Pedal clavichord


Pedal clavichord by Johann David Gerstenberg, Geringswalde (Saxony) 1760; Museum für Musikinstrumente der Universität Leipzig

Instruments like these were the typical instruments for organists for practising at home. In fact it is a combination of three (one with particularly long strings and pedal keyboard) placed in a framework to closely resemble an organ of the time.


music sample:
excerpt of Johann Sebastian Bach: Passacaglia c-moll BWV 582
played by Erik van Bruggen
Instrument: Dick Verwolf, copy after the J. D. Gerstenberg 1760 instrument

A pedal clavichord is nothing else but a combination of several clavichord in a special frame, two manual clavichords atop and s bigger clavichord with pedal visibly reveals its purpose for exercise in place of a church organ when exercising inside the churhc was not regularly possible. Before the days of electric heating or electric wind machinery  an organist needed at least one or more aides to operate the bellows; exercising at home on an appropriate instrument to simulate organ "feeling", not the least with a some warm oven in winter nearby made the pedal clavichord the preferred instrument for those purposes in central and northern Europe. In France or Italy harpsichords with pedal attachments were more common.

When harpsichords as well as clavichords vanished after 1800, some piano makers (like Johann Schmidt in Salzburg) produced some pedal pianos, again predominantly for organists for exercise. This time the main problem was the application of a second manual - of no permanent success.


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