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Italian Harpsichord-Building in the 16th and 17th Centuries   By:

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Italian Harpsichord-Building in the 16th and 17th Centuries by John D. Shortridge is a comprehensive and meticulously researched exploration of the history and craftsmanship behind the development of Italian harpsichords during a crucial period in music history. Shortridge's expertise in the field shines through in this highly informative and engaging book.

The book begins by delving into the cultural and historical contexts surrounding Italian harpsichord making, providing readers with a solid foundation to understand the significance of these instruments during the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Shortridge emphasizes the importance of Italy as a hub for artistic and technological advancements, highlighting the numerous artisans and workshops responsible for shaping the evolution of harpsichords.

One of the most impressive aspects of this book is the extensive detail Shortridge provides on the construction and design of Italian harpsichords. From the choice of materials to the intricate mechanics involved in producing the desired sound, the author leaves no stone unturned. The inclusion of illustrations, diagrams, and photographs further enhances the readers' understanding and appreciation for the craftsmanship involved.

Despite its technical nature, Italian Harpsichord-Building in the 16th and 17th Centuries manages to strike a balance between in-depth analysis and accessibility. Shortridge's writing style is engaging and clear, making it suitable for both scholars and enthusiasts. Whether one is familiar with harpsichords or not, the book offers a wealth of knowledge that can be appreciated by anyone with an interest in music history or craftsmanship.

In addition to its focus on construction, the book also explores the cultural and historical impact of Italian harpsichords. Shortridge discusses their role in shaping musical trends, the influence they had on performance practices, and their significance in the evolving composition styles of the time. These insights provide a well-rounded understanding of the broader implications of harpsichord making in Italy.

One minor drawback of the book is its relatively narrow focus on Italian harpsichords. While Shortridge acknowledges the influence of other European countries, a more comparative approach could have enriched the reader's understanding and highlighted the distinct contributions of Italian builders. However, this limitation does not detract significantly from the book's overall value.

Italian Harpsichord-Building in the 16th and 17th Centuries is a must-read for anyone with a passion for music history or an appreciation for the craftsmanship behind musical instruments. Shortridge's meticulous research, combined with his engaging writing style, results in a book that is both educational and enjoyable. With its comprehensive coverage and attention to detail, this book stands as a valuable resource for scholars, musicians, and enthusiasts alike.

First Page:

Italian Harpsichord Building in the 16th and 17th Centuries

by John D. Shortridge

(REPRINTED WITH CHANGES 1970)

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY UNITED STATES NATIONAL MUSEUM BULLETIN 225 · Paper 15, Pages 93 107 SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION PRESS · WASHINGTON, D.C. · 1970

[Illustration: Figure 1. OUTER CASE OF ALBANA HARPSICHORD.]

Italian Harpsichord Building in the 16th and 17th Centuries

By John D. Shortridge

The making of harpsichords flourished in Italy throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. The Italian instruments were of simpler construction than those built by the North Europeans, and they lacked the familiar second manual and array of stops.

In this paper, typical examples of Italian harpsichords from the Hugo Worch Collection in the United States National Museum are described in detail and illustrated. Also, the author offers an explanation for certain puzzling variations in keyboard ranges and vibrating lengths of strings of the Italian harpsichords.

THE AUTHOR: John D. Shortridge is associate curator of cultural history in the United States National Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Perhaps the modern tendency to idealize progress has been responsible for the neglect of Italian harpsichords and virginals during the present day revival of interest in old musical instruments... Continue reading book >>




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