> ould somebody explain in detail what the perceived problems were with the
> "factory" harpsichords from the seventies?
Referring to Sperhake, Wittmeyer, Sabathil, et al -
Let's see: Little sound, and even less carrying power. What sound there was,
was the wrong sound. Horrible, evil actions with loads of lead. Inappropriate
materials, like foam plastic buff pads and vinyl plectra. Metal jack registers.
Hideously complicated jacks (Ever heard of the "OK jack"?). Weight - how does
740 lbs. sound? Designs that had nothing, and I do mean nothing, to do with
antique harpsichords. And that's just the start.
What made these instruments so bad is that the manufacturers started out with
the wrong assumptions - that case stability was everything and that a
harpsichord was a piano that plucked. Mechanical complication ruled the day in
these factories, and the designers seem to have relished in applying 19th and
20th century technological concepts to their products.
I have always been curious about why, after starting out with such promise, the
revival instruments strayed so far from the path. Pleyel, after all, had an
original Taskin at its disposal when it started making harpsichords. It is as
if a violin maker had looked at a Stradivari, and made a banjo.