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Harpsichords

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Spinets

Virginals

Forte-Pianos

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 

SOLD! to the lady from Colorado!

Neupert octavino spinet

 

This *very* small octavino spinet was made in the '60's when harpsichords were a huge fad. Compass is C to c'', 49 notes.

How small is it? We're not sure, but we are going to see this one soon and will take some measurements. In order to make a smaller instrument the keyboard is set into the side and the strings run slant-wise. It is an octavino, which means that although the keyboard looks like C to c'' it sounds one octave higher. Because it has only the top octaves the strings can all be short and the instrument can be smaller.

The owner wasn't sure he'd like early keyboards so he bought a small one as an experiment. He has decided he does like them and is planning to upgrade to a virginal with a larger range -- more notes and a bigger bass.

 




Like its big sister the Neupert Bach it is considered a revival harpsichord, so you can expect it to be sturdily built. It is definitely a harpsichord (it plucks the strings) but it has a a lot in common with pianos and maybe not so much with historic harpsichords. If you want to acquire an 'authentic' harpsichord technique this is probably not the instrument to start out on, but if you are primarily a piano player or don't care about historic technique this instrument could serve you well.

We find that many people of 'our' age who studied harpsichord in university or college learned on instruments like this one -- probably larger, but with similar touch and tone. Most of us children of the '60's first heard and loved harpsichords like this one in recordings by Landowska, Puyana and Valenti. If a Sperrhake, Wittmayer, Hertz or Sabathil is the harpsichord in your head you will probably like the sound and feel of this one.

It is single-strung, so that's only 49 notes to tune, hardly nuthin'. Fifteen or 20 minutes once a month should be lots. People who are used to pianos are shocked at this and think, "Doesn't hold it's tune!" But if you know a guitarist, violinist or harpist, ask them how often they tune. Makes this one seem like the rock of Gibraltar! Which is very nearly is.

Also, if you actually listen to the average piano, you will notice that it is out of tune most of the time. You, on the other hand, are able to tune your harpsichord yourself, so it will always be *perfectly* in tune (it's easy, we'll show you how) and think of the money you will save!

Another advantage to its being single-strung is that if you want to experiment with different Baroque temperaments it only takes a few minutes to change from, say, Werckmeister to Valotti. It is illuminating to play early keyboard music in temperaments typical of the time and place they were written. Pythagorean, anyone?

On a spinet alternate jacks face opposite ways so the strings are spaced close-farther-close-farther to line up with their jacks. This makes them appear to be in pairs, but they are not. Under the strings is Neupert's pretty rose.

Ooh, goodies! The instrument comes with a tuning wrench, some spare wire (in the unlikely event that you break one) and a Korg CA-30 electronic tuner c/w instructions. The dark-coloured contents of the packet in the bottom centre is a microphone which will make it possible for beginners to tune with confidence, and pros use them to tune in difficult conditions, eg., the orchestra pit while the bassoons are warming up.

This is a *tiny* instrument, isn't it cute? Den says it looks like Bambi. It would make a wonderful instrument for a youngster who is beginning music lessons.

 

The Neupert company is still in business in Bamberg, Germany, and is now operated by the third generation of the family. This means that parts are available, should you ever need them. Their website is website www.jc-neupert.de . They don't list an instrument like this currently, but it falls between their 'spinettino" for 5,500 and theiur "spinet Silbermann" for 6,600 Euros.
Price: asking $3,000 CAD / $2,275 USD / £1,250 GBP / € 1,875 / $25,150 MXN / ¥ 241,150 JPY plus shipping from Toronto, CA and applicable taxes & duties. Sorry, this one does not qualify under NAFTA. Interested? E-mail Claviers Baroques or give us a call toll-free in North America at 1-888-597-0946. [back to used instruments page]
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