Second Harpsichord-Building Seminar:
A new way to build a harpsichord by
re-constructing old methods
Introduction to the use of calibrated sticks
and the local unit of measurement to
design and build a large 5-octave Neapolitan-style harpsichord
Photographs of the seminar, 6-8 October, 2006
This course will be held from
3pm Friday, October 6, 2006 until
3pm Sunday, October 8, 2006 in the
capannone: 710, via Liano
20024 Castel San Pietro Terme (BO) (see map)
Tel/Fax: +39 051 943710
A second 3-day seminar will be held in our workshop in Castel San
Pietro to demonstrate how we have designed and built some new 5-octave
harpsichords in the Neapolitan style described elsewhere on this site.
Many documents and treatises mention the use of calibrated sticks to build
harpsichords during historical times. The aim of the seminar is to
show how harpsichords can be constructed using sticks calibrated using the
soldo, pollice and oncia without using full-scale drawings.
This year the seminar will be demonstrated
an antique Guarracino
harpsichord made in Naples about 1670 and kindly loaned to us by Signora
Fernanda Giulini of Milan. For more information about the Giulini
here. For some details of the instrument
click on the images below.
Onofrio Guarracino, Naples, c.1670
The bridge-to-bentside distance
= 6 once = 129mm
Course tutors: Grant O'Brien and
The course material will include:
The theory of the determination of the unit of measurement of
an historical harpsichord or virginal
Tables of the units of measurement used in the Italian
peninsula in the historical period
Some examples of the determination of the unit of measurement
used in the design and construction of some historical instruments
Description of the antique Onofrio Guarracino harpsichord
loaned by Signora Giulini from Milan
The inspiration for these harpsichords: the
painting of Mozart in Naples
Design principles of the 5-octave instruments
Drawings of the 5-octave instruments
Making of the 'oncimetro'
Making of the marking-out sticks and rules
Laying out of the baseboard and soundboard of these instruments
in Neapolitan once
Initial construction of the framing and casework of the new
Course language: Italian only
The cost is €300 per participant. A simple workshop lunch on Saturday
and Sunday, and entry to the concert on Friday evening is included. Otherwise the cost of accommodation and food is not included.
The number of participants is limited to 10.
Because of insurance problems participants will not be able to use hand and
power tools, but many of the procedures will be demonstrated by Grant O'Brien and Graziano
Bandini during the course.
On the evening of Friday, October 6, a concert will be held locally in which
the antique Guarracino harpsichord will be used. The concert will feature the
Cappella Artemisia under the direction of Candace
Smith. Participants in the seminar will be admitted free, and are
warmly encouraged to attend!
The concert will take place in the Chiesa
Parrocchiale di Osteria Grande (region of Castel San Pietro Terme) at 21.00.
Full information on hotel, agriturismo and B&B accommodation in Castel San
Pietro can be found by
May we recommend:
Il Borgo B&B, via Liano
4231, Tel: 051/6942042,
which is only about 3˝km from the workshop. Travel from Castel San Pietro
and Il Borgo to the capannone can be
arranged if needed.
For further information contact: