A History of the Harpsichord + CD Hardcover – Jun 11 2003
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
"Not only does Kottick's History supplant The New Grove Early Keyboard Instruments as the first book to read about the harpsichord, but it is a valuable reference for information about specific types of instruments. The author covers all significant known developments from the the invention of the harpsichord (around 1400) to the present." ―NewOlde.com
"[This book] can unhesitatingly be recommended as the most comprehensive book on the harpsichord. Given its size and the number of plates and illustrations, it should not be thought expensive and will surely take its place as one of the standard reference sources in any music library." ―Notes
About the Author
Instrument maker, scholar, researcher, author, and lecturer, musicologist Edward L. Kottick built his first harpsichord in 1963. He has investigated the instrument's acoustical properties as well as its historical aspects, and has published articles on the harpsichord in both scientific and scholarly journals.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
WRITING CA. 1460, the cleric, astronomer, physician, and encyclopedist Paulus Paulirinus note, "The harpsichord is an instrument of wonderful sweetness for making music.... Read the first page
Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
To cover the weaknesses first: Kottick's writing cannot match the elegance and wit of Hubbard's, though it's fun to read the occasional excellent zingers Kottick slips in here and there. Kottick is not as terse as Hubbard and his book is a longer, slower read. There are many descriptions of individual instruments, which can get pretty tedious. Kottick also focuses too much, I feel, on the visual appearance of the instruments. In contrast, Hubbard is at his most gripping where he takes on what I take to be the essential research question: what exactly was it that the old builders were doing when they produced instruments of such excellent sound?
Turning to the pluses: it's been 45 years since Hubbard was published, and there's been a lot of research progress since then. Kottick is in the thick of this research and gives a careful, balanced picture that you would not get from just reading Hubbard. Most notably, Kottick present the case for an "International Style" of harpsichord building, a pattern that seems to have slipped under Hubbard's radar. Kottick also just has a lot more detail, and explains quite a few things of interest that Hubbard doesn't address.
I feel the best part of the book is the final two chapters on the 20th century harpsichord. Kottick knows this field very well--including many of the participants-- and he effectively applies his own experience as a builder and listener.
Curiously, the endnotes are often more interesting than the main text. I read them from start to finish, picking out the ones that had nice anecdotes.
The accompanying CD of sound examples from a variety of historical and modern harpsichords is very enjoyable and informative.
In sum: this book is something of a slog to get through, but if you are fan of harpsichords, a book you absolutely should read.
The cd included is a waste because potential readers will know the basic repertoire and will have it all in much better versions too. The many photos and hard cover makes it a luxe edition and I would have settled for less.
In short a nice reference book for looking up specific types of harpsichords occasionally but rather expensive to serve this purpose only.