A Harpsichord across Time

This instrument can be "ravaled and unraveled" in three stages which represent a period of about sixty years.

new harpsichord

The instrument is a reproduction of the 1638 Ruckers at the University of Edinburgh. Here it is seen just after the lower keyboard has been brought into alignment, 1x8', 1x4', upper: C/E-c3, lower GG/BB-c3. It is however capable of having its keyboards changed through three stages of a simple ravalement, so one can play, across time,

  1. the original 1638 configuration (an unaligned transposing double)
  2. an aligned configuration of, say, 1670 (above)
  3. a filled out configuration of perhaps 1700 (the "normal" arrangement)

The change over time is interesting in itself, but the sound of the original configuration on the transposed lower manual is surprisingly dark and exquisitely beautiful. The buff is split, and with both buffs on, the sound at the lower keyboard appears to substantiate the theory that the original Ruckers Transposers were built to provide a lute-like sound.

Philip Tyre fecit 1997. A comparison with the original instrument is absorbing....