Originally from Western Australia, Darryl Martin moved to the United Kingdom in the 1980s to work as a harpsichord maker. Increasingly interested in the study of antique examples, he pursued this research as a PhD (awarded in 2003) and since 2004 has been curator of the Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments, which is home to the celebrated Raymond Russell and Rodger Mirrey keyboard instrument collections. A regular writer for major journals and a speaker at international conferences, Darryl Martin is also active as a lecturer and postgraduate supervisor at the University of Edinburgh.
THE ART OF MAKING A HARPSICHORD
For around three hundred years, the harpsichord was the leading domestic musical instrument and often a highly fashionable piece of furniture as well. Usurped by the piano at the beginning of the nineteenth century, it was taken up again with the first revival of early music at the beginning of the twentieth century. Over the past forty years, makers have been getting closer to reproducing examples from the historical past.Now, The Art of Making a Harpsichord gives its readers the chance to discover this challenging and rewarding pursuit in a way that is rarely possible without working with an established builder.
Beginning with an overview of the instrument, its schools and workshop traditions, the author – himself an experienced maker and researcher – explores the various models and types before leading the reader through the manufacture of an Italian-style instrument, while describing historically-based working methods which are applicable to all traditions. Just as in the seventeenth or eighteenth century, there is no need to rely on large power-tools.
This book has been designed to provide assistance to all harpsichord makers, whatever model they choose to make. It is lavishly illustrated with line drawings and photographs, the latter taken – wherever possible – from antique examples that give the reader as full an understanding as possible of the quality of these beautiful instruments.