Italian Harpsichord 1540 - Edition Beurmann

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Performed by Steffen Fahl

The performances contain additional reverb.


The Italian Harpsichord 1540 library features an instrument built by an unknown maker around 1540. The instrument resides at the Museum für Kunst & Grewerbe in Hamburg. It is one of the earliest Italian harpsichords preserved. The typical light construction of Italian harpsichords makes for a resonant body. The keyboard was restored to its original state, now being in great playable condition.

Italian Harpsichord 1540
Italian harpsichord from around 1540 (image © Museum für Kunst & Gewerbe Hamburg)


Like all harpsichords, the instrument is not touch-sensitive. There are no real volume changes when hitting a key with different intensity. However, a note won’t sound just the same twice. The instrument’s strings, soundboard and body always resonate slightly different. If the same digital sample gets repeated immediately, the result is unnatural and harsh; this is the dreaded, so-called „machine gun“-effect. This leaves the listener rather irritated. To capture the instrument in a lively way, we recorded every sampled register with 8 variations per note). They are triggered in succession to avoid repetition.


Italian Harpsichord – keyboard (image © Museum für Kunst & Gewerbe Hamburg)

Additionally, the release sounds of the keys are of major importance: What was originally regarded as side noise, is part of the overall picture that “finishes” a note. When omitted, the instrument sounds rather abstract. Therefore, we recorded 4 release samples per key.

The sample library consists of 576 single recordings.


To start right away, presets are available for Kontakt® (full version required; Kontakt6® or higher), both in its original meantone tuning at 402 Hz, as well as presets at 440 Hz. Additionally, the library contains an essay provided by Museum für Kunst & Gewerbe Hamburg, describing the history of the instrument.

The samples were recorded at the Museum für Kunst & Gewerbe Hamburg. For the recording, we employed microphones and preamps by the German manufacturer DS-audioservice™. The recordings were conducted at 192 kHz/24 bits, downsampled to your resolution of choice.

Brand names, trademarks and product names belong to their respective owners.

Additional product information

Samplerate 44.1 kHz
Format Kontakt™
Delivery Download

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