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Action.docx - Action Re-imagining a possible medieval...

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Unformatted text preview: Action Re-imagining a possible medieval hammer action is the most challenging aspect of such a project. Arnaut’s ZCM hammer action is so simplistic as to be essentially unsuitable for all but the crudest musical e8ects; nonetheless, certain valuable lessons can be drawn from considering the information contained in his treatise in various lights. 6e 2rst is to realize that the mere existence of Arnaut’s description is no reason to insist upon his design as the only possible ‘historical’ option. For example, Ma8ei’s famous 1711 description/illustration of Cristofori’s piano action shows a rather overly complicated and primitive mechanism which is completely unlike the action found in all surviving Cristofori pianos. 6e real action is so well thought-out that it essentially provides the model for the modern grand action.33 6e historical development of the piano action is one great circle rather than a continuous ‘linear evolution’ towards ‘perfection’. Had none of these instruments survived, i.e., if the evidence were limited to Ma8ei’s article alone, we would have a completely di8erent impression. 6e second lesson to be learned is that the medieval mind was by no means limited in its ability to imagine quite intricate mechanical devices; all three of his plucking mechanisms are far more complex than the simple jack-and-tongue found in all surviving harpsichords. ...
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