COLOMBIAN CLAVICHORDS

C.1. COLOMBIA: Bogot, Perdomo Escobar Collection, no. 30500

[Clavichord C.1, Bogotá, Perdomo Escobar Collection]
Photo: Egberto Bermúdez

Type 2
José Ignacio Perdomo Escobar Collection of Musical Instruments, property of Banco de la Republica, housed in the Library Luis Ángel Arango, Santafé de Bogotá.
Sources of information: Egberto Bermúdez: Colleción de Instrumentos Musicales José Ignacio Perdomo Escobar, Bogotá, 1986. Also personal communication with photo.
Anon., 19C? C–c³ (chromatic). Probably fretted.
Keyboard recessed, light-coloured naturals (?box), dark sharps. Straight keylevers.
No. of bridges: 1, consisting of three straight sections. Undecorated.
Note: the other clavichord in this collection is a twentieth-century English instrument by Alec Hodsdon (no. 30501).

 

C.2. COLOMBIA: Bogotá, Private ownership

Type not known
Reported by Egberto Bermúdez and Rafael Puyana (personal communications); said to be similar to C.1. Oral tradition says this instrument belonged to Simón Bolívar.
No image available

 

C.3. U.S.A.: Flint Collection.

[Clavichord C.3, from the Convent of Santa Inés in Bogotá]
Photo: Rafael Puyana

Type 2
Formerly in the collection of Rafael Puyana.
Sources of information: Karen Flint, Rafael Puyana, Owen Daly, personal communications; Peter Bavington, notes made when examining the instrument, 19 November 2005; Beryl Kenyon de Pascual: ‘Clavicordios and Clavichords in 16th-century Spain’ in Early Music, vol. 20 no. 4, November 1992 (includes photo).
Acquired by Rafael Puyana from the Convent of Santa Inés in Bogotá when the former convent building was demolished by rioters in 1948. Restored by Johannes Carda. Acquired by the Flint collection in 2005. Restored by Owen Daly in 2012.
Anon., ?19C.
C/Ec³. There are now 33 courses, but the five courses nearest the front may be additions as the wrestpins are spaced differently from the rest. There are many signs on the keylevers that the tangents have not always been in their present positions. The present fretting is probably non-original: it is broadly diatonic, starting at note , with two groups of three and one of four in the high treble. If there were originally only 28 courses, then the original fretting was probably in threes and fours beginning on .
Compartments to left and right of keys: crudely carved keyboard cheekpieces. Dark naturals and darker sharps: natural keyfronts have two decorative scoops cut into the end-grain of the levers. Octave span remarkably narrow: about 143 mm. Straight keylevers.
No. of bridges: 4, straight and perpendicular to long sides. Open sound-hole.
Dimensions: 1045 × 410 × 140 mm. Inlaid black lines on lid and case; decorative profile on cheekpieces. The present (possibly non-original) tangents and guide-slips are cut from a sheet of what seems to be pure zinc, printed on one side with musical notation. Many modern(?) iron nail-heads visible.

 

C.4. COLOMBIA: Bogotá, Museo Nacional

[Clavichord C.4, from Boyacá]
Photo: Peter Bavington

Type 2
Formerly in the collection of Rafael Puyana.
Sources of information: Peter Bavington, notes made when examining the instrument, 19 November 2005; Rafael Puyana, Beryl Kenyon de Pascual and Egberto Bermúdez, personal communications.
Acquired by Rafael Puyana from the Hacienda de los Marqueses de Surba y Bonza, Boyacá. Restored by Johannes Carda of Vienna. Bequeathed to the Museo Nacional de Colombia, following Rafael Puyana’s death in March 2013.
Anon., 19C(?).
C/Ea². 21 courses: fretted in twos, threes and fours, starting at note c.
Compartments to left and right of keys. Naturals brown, sharps darker brown. Octave span approximately 163 mm. Straight keylevers.
No. of bridges: 3, straight, graduated in height; currently arranged in line with one another and at right angles to the long sides; no obvious signs of any other previous bridge positions.
Dimensions: 945 × 355 × 154 mm.
Tuning pins on the outer side of the right-hand case wall, under a hinged cover: the strings pass over a strip of cattle bone to reach the tuning pins (see photo below).
Secondary soundboard under the keylevers: both soundboards appear to be made of a light-coloured hardwood, and both have open sound-holes, the one in the secondary soundboard now reinforced with an obviously modern ring. Tangents appear to be iron without zinc plating. Guide-slips of wood.

[Clavichord C.4, detail of wrestpins]
Detail of clavichord C.4, showing right-hand end with hinged cover removed to reveal the wrestpins. Photo: Peter Bavington