Spinet after Keene & Brackley

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As well as organs, I have also studied the construction of stringed instruments. In this context I have made a number of spinets, which I consider a beautiful instrument. The spinet has received something of a bad name because of the many ‘neo-baroque’ examples which sound somewhat ‘tinny’. There are, however, many beautiful sounding instruments preserved, especially those made in England. The spinet was a popular instrument during the baroque era. A typical variety is the English ‘bentside’ spinet. The English spinets are also always made of walnut in combination with a cheaper wood with a walnut veneer. The advantage of the spinet is that, due to its shape, it takes up less space than a harpsichord.

The photo shows a spinet copied from an instrument made in 1715 by Stephen Keene and Charles Brackley. It has brass strings. Brass strings have a shorter scale than steel strings, in other words brass strings are shorter than their steel equivalents which produce the same pitch. Brass strings also give a warmer sound. I find it important to construct every part of the instrument myself including the soundboard (essential to the production of a good sound), the jacks, the keyboard, the keyfaces, the stand, etc. The result of making all the individual elements oneself is that the resulting instrument carries one’s own identity, or, in other words, one’s own ideas about sound, appearance and touch.

Some technical details:
Case: American walnut
Bass: 1720 mm.
Compass: G1, A1-d3, e3
Key inlay: ebony, upper keys made from pear wood, inlayed with bone.

Spinet after Benjamin Slade (17th century)

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Some technical details:
Wood: European cherry.
Baswand Length: 1660 mm
Size Keyboard: HH-e3
Pitch: A='440

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