LISTSERV 16.0

Help for HPSCHD-L Archives


HPSCHD-L Archives

HPSCHD-L Archives


HPSCHD-L@LIST.UIOWA.EDU


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

HPSCHD-L Home

HPSCHD-L Home

HPSCHD-L  October 2006

HPSCHD-L October 2006

Subject:

Re: harpsichord technicians (responsibilities)

From:

David Calhoun <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 2 Oct 2006 11:53:55 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (86 lines)

Ho - Early in my day, but let me weigh in on plastic jacis an the
Z-sort in particular.  We're probably said all this before.

Last Friday I went to a college homecoming, to look at the new lab
building being dedicated, and ran into a new visiting prof who, after
showimg me his optical fringe setup, mentioned that he'd once made
a hapchd, a Burton, which since it was his only contact he considered
to be the Definitive Object.  But he did report the usual troubles with
the jacks, which led into an on-the-fly reflection on What Works.

The gist of which was that plastic's a great material; 'tis just not 
the one for which the instrument system was designed.  One could, in 
principle, make a plastic jack _exactly_ like, in mass and dimension, 
a wood one, which  fitted with raven and boar would be indistinguishable
from the "real thing."  One might even be able to enginner and fabricate
a plectrum material of the same fibre-in-a-stroma character as raven, and 
suppress the thermoplastic tendency to change stiffness with temperature.

But the very versatility of plastics makes it near inevitable that the
jack design will get re-engineered, either for convenience of manufacture
or to avoid certain "problems" with plain wood and quill.  Everything 
has tradeoffs.  Thus the modern designs drift away from the character, 
seen as virtues and faults, of the originals.  Quite possibly one might
not so admire the excellences of boar bristle had our times not traveled
thru this territory, from Sperrrrhakkkke and their bone and cast-in 
Burton plectra to the Axleless Z-jack and the convenient snap-in.

I unequivocally like the tapered Z-jacks for most uses.  I can say with
some pride that I've had a Boston player yank off a jack rail to see
how I'd put quill in them, only to find that it was just the usual
Delrin cut with care.  I've had few problems; I recall only two clients
who have played _so_ much that the tongue heads start poppin' off. The
second of those has just called up two ranks of wood from Mr.Purdy, and
one way or another they're about to find their way into use.

The brown tapered plastic, zB, can indeed be induced to warp by wrappin'
hanks of them with elastic bands, or by jammin' the terminal one up 
against a transposed key.  But they're also flexible enough that when
they snag against a slidin' keyboard (and they will) they neither tear
the cloth off the key end, dislodge a lower guide, or just break.  The
floating tongue does indeed waste a little energy, a problem when one
wants to give a bass string a real Whack; but the same loss can be an
advantage in a 4' or a tight-spaced spinet where the lost energy is an
aid to graceful voicing. And - computer folk - the tongues are pretty
much backward compatible, even at $.90 the each.  (I have a bucket
of 'em.)  Their low mass is especially good in the three-register
singles like Herb's;  I just suggested I swap him new jacks for his
old long-tails, which in turn are back-compatible with those awful
early axleless jobbies with the trangle tongue mortices and top screws, 
of which there are a-plenty awaiting replacing.  

Certainly nothing will beat good traditional wood.  My process for
redoing the upcoming big double would not be _en bloc,_ but to redo
the ones which have broken one by each, taking some care to fit the
pluck and balance of the new among the old.  I suspect there will be
a lesson or three to be learnt.  And there was some talk of goose for
them; but my reading is that this player, like most, would really 
prefer not to cope with that added detail; she'd rather play than trim.
I could be wrong.  But I have no special skill with birdies, other than
to approach the effect with Delrin.

And then one recalls last winter's adventure with the Very Fine wood
jacks whose axles had so corroded that the tongues were held rigid
in the grip of a tightly fitted mortice.  Closer examination revealed
that _those_ jacks had originally held quill, which had been replaced
in an unsuccessful effort at rejuvenation by the builder.  Each tongue
bore the stain of applied oil, and his accompanying material suggested
olive, which I think may be rather acid;  the oil, soaking down the
length of the tongue, may well have reached the axle and helped 
catalyze the production of verdigris.  

Everything has its issues.  Jack's complaint that he had to file down
the bulge on the Z jacks at the tongue base suggests to me that another
fault of mass-production is that it promotes the mindset that the 
object will then automatically and mindlessly work.  'Tis seldom so.
A little care is always in order.  I won't be surprised to find that
Mr.Purdy's jacks also require individual attention to details that I'd
have taken care of myself had I been making the things at home.  Plastic's
not the problem so much as lack of care, and inattention to the objective.

There - 12 cents worth of words.

						calhoun


Heisenberg might have tuned here ...

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
December 1998
November 1998
October 1998
September 1998
August 1998
July 1998
June 1998
May 1998
April 1998
March 1998
February 1998
January 1998
December 1997
November 1997
October 1997
September 1997
August 1997
July 1997
June 1997
May 1997
April 1997
March 1997
February 1997
January 1997
December 1996
November 1996
October 1996
September 1996
August 1996
July 1996
June 1996
May 1996
April 1996
March 1996
February 1996
January 1996
December 1995
November 1995
October 1995
September 1995
August 1995
July 1995
June 1995
May 1995
April 1995
March 1995
February 1995
January 1995
December 1994
November 1994
October 1994
September 1994

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LIST.UIOWA.EDU

UI LISTSERV Documentation | Questions? Contact the ITS Help Desk - (319) 384.HELP (4357) - its-helpdesk@uiowa.edu