triangle, the cymbals, the side-drum!!
and the bass-drum into orchestral use.
Paris, 1636-7, II, iii,
describes the triangle, a sort of xylophone, and the 'Jew's
For a fine overall study see James Blades,
Percussion Instruments and
London, 1970; New and Revised edition, 1984.
(a) The starting-point for the harpsichord is its touch. Piano touch is in
many ways quite different, and can make even a good harpsichord
sound unsonorous. A bad harpsichord may be unavoidably unsonorous.
(730) Joachim Quantz,
Berlin, 1752, XVII, vi, 18:
'Experience confirms that if two players of unequal abilities play on the
same harpsichord, the tone will be far better in the case of the better
player. There can be no reason for this except the difference in their touch.'
(b) The ideal approach is to feel the keys before depressing them. This
is not peculiar to the harpsichord: pianists, especially those whose
tradition descends along the great Czerny and Leschetizky line, recognise
the same ideal. In practice, it cannot be done above a certain speed, but
there is a certain feline smoothness which comes very near to it. The
opposite to this is throwing the hands at the keys from a height, which
sends the jacks up too violently for the quills to take a proper hold on the
strings before plucking them. The result is a quite remarkably hard,
metallic and jangling tone.
(731) Fran9ois Couperin,
UArt de toucher le clavecin,
Paris, 1716, ed.
of 1717, p. 7:
'The sweetness of the touch depends on holding the fingers as near to
the keys as possible .
.. a hand which falls from a height gives a drier
stroke than if it touches from close; and the quill draws a harder sound
from the string.'
(732) Jean-Philippe Rameau,
Pieces de clavecin, Paris
'The greater movement should never be made except where the lesser
will not suffice . . . even when the hand has to be moved to a certain part
of the keyboard, it is still necessary for the finger used to drop on to the
key by its own movement alone.
'The fingers must drop on to the keys and not hit them . . . never
weight the touch of your fingers by the effort of your hand.'
This technique is much facilitated by an easy position at the key-
board, the elbows hanging loose, and the fingers curved each to the