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Ruckers Single Manual harpsichord

Ruckers Single Manual harpsichord

Ruckers is the most famous name in the harpsichord world. It is the name of a family of builders working in Antwerp, active from the end of the 16th century and through most of the 17th century. The earlier Ruckers harpsichords had 2 choirs of strings, an 8' and a 4', and a 'short octave' bass (with this system the instrument lacks the bottom chromatic notes). Johannes Couchet was the last member of the Ruckers dynesty, being the grandson of Hans Ruckers (builder of the earliest surviving Ruckers instruments). Couchet began extending and varying the original Ruckers concept, introducing a chromatic bass, and two 8' choirs. The instrument shown incorporates these two features. However I can also build it with the usual Ruckers 8' + 4' disposition, or even 8' + 8' + 4'.

This instrument is light, compact and resonant, with a strong sound. A very good instrument for accompanying an ensemble or orchestra, as well as for playing a large part of the harpsichord solo repertoire.

Download a Sound file of this instrument in MP3 (5Mb)
(Sweelinck's setting of Dowlands Lachrymae Pavana)
The same track in CD quality format (55Mb)
Gibbons version of the same Pavana in MP3 (3MB)
The same track in CD quality (30Mb)

Listen to the Ruckers Single Manual harpsichord:
registers: 8'
registers: 8'+8'

Ruckers keyboards are in bone, and the interiors of the cases are decorated with printed papers. Not any paper, but paper made in the old way from cotton fibres. The outsides are usually painted in imitation marble. This example is mounted on the most complicated Flemish stand. Also available is a simpler stand with four turned legs. Ruckers Single Manual harpsichord