A History of the Harpsichord

A History of the Harpsichord

Edward L. Kottick
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/15/2016
Format: Hardback 23 color illus., 229 b&w illus., 2 tables
ISBN: 978-0-253-02347-6
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A History of the Harpsichord brings together for the first time more than 200 photographs, illustrations, and drawings of harpsichords in public museums and private collections throughout Europe and the United States. Edward L. Kottick draws on his extensive technical knowledge and experience as a harpsichord builder to detail the changing design, structure, and acoustics of the instrument over six centuries.

Author Bio

Instrument maker, scholar, researcher, author, and lecturer, musicologist Edward L. Kottick built his first harpsichord in 1963. He has investigated the instrument's acoustical properties as well as its historical aspects, and has published articles on the harpsichord in both scientific and scholarly journals.


“A History of the Harpsichord traces the development of the harpsichord from its origins to the present including over 200 photographs, illustrations, musical excerpts and drawings, and 16 color plates. Unlike other surveys, this volume addresses harpsichord design throughout Europe and America, and considers the place of the harpsichord in society, and the market forces that brought about changes in its form and decoration.”

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Table of Contents

List of Plates and Illustrations
The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries
1. From Psaltery and Monochord to Harpsichord and Virginal

The Sixteenth Century
2. The Emergence of the Northern Harpsichord
3. Antwerp Harpsichord Building between Karest and Ruckers
4. Early Italian Style

The Seventeenth Century
5. The Ruckers-Couchet Dynasty
6. Later Italian Style
7. Seventeenth-Century International Style
8. France
9. Germany and Austria
10. England

The Eighteenth Century
11. The Decline of the Italian Harpsichord
12. The Iberian Peninsula
13. Harpsichord building in France to the Revolution
14. The Low Countries in the Post-Ruckers Era
15. Germany, Scandinavia, Austria, and Switzerland
16. Great Britain and America

The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
17. The Harpsichord Hibernates
18. The Harpsichord Revival from the Paris Exposition to World War II
19. The Modern Harpsichord
20. Into the future

Appendix: Exploded views