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Leipzig and Eisenach: A Comparison of the two extant clavichords with independent 16-foot pedals

Paper i proceeding
Författare Joel Speerstra
Publicerad i Brauchli, B., Alberto Galazzo, and Judith Wardmen. (eds). De clavicordio X: proceedings of theX International Clavichord Symposium: atti del X congresso internazionale sul clavicordo: Magnano, 6-10 September, 2011
Volym X
Sidor 191-204
ISBN 978-88-907624-1-3
Publiceringsår 2012
Publicerad vid Göteborg Organ Art Center
Sidor 191-204
Språk en
Ämnesord pedal clavichord, organology, historical performance practice, 18th century, Johan David Gerstenberg, Eisenach, Bachhaus
Ämneskategorier Teknik och kultur, Estetik


This article compares the two surviving pedal clavichords with independent pedal instruments at 16-foot pitch: the 176(6) Gerstenberg pedal clavichord currently housed in the Leipzig University Museum of musical instruments, and the single manual and pedal clavichord in the Bachhaus museum in Eisenach, probably by the Marckert organbuilding family and probably dating from about 1800. It is fairly clear that the Gerstenberg instrument is basically in its original state, and that all three parts were produced together by a single builder or workshop, to be used as a single instrument. Therefore, we can also trust that the instrument, carefully reconstructed, can be a source for researching questions about technique, and we can dare to use that knowledge to assess the original state of other pedal clavichords. The Eisenach pedal instrument represents a later phase of development than the Gerstenberg, more heavily built, perhaps reflecting experience with earlier instruments that had thinner walls that had warped, and perhaps reflecting a later more forte piano-like aesthetic in both sound and action. We also are almost sure that the Eisenach instrument once had a more traditional pedalboard with spacings similar to the Gerstenberg. We don’t know exactly what this pedalboard looked like, or indeed what manual or manuals were paired with the pedal instrument originally. Perhaps when the pedal clavichord was prepared for the opening of the Bachhaus Museum, only the pedal instrument existed, and was paired with a much later but similar manual instrument from the same workshop. Perhaps a new pedalboard and stand were built specifically in order to be able to exhibit the instrument when the museum opened in 1907, and at the same time, parts of the moldings were removed from the pedal case in order to make a place to put the new manual. Until the copy of the Eisenach instrument was built and played for some time by several performers with well-developed pedal clavichord technique, it was not possible to say that this model works quite similarly to the Gerstenberg. The same technique developed at the Gerstenberg instrument is completely usable at the Eisenach model, using the more traditional pedalboard with spacings taken from the work marks along the front case edge. This tacit knowledge about how to play this model was made accessible by the use of a proper pedalboard.

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