the clavichord and the harp

  • Participant
    barbara-kraichy–2 on #147616

    (Sounds like the title “The Cloister and the Hearth)

    Carl suggests that one reason the harp was slighted by composers in Mozart’s time was because of its small sound. Though I do not play keyboard, I would be interested if someone knows of a connection,

    Participant
    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #147617

    I don’t think a harp was that small in sound. Smaller harps can be very live and full. I think they were quite comparable to harpsichords, though less penetrating. A clavichord is much softer than a harp, I think.

    I think the harp was slighted because of its chromatic limitations, and probably practical concerns as well. What is odd is that more composers of that time didn’t write about it, even the fact that it didn’t interest them more.

    The harpists of that time were not commissioning much music, and the harp masters were busy writing themselves, not seeking others to do so, so the die was cast then.

    The other likelihood is that there is much more music of that period than what we currently know about, and that it will come to light someday. There have not been enough harp musicologists. So far, several things have come to light with the internet, and we know of many works that were lost or remain hidden in private collections.

    Participant
    barbara-kraichy–2 on #147618

    Good thoughts, Saul. Your last sentence is especially intriguing. We are playing one of Bochsa’s Nocturnes written with Kreutzer in mind. It is like Beethoven/Mendelssohn/Schumann! Do you know of any music by Marin? Who would you nominate for the harp research? Anyone out there with time and money?

    Participant
    carl-swanson on #147619

    I don’t know that the comparison between harp and clavichord is valid. The clavichord was really a home practice instrument, never intended for concert work. As Dan Pinkham said to me once, the Clavichord has a dynamic range that goes from the softest pianissimo to inaudibility.

    I think that, as Saul says, the chromatic limitations of the early harps had something to do with the lack of repertoire. But also, there were just more pianos around and a lot of piano manufacturers and therefore, a lot more interest in the piano and its repertoire. Just look at how it eclipsed the harpsichord and to a large extent, the organ.

    Participant
    stan-guy on #147620

    Carl is exactly right about the dynamic range of the clavichord.

    Participant
    barbara-kraichy–2 on #147621
    Small volume and limited range are certainly good reasons why the clavichord never became a concert instrument. But I am intrigued by how much it has in common with the
    Participant
    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #147622

    I am interested in research to a degree, but not to a dma degree or phd. I am more of a performer-detective. Marin’s music is coming online, not that I have found it exciting. Dalvimare is one of the best of the harpist-composers. One of the chores is wading through material to find works for piano or harp that have only been catalogued as piano music.

    There don’t seem to be many harpists interested in musicology. What does that say?

    As for funding, where is it?
    Mirella Vita has done extraordinary work, but I don’t know how she has managed it.

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