TPW Neapolitan Harpsichord

Instrument conceived & designed by Marc Ducornet & Emmanuel Danset
Copyright © 2008 TPW

Neapolitan 41K jpeg

Our Neapolitan Harpsichord was inspired by originals by Bocalari dating from the end of the 17th-century. The case is in poplar with a spruce soundboard, and is of "false inner-outer" construction, tricking the eye into believing that this is an instrument resting in an independent external case. This conceit is enhanced by the contrast of the inner natural wood against the painted exterior.

Our case is built in traditional Italian manner around the bottom, with the sides reinforced by knees and framing. We use the expected 2x8' disposition of the Italian harpsichord, without buff. The two unison choirs are permanently engaged, and while there is no provision to change registration, one can move either of the traditional boxguide registers to disengage a choir, perhaps to facilitate tuning.

The keyboard of the original had a short octave bass, but we took the opportunity to extend the bass to fully chromatic from C.

The instrument is delivered with a lid and fallboard, music desk, and a turned stand in traditional Italian style. This exciting harpsichord has a precise touch, and a bright and pure sound with pronounced attack. It makes an ideal continuo instrument and provides inspiration for the incredible solo Italian keyboard repertoire.


49+1 notes: C–c''', transposable A392/A415/A440

Disposition 2x8ยด, no buff
Wood Case in poplar or lime
Inner case veneer in cypress
Swiss pine soundboard, walnut-veneered wrestplank
Bridge, nut and mouldings in walnut
Keyboard Boxwood naturals and fruitwood accidentals
Action Traditional wooden jacks working in boxguides
Stand Turned, traditional Italian style
Dimensions Length 202cm ~ Width 78cm ~ Depth of case 21cm
Weight about 25kg
Instructions Manual in English or French
full size paper drawing
Level of difficulty Some Experience to Professional
Standard version Version 1, ready for assembly
Options Version 3, soundboard installed
Version 4, all woodwork completed
Specifications subject to change without notice

Gluing the knees 24K jpeg

From our series of Neapolitan construction pictures: Gluing the knees to the lower bellyrail

TPW kit index:

Address block 7K gif