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Clavichord recording link up and running


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For all the people interested in hearing one of my clavichords, I now have a 4 instrument CD demo of my instruments loaded up on youtube, and the recordings and pictures in 4 sections are posted below. This particular recording is one track of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach followed by two tracks of Wilhelm Friedeman Bach, one of JS Bachs sons.

This instrument i copied was built in the late 1700s by Christoph Friedrich Schmahl, and is Five octaves FF-f3 double fretted, which means each natural and its sharp share the same strings, so you can only play one or the other at once, the sharp or the natural, playing both makes a horrible noise! These are a little harder to play than unfretted clavichords, but use about 3/4s as many strings, making the instrument not as deep, and oftentimes louder than unfretted(each note has it own two strings) because less strings load the soundboard down.

The sound quality is better than I expected for you tube, but it really helps if you have good headphones or really good speakers hooked up to your computer, hope you enjoy it, heres the link to you tube

I should add, none of these instruments are for sale, I am building clavichords again, but this is not intended as advertising, just an explanation to the forum of what i was doing while the rest of you were building violins!! I sort of got tired of people asking, how many violins have you made, now I just reply, how many clavichords have you made!!!

heres the picture of the Schmahl clavichord again;

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I have the second installment of my old demo CD now up on You Tube, This the largest instrument I ever built, the Cembal d'Amour. The instrument is a full 9 1/2' wide and strikes the strings precisely in the middle, so that two strings vibrate on either side of where the key strikes the strings, this effectively gives four vibrating strings for each note, rather than two, like a standard clavichord, and makes the instrument almost twice as loud as a regular clavichord like the Schmahl, posted above. Only about 20 modern Cembal d'Amours exist in the world, and no historical instruments have survived, just detailed drawings and descriptions. The instrument was invented by JS Bach's friend and famous organ builder Gottfried Silbermann around 1721, He was also the first German to build forte pianos. Only Cristofori in Italy built pianos before Silbermann.

Here's a link to the article I wrote for Clavichord International magazine about building this instrument, sorry the pictures in the text are not preserved;


Lastly, pictures of the inside of the unfinished Cembal d'Amour from my old website, showing the soundboard ribbing and internal bracing;


Here's a better picture of the instrument, because its a scan of a photo, there's a little bending distortion on the right side of the case, the walls are actually quite straight.


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Hi Lyndon,

Many thanks for this thread. It is a pleasure to see/ hear your work herein.

I must say that I am in no way qualified to comment on clavichords at all but others who seem to know something are rather impressed and you had great clients.( And there is no way I could ever make one).

Would you go back to making clavichords if it could be made to pay? I get the feeling from all this and your history you have recounted making them from a young age that the clavichord is where your deep vocation lies...Forgive my presumption.



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What follows is one of the smaller, older clavichords I built, this is a four octave, brass strung, double fretted clavichord by an organ builder living in Leipzig (east) Germany, where it is now housed in the museum. The makers name was Johann Jacob Donat, and its one of the fanciest inlayed decorated clavichord ever made. each inlay panel is actually made up of I think 32 pieces of wood, and althought the original used a lot of ivory and tortoiseshell, in my copy I stuck to wood! The instrument in the picture was the first historical copy I built in 1995. Previously I had built instruments more of my own design. The instrument on the recording is actually a later copy of the same instrument I built in 1999, with the same inlay etc, but I didnt have a picture available of that Donat copy. The one in the picture is C-d3, the original and my instrument in the recording are C-c3. The two recordings are the music of Georg Boehm, Jacob Froberger, JS Bach, and Jacob Polak, here's the youtube links;

The picture of the Donat;

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Point taken re: shop safety. A piece of antique glass nearly ended my violin playing days permanently a couple years ago. Might it be possible to have the basic cutting (the "grunt work", if you will) done by an apprentice or someone at the mill, etc., so that you can focus on the finer details with safer hand tools (mitre saws, dozuki, etc.), the assembly, varnishing, etc.? Looking at your work, I feel a sense of loss that it wouldn't continue. I can imagine places like the Smithsonian, Metropolitan, not to mention several universities (e.g. Northwestern, Harvard) who are paying significant attention to authentic performance practice and early music, etc., would be interested in acquiring one of your works. I get the sense you need a manager! (No, I'm not good at business either).

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You even posted my favorite one, I really like the exposed dovetails. I have to admit that my left hand looks like a battle ground from all the tools in my other hand. I do not think I would be a big fan of trying to bow with my "off" hand, would not be pretty.... and would sound even worse.

Just think, in 200 years someone will be on a site similar to this, and be flipping out because they just "found" a Lyndon Taylor clavichord!

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Dan, if you look above in the Cembal d'Amour post I've added a link with from my old website with detailed pictures of the inside of the Cembal d'Amour soundoard and case before it was completed.

Jesse, the keys were traditionally made of heavy dense European Lime wood, the nearest American equivalent I could find in terms of colour, density and stiffness is heavy American Poplar, which is what I used. For the key tops I used Cocobolo instead of Ebony, and for the light wood Sri Lankan Satinwood, Burl Maple, or Boxwood. Boxwood or Pearwood being the traditional European choice. I also chose not to use bone or recycled Ivory, and just have natural wood.

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Heres the last installment of my Demo CD, a fine quite large clavichord I built for a well known harpsichord and fortepiano performer. Its an exact copy, even down to the veneer patterns(actually copied from different original Hubert instruments), of a 5+ octave FF-a3 unfretted (two strings for every note) iron strung clavichord by one of the most famous historical makers; Christian Gottlieb Hubert of Ansbach, Germany. This instrument is also housed in the museum in Leipzig. I think I built this instrument in 1998, not long before this recording was made. For those of you that didnt notice I've also added the recording and pic of the Donat clavichord above. Here's the you tube link to the music of Wilhelm Friedeman Bach, Christian Phillip Emmanuel Bach(both JS Bachs sons), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and on the second, shorter recording, CPE Bach.

And the picture of the Hubert;

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The Donat clavichord pictured above is the first copy I made of Donat, but the recording is acually a more accurate copy I built; the third Donat I made, I was contacted today by the owner who graciously provided these two pictures of the Donat used in the You tube recording linked to above, here goes, special thanks to the owner, who in addition to being a clavichordist, plays and teaches violin at a university! small world


the case veneer and lid are american cherry,

close up of the keys and one of the 32 piece inlay panels

the naturals are satinwood, the sharps cocobolo with satinwood stripe


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