This little sixteenth-century Venetian clavichord by Dominicus Pisaurensis has many interesting aspects. Contemporary with some of the most interesting and attractive music of the sixteenth century, it provides a medium for the expression of some of the greatest European art music from Italy’s High Renaissance.
Seen in the light of the unit of measurement used to build it, this clavichord also throws light on a number of historical design principles, and is a further example of how the unit of measurement can be used as an important analytical tool in organological research. In this case the use of the unit of measurement confirms not only that the instrument was made in Venice, that it was designed to sound at a pitch a fifth higher than ‘normal’, that it was almost certainly designed to be strung using iron, yellow brass and red brass strings, but in addition throws light on the way the maker thought and worked.
- Grant O’Brien
- Finished 5 May, 2003
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