No one should be criticized for enjoying what they have or for using some
resourcefulness in improving it. For that,I say bravo to Rob Adlers.
But I have to say that the implication behind his praise of the metal frame
is bunk. I just schlepped a brand-new Italian harpsichord of a structure
unusually flexible and unbraced even for a 17th-century-style Italian
harpsichord 220 miles from Oregon to Seattle in the back of my 1966 Ford
F100 pickup over roads which are, shall we say, a monument to the collapse
of the American infrastructure, especially the stretch near Boeing Field. I
then bounced it up and down a bunch of Seattle hills, and drove over a
couple of curbs in Seattle (that's yet another story). When we set it up in
the Church where rehearsals and performances were to take place, it was
perfectly decent to play - better than if it had been tuned carelessly,
worse than a thoughtful musician would want for a serious rehearsal or
So I tuned it as a courtesy to the musicians. It had to be retuned because
the recorders wanted the pitch 2 HZ higher than I had set it, and nobody
seemed to take seriously my suggestion of icing the recorders down during
What I'm trying to say isn't that I'm God's gift to authentic harpsichord
making, but rather that all that rhetoric, fostered by Sabathil and his
ilk, to justify those crappy metal frames is really a not very well
disguised attempt to argue that real harpsichords don't stay in tune. We
tune them more often because we care. And they are easier to tune because
they have ever so much less inharmonicity than the Sabathil.
So let's all enjoy what we have and milk the most joy out of it we can, but
please don't go through life misinformed.