MEXICAN CLAVICHORDS

M.1. MEXICO: Mexico City, Museo Nacional de la Historia, Chapultepec Castle

[Clavichord M.1, Mexico City, Chapultepec]
Photo: Pablo Padilla & Jean Luis García

Type 3
Sources of information: José-Antonio Guzmán Bravo: ‘Mexico, home of the first musical instrument workshops in America’ in Early Music, vol. 6 no. 3, July 1978 (includes black & white photo). Beryl Kenyon de Pascual: unpublished talk delivered at the Shrine to Music museum, Vermillion, South Dakota, 1996. Pablo Padilla and Juan Luis García Orozco: ‘An Overview of the Clavichord in New Spain’, lecture delivered at Magnano, September 2005, and printed in De Clavicordio VII, Magnano 2006 (‘6th clavichord’).
Signed in an oval cartouche on the inside of the lid:
Juan Feliphe | Deolea [De Olea?] Meqico | En la calle de San agus | f....
18C?
C.D.E.F–c³ (alternative explanations for the full-width bass natural keys are possible). The keyboard has been altered by the addition of two full-width naturals in the bass: it originally began on C/E.
Multiple fretted, beginning on note e.
Compartments to left and right of keys with lids; however, these are only half-height. The front is closed by a separate hinged flap.
Carved cheekpieces: however, left and right-hand cheekpieces do not match and the carving of the right-hand one seems crude. Yellow naturals, pinkish-brown sharps.
Keylever cranking is reminiscent of Leipzig 2 (see Ecuador, no. E.1).
No. of bridges: 3, straight and perpendicular to long sides. No. of hold-downs: 3.
Lute-like rose in soundboard. Cartouche with maker’s name inside lid, also figures (secular). Painted decoration on exterior and on soundboard.
Hitch-pins in zig-zag pattern.

[General view of clavichord M.1]
M.1: general view   Photo: Pablo Padilla & Jean Luis García

[M.1: signature]
Cartouche in lid, with maker's signature   Photo: Pablo Padilla & Jean Luis García

 

M.2. MEXICO: Tepotzotlán, Museo del Virreinato

[Clavichord M.2, Tepotzotlán]
Photo: Pablo Padilla & Jean Luis García

Type 3
Source of information: Padilla and García, as M.1 (‘5th clavichord’).
Anon., date uncertain.
C/E–c³, multiple-fretted from note e.
Compartments to left and right of keys with lids, but these are only half-height: the front is closed by a separate hinged flap, similar to M.1.
Carved keyboard cheekpieces, and a similar bracket half way along the soundboard front.
Naturals apparently bone, with scribed lines and scoops. Sharps dark. Profile cut into keyfronts. Keylevers cranked normally, bevelled (see detail below).
No. of bridges: 3, straight and perpendicular to long sides. No. of hold-downs: 3.
Case of a light-coloured wood. Soundboard decorated with painting. Traces of a rose in main soundboard.
The arrangement of the hitch-pins has been altered and is now extremely haphazard.

[keys of clavichord M2]
Keys of clavichord M2 in the Museo del Virreinato, Tepotzotlán   Photo: Pablo Padilla & Jean Luis García

 

M.3. MEXICO: Santiago Lachiguiri, Oaxaca

[Clavichord M.3, Santiago Lachiguiri]
Photo: Pablo Padilla & Jean Luis García

Type 1
Source of information: Padilla and García, as M.1 (‘1st clavichord’).
Anon., late 18C or 19C(?).
C/E–c³. Fretted.
Keyboard recessed, naturals look similar to box, sharps darker.
Keylevers cranked normally, bevelled. Mortices in keylevers for lead weights, visible from above.
No. of bridges: 1, shape: S, with reverse curve in extreme treble.
Case looks like cedro. Undecorated.
Tuning pins arranged in two curving rows, following approximately the curve of the bridge.
Soundboard projects over the top 10 or so keylevers in a bold curve; it is not clear how it is supported by the belly-rail.
Identical to M.4 and undoubtedly by the same maker. In very poor condition.

 

M.4. MEXICO: Santiago Lachiguiri, Oaxaca

[Clavichord M.4, Santiago Lachiguiri]
Photo: Pablo Padilla & Jean Luis García

Type 1
Source of information: Padilla and García, as M.1 (‘2nd clavichord’).
For description, see M.3: this instrument is identical in design and is clearly by the same
maker. It is in slightly better condition than M.3.

[Clavichord M.4, bass keys]  [Clavichord M.4, treble keys]
Clavichord M.4: details of keys and part of soundboard   Photos: Pablo Padilla & Jean Luis García

 

M.5. MEXICO: Santiago Lachiguiri, Oaxaca

[Clavichord M.5, Santiago Lachiguiri]
Photo: Pablo Padilla & Jean Luis García

Type 1
Source of information: Padilla and García, as M.1 (‘3rd clavichord’).
Anon., 18C(?).
45 notes, presumably C/E–c³; apparently 28 courses, therefore perhaps triple fretted. Keyboard recessed. Keys, soundboard and most of the internal structures missing; however, balance rail complete with pins is present, plus bass hitch-pin block and wrestplank. The strings, when present, evidently ran approximately parallel to the spine. Case looks like cedro.

[Clavichord M.5, detail]
Clavichord M.5: detail of balance rail and hitch-pin block   Photo: Pablo Padilla & Jean Luis García

 

M.6. MEXICO: Santiago Lachiguiri, Oaxaca

[Remains of clavichord M.6, Santiago Lachiguiri]
Photo: Pablo Padilla & Jean Luis García

Type 3
Source of information: Padilla and García, as M.1 (‘4th clavichord’).
Anon., 17C or 18C(?)
All that remains of this instrument is the left-hand wall, with hitch-pin block and part of the bottom attached, left-hand compartment and cheekpiece, balance-rail with pins, and part of the front rail. However, this is enough to show that it must have been similar to M.1 and M.2, with half-height compartments to left and right of the keyboard and separate hinged board closing the front.