Copyright © 2008 CBH
|Voicing a replacement quill
These hints will help your harpsichord enjoy a long and productive life:
- Keep the harpsichord out of direct sunlight.
- Be aware of the climate, and don’t subject your instrument to extremes.
Most harpsichords are happiest at a humidity between 50% and 70% and temperature
ranging from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F). Standard museum conditions are a
luxury: 50% humidity and 20°C (68°F).
- Learn a little about how the instrument works.
- Keep your harpsichord in good tune, including the 4´ choir if you have one:
Tuning should be a pleasure, not a chore. If you must, use an electronic machine
to build your confidence. Avoid Equal Temperament like the plague, unless you
have a good reason to use it.
- Close the lid and lid flap when not in use.
- Only play your harpsichord with clean hands, and insist your children and
visitors do likewise.
- To prevent corrosion, don’t touch the strings or other metal parts unnecessarily.
- Find a good home for your pencil so when you pick it up or replace it, you
don’t leave scrawl on any part of your harpsichord. And put your score on your
lap to erase pencil markings so your instrument doesn’t fill with detritus.
- Periodically remove accumulated dust, especially if you live near an industrial
area, own pets, or the instrument is kept in your bedroom.
- With the advice of your harpsichord maker or technician, assemble a little
kit of tools and spares to help you maintain the instrument in peak condition,
and keep its contents up to date and handy.
- Know what adjustments you can confidently make yourself, and recognize when
professional help is needed. At the very least, you should learn to be able
to replace an occasional broken string or voice a quill.
- Don’t remove any broken parts (loose keycover, jacks, a tuning pin from
a broken string…) from the instrument because they are too easily misplaced
- Don’t move your harpsichord without the protection of a proper padded cover.
- Never leave your harpsichord inside a car parked in the sun: The temperature
can rapidly exceed 50°C and humidity drop to less than 10%.
- Confirm that your instrument is adequately insured, especially if you use