The Harpsichord Project
In 1976 I was the owner of a small violin shop and was playing in a piano quartet. The piano quartet played music from various eras including early music written from approximately 1600 to 1800 by composers such as J.S. Bach, C.P.E. Bach, Scarlatti, and others. The keyboard instrument used in this music was a harpsichord. These days the keyboard part is played on a modern piano. I thought it would be interesting to have our quartet use a harpsichord instead of a piano.
Because I am a “do-it-yourselfer”, I decided to build a harpsichord. So, an 8 foot double manual harpsichord kit was ordered from the Frank Hubbard Company. The kit that included the basic cabinet and a million parts was delivered to the violin shop. My business partner at the time, Leif Karlsson, helped with the frame, supports, sound board, and bridges. Others who had an interest in musical instruments came to the shop from time to time to help out as well. Over the years as well as now, I have been very fortunate to have friends help out with the project.
Time went on and I had to concentrate on the violin business so I stopped playing, the quartet members moved away, and the harpsichord just sat around waiting to be finished. Life just got in the way of working on it.
Eventually, I closed the violin shop and moved the harpsichord home. It and all of its many parts occupied the loft in my my big garage in the backyard. Not knowing what to do at this point, I decided to go fishing. I loved it and fished for three years.The harpsichord was still unfinished.
Fast forward to 2006. We moved to our present location and built a garage in our backyard for my shop. The harpsichord went along with all of our stuff to the new place. The new garage has no loft, is half the size of the old garage, and the only place for the harpsichord was in the middle where it stands today.
Needless to say, fitting all the stuff from a 1000 square foot garage into a 500 square foot garage was challenging especially with an 8 foot long harpsichord in the middle. I got rid of some things and put others in the house. Even so, the shop was and is still crowded.
One day a friend suggested that there would be plenty of room if the harpsichord was finished and she said she would help me. This was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Three other friends have been working on the project and occasionally my husband is pressed into service. Just now we are preparing the jacks and I am painting the landscapes on the cover.
Seen in the photos are all of the jacks for the three registers. They all have been cut to the right length and a screw has been put in the bottom for further adjustment.
Presently, I am roughly tuning the harpsichord in preparation for cutting the plectrum to the right length.
Stay 'tuned' for more Harpsichord images!
The Bird House Project
This bird house was one of many that was auctioned in December 2018 at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Centre. The money raised from the sale of the bird houses went to the renovation of the Art Room at the community centre.
"Framed on Fifth“, a small Gallery across the street from the centre helped distribute the unpainted bird houses.