Borys Medicky
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There are two ways to construct an Italian harpsichord, both of which are found in the historical tradition:

True inner-outer:  an instrument with a thin (about 3/16"/4.7 mm or less) case of softwood, given an oil finish and adorned inside and out with elegant moldings.  Such an instrument is light and easy to move.  Care must be taken to protect the instrument, as the casework could dent or split if it suffers a sharp blow.  Historically, such instruments were often inserted into a protective outer case that had the same shape as the instrument itself.  This outer case was usually painted, sometimes elaborately so, and could feature other highly decorative details such as gilding and carving.  The combination of the inner and outer cases is somewhat heavy.

False inner-outer:  an instrument with a thicker case made from a hardwood such as poplar, which is painted or decorated in such a fashion as to conceal the wood.   Strips of softwood and pieces of molding are glued to the interior rim of this painted case to simulate the appearance of an true inner-outer residing within its outer case, except that here the instrument and the outer case are one and the same.  Such an instrument is a little heavier, due to the thicker casework, but also tougher and more likely to shrug off accidental blows.  It is not as heavy as an inner case instrument together with its outer case.


Many historical instruments retuned the lowest notes to provide bass notes a third lower than the letter names usually given to those keys.  On the Trasuntino, the lowest note BB plays GG, the C# plays AA and the D# plays BB (this is called the GG/BB short octave).  On the F.A., the lowest note E plays C, the F# plays D and the G# plays E (this is called the C/E short octave).  These substitutions allow common bass notes to be played without enlarging the instrument in the bass region.  The notes can always be tuned to their usual pitches instead, if the player so desires.

The keyboard range of these instruments can be extended, at additional cost, to provide extra notes in the treble and bass, eliminating the need for a short octave and enlarging the repertoire that can successfully be performed.


All harpsichords come with a keyboard that can be shifted one position to allow performance at a pitch of A=440 Hz (the modern standard) or A=415 Hz (so-called "Baroque pitch").


True inner-outer harpsichords are given an oil finish that reveals the natural beauty of the wood.

False inner-outer harpsichords have the case painted in a single colour.  For these instruments, more elaborate decorations such as marbling can be arranged.

  • Folding music desk
  • Trestle stand that fastens to the bottom of the harpsichord, which can be dismantled for easy transportation
  • Tuning hammer
  • Extra plectra and a supply of replacement strings

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