On Wed, 20 Feb 2008 07:45:09 -0600, James McCarty <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>If I lived close to such a maker and felt assured that he would stand by his
>instruments, I would take the risk to achieve such a beautiful tone. Since I
>live in the middle of Harpsichord Nowhere, [snip]
I identify at least three 1/2 topics in a blur here, correct me if I'm wrong:
1) a virginal that is stable but difficult to play might have a key balance
ration that upsets the, let's call it, francophile technician (as in:
playing technique). This is perhaps indeed a matter of being used to the
specific touch. There might, however, be other reasons, as Bill's question
indicates. A balance rail way towards the front, and very short and plucky
plectra, for example, is a horrible combination to play.
2) Whether a harpsichord needs more or less maintenance in plectra
replacement is perhaps a matter of design/construction but perhaps also a
sheer matter of coincidence, and maybe, too, a result of a specific playing
technique. I mean nothing bad or scary, like pounding, but I know from
experience that some quick touchers break more plectra.
2 1/2) An instrument's keeping the tuning may relate to external
circumstances (against which the best harpsichord cannot compete) or, as
this thread started, to structural issues. Without looking at the actual
situation, there's no way to judge who or what is responsible for either
remarkable stability or remarkable instability.
3) Structural problems can be anything.
a) pure invention (as in: something totally else was the cause but we didn't
see it; see above: "external circumstances").
b) caused by poor design faithfully copied (this is being discussed here).
c) a result of a great design combined with the use of crappy wood (or bad
glue, or inferior joining techniques or a poor glue-up routine...).
d) the outcome of the often encountered
all-of-the-previous-ground-into-one-sausage situation (except for point a),
Whatever the case, if, as you say you heard, some instruments by this
fantastic Colmar Ruckers copy maker are truly structurally problematic, it
is unlikely that any "standing by the instrument" would change matters, no
matter whether it is the builder stands by it, or anyone else.