“and with such a full way he will have heard, from his harpsichord, a perfection of wonderful harmony”
One of the most iconic instruments of the “Thorough-bass Age” is certainly the harpsichord. It served very different musical functions in the past. Instrument of choice for amateurs and top composers, in church or theater, the harpsichord has been of fundamental importance for centuries. This diversity of roles certainly meant a great variety of writing, which is today the delight of harpsichordists; but it also meant a multiplicity of forms and construction of the instruments themselves, which can now be admired in museums.
The harpsichord does surely not suffer from the lack of interest of some other instruments, but the quality of what one finds around is very varied: alongside with some excellent work, there are also harpsichords that one should better avoid. Finally in this section I’ll also take my chance to explain my view on some topics related to this instrument.