes, C to g. The dimensions are: 56" Long and 33 1/2" Wide. It has square zither pins for tuning, and comes with tuning fork and extra strings. All parts are original, and in excellent condition.
An interesting added feature is a divided buff stop, so that the keys above and below middle C may be buffed separately for contrast. This harpsichord holds its tune extremely well because of heavy construction, and has a straight side rather than a bent side opposite the spine.
The only decoration is an attractive, hand-carved rose over the soundhole, showing the maker's Insignia.
KEYBOARDS: The keys are made of ebony (naturals) and ivory (sharps), and are level, with none sticking.
CASE: The case is all natural wood veneer in excellent condition. The only flaw is a sun line, where the front part of the lid was left open where it hinges to the larger piece.
There are three tapered, screw-on legs-well-made. There is also a "slide-on" music stand that is strong and well made. The 4' works with a knee lever, and the buff-stops and 8' have brass hand levers and plates.
The lid sticks are built in--one short, and the other long.
The case has an articulated lid, which comes down to cover the keyboard, as well as the strings. It locks with a lovely brass key.
JACKS: The jacks are made of wood, and have bottom screws that also serve as weights. The wire springs appear to be in good condition. The tongues and plectra are made of delrin, and I believe the delrin is removable-for replacement. The jack guides are made of metal; the jackrail felt is in good condition, and the rail is held in place with little brass "ears", which pivot over the rail in conjunction with a spring on each end, for locking.
The dampers are in good condition, and though made of felt, have a sort of metal "housing" or support. The dampers in the bass are the heftiest I've seen! They are adjustable, with a little screw on the side of the jack.
Notes: This harpsichord is a particularly fine example of a "modern harpsichord", not modeled after a historical prototype, but part of a movement to create something stronger and more dependable than surviving antiques are. Although somewhat out of fashion now, for some people this harpsichord would be perfect for the following reasons:
It stays in tune longer than a lighter instrument, and it is quite small compared with most harpsichords--perfect for an apartment or condo. It is also not as resonant as a lighter instrument, which means it would be quieter in a close living situation. Since it is more than thirty years old, it is also considered an antique, and is in mint condition, either having been cared for impeccably, not played very much, or both.
The value is approximately $3000.
Katherine Roberts Perl/Bjarne Dahl July, 2003