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Joseph Gottfried Horn clavichord (1788)

Horn clavichord (1788)

Joseph Gottfried Horn clavichord (1788)

Joseph Gottfried Horn must have had a natural talent as an instrument maker. Whether or not he was self-taught: this instrument from 1788 provides proof of his great craftsmanship.

The instrument (Beurmann collection, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg) is largely made of oak and spruce, and displays a typically Saxon style, shown, for example, by the two parchment soundboard roses. The brass tangents and the scaling (c2 = 265mm) speak in favor of brass stringing. The set of strings is double strung and consists of plain brass strings and copper-wound brass strings in the bass. The original gauge marks to be used for the string thicknesses are found on the key levers under the nameboard. The compass is FF–g3, which seems to have been typical for Horn, as evidenced by all his surviving instruments. The bridge has the form of a walking stick, which makes possible the longest string length in the bass for the given case size. The bridge has notches, instead of the otherwise usual additional bridge pins, by means of which the strings are guided over the bridge toward the wrest plank. String damping is achieved by a woven wool cloth that is not original. A seat is present for a possible (original?) damper rail.