BOLIVIAN CLAVICHORDS

B.1. BOLIVIA: Potosí, Casa Nacional de Moneda

[Clavichord B.1, Potosí, Casa Nacional de Moneda]
Photo: Enrique Godoy

Type 2
Source of information: Enrique Godoy, photos and personal communication.
The maker's initials are presumably ‘J. E. M.’ but his identity is as yet unknown. See also instrument B.4 below.
C/Ec³. Probably duple and triple fretting, starting at note e, with bottom 7 notes single-strung, thus:
unfretted to eb; e-f; f#-g; g#-a; bb-b; c¹-c#¹; d¹-eb¹; e¹-f¹-f#¹; g¹-g#¹-a¹; bb¹-b¹-c²; c#²-d²-eb²; e²-f²-f#²; g²-g#²-a²; bb²-b²-c³.
Keyboard recessed, naturals probably bone, sharps ebony, very modern in style.
Keylevers straight. No. of bridges: 1, shape: S.
Large upper-case letters ‘J E M’, possibly indicating the maker’s name, have been carved through the soundboard, serving in place of a rose or sound-hole. Not known whether there are also openings in the belly rail.
Case looks like polished mahogany. Printed paper in imitation of silk (or possibly real silk) inside lid.

Detail, showing soundboard with letters ‘J E M’:

[soundboard of clavichord B.1]
Photo: Enrique Godoy

 

B.2. BOLIVIA: Potosí, Convent of Santa Monica

[Clavichord B.2, Potosí, Convent of Santa Monica]
Photo: Enrique Godoy

Type 1
Source of information: Enrique Godoy, photos and personal communication.
Anon., 17 or 18C?
C/Ec³. Multiple fretting: probably 45 notes/22 courses/Ce free.
Keyboard recessed, light-coloured naturals, dark sharps.
Keylevers cranked normally. No. of bridges: 1, shape: S.
Religious depictions inside lid (quite crude).
In very poor condition.

 

B.3. BOLIVIA: Sucre, Convent of Santa Clara

[Clavichord B.3, Sucre, Convent of Santa Clara]
Photo: Enrique Godoy

Type 1
Source of information: Enrique Godoy, photos and personal communication.
Anon., 18C?
C/Ec³. At least 30 courses, therefore could be diatonically fretted.
Keyboard recessed, dark naturals, dark sharps.
Keylevers cranked normally. No. of bridges: 1, shape: S.
Undecorated.

 

B.4. BOLIVIA: La Paz, Museo de Instrumentos Musicales de Bolivia

[Clavichord B.4, La Paz, Museo Instrumentos Musicales]
Photo: Ed Pepe

Type 2
Sources of information: Ernesto Cavour Aramayo, personal communication; Ed Pepe, personal communication with photos.
Anon., 1918. This clavichord was acquired by Sr Ernesto Cavour, founder of the museum, in 1979. At that time he was told that it was made in 1918 for Jorge Mercado San Cristobal, Sucre–Chuquisaca. The instrument is so similar to No. B.1 above that there can be no doubt that it is by the same maker.
C/Ec³. There seem to be 19 or 20 courses for 45 notes, so the clavichord is probably fretted on the same system as B.1.
Keyboard recessed, naturals probably bone, sharps probably ebony, very modern in style.
Keylevers straight.
No. of bridges: 1, shape: S. The bridge appears to have no bridge-pins but instead a brass strip or wire along the apex: this is a difference from B.1 which has bridge-pins.
The large letters ‘J E M’ are carved through the soundboard, serving in place of a soundhole, as on instrument B.1.
Case looks like polished mahogany.
Painting inside lid, non-realistic, late 19C or early 20C in style, perhaps a representation of Adam and Eve: semi-nude male and nude female figures against a white ground, the male holding a lion, the female kissing a blue bird, plant motifs (large aubergines?) in centre, above them a large heart with putti. The painting is signed at the left lower corner ‘Angelo C... ’.

Detail, showing soundboard with letters ‘J E M’ carved through:

[soundboard of clavichord B.4]
Photo: Ed Pepe

 

B.5. BOLIVIA: Potosí, Convent of Santa Teresa

[Clavichord B.5, Potosí, Convent of Santa Teresa]
Photo: Enrique Godoy

Type 2(?)
Source of information: Enrique Godoy, photos and personal communication, 16 January 2009.
Anon., 18C?
54 notes: probably C–f³. Fretting uncertain.
Keyboard recessed.
No. of bridges: 1, shape: S.
In very poor condition: keys missing, but some strings and listing cloth are still present. Judging from the rack spacing and what can be seen from the photo above and the details below, it seems this clavichord is of type 2, with dead-straight keylevers. The lateral groove in the left-hand hitch-pin block is an unusual feature: its purpose is unknown

Details of clavichord B.5:

[left end of clavichord B.5] [right end of clavichord B.5 with belly rail]
Photos: Enrique Godoy