Not all of the instruments from remote parts which turned up in
Beantown exhibited the problems Judy alludes to. Yours truly had some
gummy clavichord keys (as Calhoun likes to point out to me, I have a
fixation against loose clavichord keys and often prefer a sticky one
twice a year than rattly ones the rest of the time). No nasty surprises
otherwise, and I don't believe my other westcoast colleague had any either.
Just to set the record straight.
more later on the festival after some further R&R.
Judith Conrad wrote:
> On Sat, 30 Jun 2001, Al Past wrote:
> > I wonder if anyone heard the NPR interview yesterday with the electric
> > guitarist (whose name escapes me) who talked about why he prefers his
> > old, old, Fender Telecaster guitar (I think it was). He was talking
> > about the finish they used to use, inferior stuff because it wasn't
> > airtight, and allowed the wood to dry and crack...but the result was a
> > much clearer, lighter sound. More modern electrics used some kind of
> > lacquer which held in moisture, and he said they sounded muddy.
> This whole issue has really been on my mind the last couple of weeks.
> Every two years they hold the Boston Early Music Festival in New England
> in June, some years they luck out and real summer hasn't hit yet, this
> year they didn't, they found out what we actually live with. And there
> were instruments all over the place that were supposed to be the last word
> in instrument building that had sluggish keys, which some builders refused
> to ease, claiming the weather was a fluke or something; aside from what
> may have happened to the sound, and yes, my instruments certainly do sound
> different in the summer than in the winter. Weather a fluke? Today is
> nice, comparatively; the weather billboard in downtown Providence RI said
> 84 degrees Fahrenheit, 79 percent humidity. Much better than most of last
> I do a lot of seasonal adjusting of my instruments, which they seem to
> need. I'm still having to tune down in pitch every time I tune, this
> usually continues most of the way to August. That seems to me a clear
> indication the case geometry is changing. I bend tangents on my
> clavichords, which is much easier than refiling the tops to keep the angle
> constant. I have more time to practice, and give solo keyboard recitals,
> during the summer than during the winter, so it matters that I get them
> adjusted for summer, so I don't mind doing the work. (I do, I will say
> parenthetically, mind getting made fun of for doing it by people in other
> parts of the world, who assume this must mean I have crummy instruments.
> Maybe in some cases I do, but I make them work).
> But I guess the instruments were developed in a different climate; and the
> modern early music movement tends to be well-to-do, and modern well-to-do
> people have embraced that modern abomination known as central
> air-conditioning. I don't have it, neither do the authentic historical
> houses I give clavichord concerts in. Somehow, I think the
> instrument-building world has worked out how to accomodate to central
> heating; but they are not even trying to accomodate to east-coast US
> summers. The biggest clavichord kit-maker in the US used to make patented
> tangents that were easily adjustible, but I heard at Boston this time that
> they are abandoning them, presumably in the name of HIPness.
> Jest venting in the heat.... Not at all wishing for an air-tight plastic
"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic
hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.
There's also a negative side."
--Hunter S. Thompson