Stringed Keyboard Instruments

Their Relation to the Lute and Other Instruments according to Documentary Sources
  • David Ledbetter


Of the three main types of stringed keyboard instrument (harpsichord, clavichord, spinet), the harpsichord and clavichord can claim a French ancestry dating back to the middle years of the 15th century. But if the clavichord at that stage enjoyed favour as an instrument in its own right, it had ceased to do so by the later 16th century. It appears on the title-pages of Attaingnant’s publications as an alternative to the organ and spinet, 1 but not on those of any later 16th-century publications. It was discussed and illustrated by Jacques Cellier in 15852 and Mersenne in 1636,3 as well as being mentioned not infrequently in inventories of makers’ workshops and of household effects, but Trichet’s description of it as a beginner’s instrument, although written around 1640, probably reflects its status from the late 16th century:4

grandement commode aux novices qui commencent à s’exercer à la pratique des accords de la musique instrumentale et à dresser leurs mains sur le clavier pour pouvoir par après joüer plus hardiment et avec plus de souplesse du clavecin, de l’espinette ou de l’orgue.


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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Six of Attaingnant’s seven keyboard publications of 1531 are designated ‘en la tablature des Orgues Espinettes Manicordions et telz semblables instrumenz’. One omits the clavichord. See H. M. Brown, Instrumental Music, 15311–15317.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    F-Pn ms, f.182. The musical section of this large miscellaneous collection of drawings (ff.160–92) is dated 1585.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Harmonie universelle, Traité des instrumens a chordes, pp. 114–16Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Traité des instruments de musique, f. 115. The section on keyboard instruments is edited by F. Lesure in Annales musicologiques, iv (1956), pp. 175–248Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    E. A. Bowles, ‘A Checklist’, pp. 11–16Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    F-Pn ms f. lat.7295. Bowles (p. 14) dates this treatise between 1436 and 1454.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Étienne Jodelle, Epithalame de Madame Marguerite soeur du Roy Henri II très chrestien, duchesse de Savoie; see Lavignac and La Laurencie, Encyclopédie, 1/ii, p. 1201Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    The Harpsichord and Clavichord, p. 53Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    M. Jurgens, Documents (two vols.). I am very grateful to Mme Jurgens for allowing me to examine the as yet unpublished third volume of this series.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    The following table is compiled from the section ‘Le goût des parisiens pour la musique’ (Jurgens, Documents, i–iii), which excludes collections of professional musicians:Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Much of Mersenne’s information on the lyre, harpsichord and other instruments evidently came from Hieronymo Landi, superintendant of the music of Cardinal Barberini (Traité des instruments a chordes, p. 216).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    For convenience I have used the word spinet as equivalent to the French épinette. The èpinette of this period was not the wing-shaped spinet of 18th-century English makers, which has its French counterpart in such instruments as the Goujon épinette of 1763 in the Paris Conservatoire collection. It is clear from the descriptions and illustrations of Cellier, Mersenne, Trichet and others that the épinette was a rectangular virginals.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Livre troisiesme des instrumens à chordes, p. 159Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    See C. Samoyault-Verlet, Les facteurs, p. 61.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ibid, pp. 56–7Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    C. Verlet, ‘Jalons’, p. 101Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    F. Lesure, ‘La facture’, p. 24; C. Samoyault-Verlet, Les facteurs, p. 79nGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Claude Denis’ workshop, for example, contained at his death in 1587 only four spinets, one clavichord and one organ as against 67 lutes, 65 violins, numerous mandoras and other smaller plucked-stringed instruments as well as some viols and wind instruments; see F. Lesure, op cit, pp. 36–8. There seems no basis for Lesure’s assertion that ‘dans sa boutique de la rue Planche-Mibraye il s’occupe principalement d’épinettes’ (p. 36n).Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    C. Samoyault-Verlet, Les facteurs, p. 86Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ibid, pp. 92–4Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    One of the witnesses of this inventory was the lutenist René Mesangeau. It was customary for an experienced professional musician, frequently an organist or instrument maker, to be present at these valuations.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    C. Samoyault-Verlet, Les facteurs, pp. 95–6Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    See H. M. Brown, Instrumental Music, which lists Guillaume de Brayssingar, Tablature d’epinette (1536)2; Jacques Moderne, Musique dejoye, 154?6Google Scholar
  24. Simon Gorlier, Premier livre de tabulature d’espinette (1560)1. No copies of the Brayssingar or Gorlier publications are known to survive, while most of Musique de joye, published by the Lyons printer Jacques Moderne, is a reprint of Musica nova (Venice, 1540: see RISM 154022) to which Moderne added some French dances. In 1552 Guillaume de Morlaye obtained a privilege from Henri II to publish lute works by A. de Rippe ‘et autre tablature de Guyterne ou Espinette’ (see J.-M. Vaccaro in RIPPE, pp. XXVI–XXVII).Google Scholar
  25. 24.
    Philibert Jambe-de-Fer, in his Epitôme musical (Lyons, 1556), mentions ‘Luctz, Epinettes, Cornetz, Fleutes, Violes’ (p. 43) as instruments on which one may play as many divisions as one wishes, in contrast to the singer who must take care that the words are not obscured. In L’art d’embellir (Paris, 1608), David de Rivault advises singers that ‘La gorge du bon Musicien a les puissances de chaque corde d’une Espinette biẽ en point’ (p. 99). Charles de Lespine in the 1620s instructs lutenists ‘en touchant les cordes, et les faire résonner aussi nettement qui celles d’une épinette’ (see F. Lachèvre, Charles de Lespine, p. 17).Google Scholar
  26. 25.
    Documents, i–iii. These inventories must be used with some care. The two published volumes account for only 20 out of almost 200 études, representing a relatively small statistical sample of a city in which each quarter tended to have a particular occupational bias. The third volume, covering a further 15 études, has a noticeably higher proportion of spinets and no doubt subsequent ones would further adjust the general impression.Google Scholar
  27. Also it is not possible to base conclusions on the tables of total numbers of instruments provided by Jurgens in each volume. Lutes tended to belong to members of a higher stratum of society than other instruments, a fact reflected in the occupations of their owners and the valuations of the instruments, but also importantly by the fact that they were frequently collected in large numbers by connoisseurs. The vast preponderance of lutes in the decade 1620–29 (vol. i) reflects the taste of three collectors who between them account for 27 out of 35 lutes. A more accurate picture emerges from the following table which presents those households containing one or more keyboard instruments (K), one or more lutes (L) or both (B):Google Scholar
  28. 26.
    ‘L’espinette est un instrument fort fréquent et usité en ce temps tant en France qu’ailleurs’ (Traité, f.III).Google Scholar
  29. 27.
    Traité de l’accord de l’espinette, p. 9Google Scholar
  30. 28.
    See D. H. Boalch, Makers of the Harpsichord, art. ‘Claude Jacquet’, p. 78.Google Scholar
  31. 29.
    No attempt is made here to analyse in detail the construction of these instruments. It is intended only to establish whether they were of sufficient quality to sustain a professional repertoire.Google Scholar
  32. 30.
    f.189; for information about Cellier and his two manuscripts, see H. Jadart, Les dessins de Jacques Cellier.Google Scholar
  33. 31.
    F-RS ms 971, f. 34Google Scholar
  34. 32.
    This pavane is discussed in the first section of chapter III.Google Scholar
  35. 33.
    Traité, ed. F. Lesure, p. 230Google Scholar
  36. 34.
    Harmonie universelle, Livre troisiesme des instrumens à chordes, p. 106Google Scholar
  37. 35.
    Ibid, p. 108Google Scholar
  38. 36.
    Ibid, p. 107Google Scholar
  39. 37.
    Livre quatriesme des instrumens, p. 214Google Scholar
  40. 38.
    Details of the Jacquet instrument are given in F. Hubbard, Three Centuries of Harpsichord Making, p. 100. A photograph of the Denis spinet faces the title-page of the Da Capo Press reprint of Denis’ Traité.Google Scholar
  41. 39.
    ‘Une grande espinette couverte de cuir noir doublée et garnie par dedans de satin de Burgos, façons de plusieurs couleurs’ (F. Lesure, ‘La facture’, p. 3on)Google Scholar
  42. 40.
    J. Ecorcheville, Actes d’état civilGoogle Scholar
  43. 41.
    P. Raymond, Les artistes en Béarn, p. 179Google Scholar
  44. 42.
    F. Lesure, ‘La facture’, p. 13Google Scholar
  45. 43.
    P. Raymond, loc citGoogle Scholar
  46. 44.
    F. Lesure, op cit, pp. 25 and 30–31Google Scholar
  47. 45.
    Ibid, p. 30Google Scholar
  48. 46.
    A. N. Série Z1a.472. The musical establishment consisted of the lutenist Albert de Rippe and the organist Rogier Pashil (both valets de chambre). Otherwise there are two drummers, three fifres, two cornettists and a trumpeter, who clearly belong to the écurie (ff.10, 16 and 18v).Google Scholar
  49. 47.
    According to Jal (Dictionnaire, p. 538) he is designated in the register of St Médéric, at the baptism of a daughter, as ‘espinette du roy nostre Sire’.Google Scholar
  50. 48.
    A. N. Série KK 129. This is cited by Jal, who gives the date as 1599. François II reigned only from 1559 to 1560.Google Scholar
  51. 49.
    He appears as organist to Charles IX in 1572 (KK 134) and to Henri III in 1580 (F-Pn ms fonds Dupuy 127, f. 91 v). Jal (Dictionnaire, art. ‘Épinette’) mentions his brother Matthieu Duguay as a player of the spinet and lute around 1560, without giving a reference. If this is true, he would be one of a very few musicians known to have played both instruments. A ‘Mathurin Dugue’, who may be the same person, appears in the household accounts of Charles IX for 1572 (KK 134) without instrumental designation, but Matthieu Dugué describes himself as ‘épinettier’ (i.e. instrument maker) at the baptism of his son in 1555 (Y. de Brossard, Musiciens de Paris, p. 107).Google Scholar
  52. 50.
    A detailed biography of La Grotte by M. Rollin is in VAUMESNIL, pp. XXVI–XXVIIGoogle Scholar
  53. 51.
    The original text is cited by M. Rollin in VAUMESNIL, p. XXVII, n. 21.Google Scholar
  54. 52.
    A courante from Besard 1617 is edited in VAUMESNIL, pp. 121–3.Google Scholar
  55. 53.
    A-Wn MS Tabulaturbuch of Rudolf Lasso. A photograph of this fantasia, written in open score, is in MGG, art. ‘Fantasie’, Abb. 4, and it is edited in BONFILS XXIX–XXX, pp. 10–13. The Rore original was published by Phalèse in Musica divina di XIX autori illustri (Antwerp, 1583).Google Scholar
  56. 54.
    See M. Rollin in VAUMESNIL, p. XXVI.Google Scholar
  57. 55.
    F-Pn ms fonds Dupuy 127, f.32Google Scholar
  58. 56.
    F-Pn ms, f.25 (1575); and A. N. KK 139 (1584)Google Scholar
  59. 57.
    F-Pn ms fonds Dupuy 489, f. 13v)Google Scholar
  60. 58.
    See M. Reimann, ‘Champion’, MGG.Google Scholar
  61. 59.
    Harmonie universelle, Premiere preface generale au lecteur Google Scholar
  62. 60.
    Chambonnières appears to have been an organist of sorts, if we can believe Titon du Tillet’s statement that ‘Il touchoit assez bien l’Orgue’ (Le Parnasse françois, p. 402)Google Scholar
  63. 61.
    See E. Griselle, Supplément, p. 98Google Scholar
  64. 62.
    A. N. Z1a.472, f.250Google Scholar
  65. 63.
    [P. Recolet], Extrait, i, p. 28. This is the earliest printed état, and covers the year 1640. See also A. N. Z1a.473, f.42 (1643). Chambonnières must in any case have taken over by 1643, since his father died in the preceding year.Google Scholar
  66. 64.
    A. N. Z1a.473, f.110. M. Reimann, ‘Champion’, MGG, inaccurate in several repects, has him as ‘joueur d’épinette de la chambre du roi’ in 1638. It seems to have escaped notice that Chambonnières continues to be mentioned in états up to 1686, 14 years after his death (Z1a.474, 475 and 476).Google Scholar
  67. 65.
    Harmonie universelle, Preface generaleGoogle Scholar
  68. 66.
    F-Pn ms fonds Dupuy 127, f.91 vGoogle Scholar
  69. 67.
    In the état of 1584 (KK 139) they appear side by side specifically designated as ‘joueurs d’épinette’.Google Scholar
  70. 68.
    M. Jurgens, Documents, i, pp. 236–8Google Scholar
  71. 69.
    Ibid, ii, pp. 252–3Google Scholar
  72. 70.
    Y. de Brossard, Musiciens de Paris, 1624 and 1631Google Scholar
  73. 71.
    M. Jurgens, Documents, ii, p. 325Google Scholar
  74. 72.
    F-Pn ms Cinq cents de Colbert 93, f. 292Google Scholar
  75. 73.
    E. Griselle, État de la maison, p. 127Google Scholar
  76. 74.
    [P. Recolet], Extrait, pp. 101 and 131Google Scholar
  77. 75.
    A. N. Série KK 203Google Scholar
  78. 76.
    In 1603 Nicolas Mouache was a ‘maître joueur d’épinette’ (Jurgens, Documents, ii, p. 465). In 1609 Barthelemy Lepage engaged to give spinet and singing lessons (ibid, iii). In 1613 and again in 1626 he appears as ‘maître joueur d’épinette’ (Y. de Brossard, Musiciens de Paris, p. 188). François Legris was ‘maître joueur d’épinette’ in 1614 and again in 1623 (ibid, p. 182). In 1625 a certain Carré was ‘joueur d’épinette’ (Jurgens, op cit, ii, p. 465), as was Romain Poisle, who appears in 1631 and 1637 (Brossard, op cit, p. 243).Google Scholar
  79. 77.
    According to Jal (Dictionnaire, art. ‘Epinette’), Matthieu Dugué, brother of the organist and spinet player Jean Dugué, was ‘joueur de luth et d’épinette’; lute works by La Grotte,joueur d’épinette du roi, have already been mentioned (n. 52); the organist Louis Bourdin possessed a lute as well as several spinets at his death in 1643 (Jurgens, Documents, i, p. 693); Jean Denis evidently wrote lute as well as harpsichord pieces for Mme de Lorraine (Huygens letter of 1653, cited by A. Curtis in his introduction to the facsimile edition of Denis’ Traité, p. VII). For lutenists to have played the spinet seems much rarer, although Blancrocher possessed a spinet among a large collection of instruments, as one would expect with an aristocratic connoisseur (C. Massip, La vie des musiciens, p. 129), and according to La Borde (Essai sur la musique, iii, p. 516), Ninon de L’Enclos ‘donnait chez elle des concerts, où la plus brillante compagnie venait admirer ses talents pour le luth et le clavecin’. Anne de la Barre was another who played both instruments (see below, n. 151).Google Scholar
  80. 78.
    S. Wallon, ‘Les testaments d’Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre’Google Scholar
  81. 79.
    ‘… qu’elles jouassent de lucs, de guitternes, d’espinettes & autres instruments de musique jadis tant recommandés aux nobles et honorables esprits’ (A. J. V. Le Roux de Lincy, Vie d’Anne de Bretagne, ii, p. 93)Google Scholar
  82. 80.
    P. Jambe-de-Fer, Epitôme musical (1556), quoted by La Laurencie in ‘Les femmes et le luth’, p. 444Google Scholar
  83. 81.
    See J. Anthony, French Baroque Music, p. 233. Not so generally known is that this is not a description of a French lutenist, but a poetic evocation by Pontus de Tyard (Solitaire second, pp. 114–15) of a performance in Milan by Francesco da Milano. It reappears in various 17th-century writings on music, notably in Trichet’s Traité (ed. F. Lesure, p. 213) where its origin is acknowledged. Tyard also mentions harp and spinet accompanying the voice (p. 116).Google Scholar
  84. 82.
    ‘Il me souvient d’avoir veu en ma jeunesse tout le monde admirer et se ravir d’un homme qui touchoit le lut et assez mal pourtant… et maintenant j’en voy cent plus habilles gens que luy mille fois, que l’on ne daigne pas presque escouter’ (letter of 2 March 1622; Mersenne, Correspondance, i, p. 75). Mersenne had been enquiring about the various effects of the modes.Google Scholar
  85. 83.
    The king began taking lessons in 1612 from Robert Ballard (see J. Herouard, Journal, v, p. 109, cited by M. Rollin in R. BALLARD I, p. XII) and Cardinal Richelieu from Ennemond Gaultier (see A. Machabey, ‘La musique dans les Historiettes de Tallemant des Réaux’, p. 25).Google Scholar
  86. 84.
    The Life of Edward, First Lord Herbert of Cherbury, p. 49Google Scholar
  87. 85.
    L’honneste garçon Google Scholar
  88. 86.
    Les plaisirs des dames, p. 298Google Scholar
  89. 87.
    ‘Quant aux instrumens de Musique qui font le principal agreement du Concert, ie m’estonne qu’on les prenne pour des miracles, veu que ce ne sont pour la pluspart que des images d’une tortuë éventrée’ (ibid, p. 318).Google Scholar
  90. 88.
    Harmonie universelle, Traité des instrumens a chordes, p. 56Google Scholar
  91. 89.
    J. Herouard, Journal.Google Scholar
  92. 90.
    See N. Dufourcq, ‘En parcourant le Mercure françois 1605–1644’.Google Scholar
  93. 91.
    M. Jurgens, Documents, ii, pp. 443–4; similar spinet apprenticeships may be found in F. Lesure, ‘La facture’, pp. 25 and 30–31.Google Scholar
  94. 92.
    M. Jurgens, op cit, ii, p. 337 (1610). Two similar ones are in vol. iii for 1609 and 1632. Judging by other entries it was necessary for prospective actors to study an instrument, perhaps one of their choice. Others learned instruments apart from the spinet, such as the viol. It would not have been considered proper for a woman, albeit an actress, to play the viol. Mersenne, however, recommends the spinet to singers (Harmonie universelle, Livre premier de la voix, p. 46).Google Scholar
  95. 93.
    These figures are totals from Jurgens, Documents, i–iii.Google Scholar
  96. 94.
    Up to 64 livres tournois (Jurgens, op cit, ii, p. 898); a spinet was rarely worth more than 20lt.Google Scholar
  97. 95.
    The extreme of elaboration was reached in a ‘clavecin organisé’ ordered by the Duc de Ventadour from the organ builder Valleran de Hémon in 1618. The harpsichord part was to be ‘couvert de marroquin vert et doré avec les chiphres dudict sieur de Ventadour et sera doublé par le dedans de bon damas vert… les chevalletz seront dorés à toutes les moullures’. Its two registers were to make ‘l’ effet de l’espinette, du luth et de la harpe’ (ibid, pp. 730–33).Google Scholar
  98. 96.
    F. Lesure, ‘La facture’, p. 45Google Scholar
  99. 97.
    Thomas Champion appears in court records only among ‘joueurs d’instruments’; La Chapelle was from at least 1601 ‘valet de chambre ordinaire du roi’ (Jurgens, Documents, ii, p. 253), while Chambonnières appears in 1639 as ‘chevalier, sieur et baron de la Chapelle et de Chambonnières, gentilhomme ordinaire de la Chambre du roi’ (loc cit).Google Scholar
  100. 98.
    N. Dufourcq, ‘Deux quittances inédites’Google Scholar
  101. 99.
    C. Huygens, Correspondance, p. 36Google Scholar
  102. 100.
    M. Le Moël, ‘Recherches sur la musique du roi’, p. 105Google Scholar
  103. 101.
    ‘prenoit un plaisir singulier a les entendre toutes les semaines joüées par Hardelles luy même’ (Lettre, p. 73).Google Scholar
  104. 102.
    C. Huygens, Correspondance, pp. 26–7 (1656); and A. Curtis’s introduction to the Da Capo Press facsimile of J. Denis’ Traité, p. VIIGoogle Scholar
  105. 103.
    E. M. de Barthélemy, La galerie de portraits de Mlle de Montpensier, p. 114 (1658)Google Scholar
  106. 104.
    ‘La vie musicale en France’, p. 149Google Scholar
  107. 105.
    Mercure galant (Paris, 1672–7); and Y. de Brossard, ‘La vie musicale en France’Google Scholar
  108. 106.
    Lettres de Mlle de Montpensier, p. 9Google Scholar
  109. 107.
    G. Dumanoir, Le mariage, p. 67Google Scholar
  110. 108.
    F. Lesure, ‘Recherches sur les luthistes parisiens’, p. 223. This is possibly accounted for by the decline of the ballet, with its massed lutenists, as the principal court entertainment during and after the period of the Fronde, and also of the air de cour. Later references generally imply a refined solo use only.Google Scholar
  111. 109.
    F. Gaussen, ‘Actes d’état civil’, has Louis de Mollier (‘Joueur de luth du roi’, 1657), Robert Tournay (1661), and Toussaint Libret and François de la Belle (1662). Le Gallois (Lettre, 1680) has Dubut le fils, Mouton, Solera and Gallot among recent players (p. 62), while Du Pradel (Livre commode) still has Gallot, Jacquesson, Mouton and Dubut in 1691, although in the edition of 1692 the first two have disappeared.Google Scholar
  112. 110.
    T. Lavallée, Madame de Maintenon, p. 169 in. See A. Cohen, ‘A Study of Instrumental Ensemble Practice’, p. 9Google Scholar
  113. 112.
    Harmonie universelle, Traité des instrumens a chordes, p. 92; B. de Bacilly, L’art de bien chanter, pp. 17–18; and Delair, Traité d’accompagnement, among othersGoogle Scholar
  114. 113.
    S. de Brossard, Dictionnaire, art. ‘LEUTO’: French basso continuo instruments listed are: ‘L’Orgue, le Clavessin, L’Espinette, le Thèorbe, la Harpe’.Google Scholar
  115. 114.
    J. de Gallot, Pieces de luth (c1673), ‘Advertissement’; Ferrine 1 (1679) and Perrine 2 (1680).Google Scholar
  116. 115.
    Burwell, f. 69 and 69vGoogle Scholar
  117. 116.
    Idée des spectacles, pp. 273–4Google Scholar
  118. 117.
    La Fontaine, Oeuvres, ix, pp. 157–8Google Scholar
  119. 118.
    Raymon and Hilaire were singers; Lambert, Camus and Boisset writers of airs de cour; Gaultier, Hémon and Dubut lutenists; Chambonnières and La Barre harpsichordists (or possibly this is the singer Anne de la Barre). Alceste, Thésée and Cadmus are operas by Lully.Google Scholar
  120. 119.
    Mercure galant, ix, p. 82Google Scholar
  121. 120.
    Ibid (January 1687, pt 2), pp. 276 7Google Scholar
  122. 121.
    Comparaison, ii, p. 184Google Scholar
  123. 122.
    C. Massip, La vie des musiciens, p. 122Google Scholar
  124. 123.
    See the ‘Extrait de l’arrêt définitif de la Cour de parlement, prononcé en la grand’chambre le 7 mars 1695, en faveur des compositeurs de musique, organistes et professeurs de clavessin, Contre les jurés de la Communauté des maîtres à dancer et joueurs d’instruments tant hauts que bas et hautbois’ given as Appendix B of Gallay’s edition of G. Dumanoir, Le mariage, pp. 103–5.Google Scholar
  125. 124.
    P. Loubet de Sceaury, Musiciens et facteurs, pp. 104–5Google Scholar
  126. 125.
    Ibid, p. IIIGoogle Scholar
  127. 126.
    Ballets et mascarades Google Scholar
  128. 127.
    Ibid, ii, pp. 171–2Google Scholar
  129. 128.
    Ibid, v, pp. 62–4Google Scholar
  130. 129.
    Ibid, i, p. 59Google Scholar
  131. 130.
    Documents, i, pp. 314–417, and ii, pp. 354–425Google Scholar
  132. 131.
    P. Lacroix, Ballets et mascarades, ii, pp. 102–17Google Scholar
  133. 132.
    H. Sauvai, Histoire, ii, p. 493Google Scholar
  134. 133.
    P. Lacroix, Ballets et mascarades ii, pp. 102–17Google Scholar
  135. 134.
    ‘semble consacrée aux Temples, & [le clavecin] aux Cabinets, & l’un & l’autre ne sont ni assez portatifs ny assez aisez pour estre employez aux divertissements, & portez librement dans les lieux destinez aux Spectacles’ (Idée des spectacles, P. 275).Google Scholar
  136. 135.
    See J. Eppelsheim, Das Orchester in den Werken Jean-Baptiste Lullys, pp. 150–51.Google Scholar
  137. 136.
    S. Wallon, ‘La Barre’, MGGGoogle Scholar
  138. 137.
    La muze historique mentions flutes, harpsichords, guitars, theorboes, lutes and viols in the Ballet d’Alcidiane (Y. de Brossard, ‘La vie musicale’, p. 124) and a similar group for the Ballet du roy (Les continuateurs de Loret, ed. N. J. F. de Rothschild, ii, p. 445)Google Scholar
  139. 138.
    R. Lebègue, ‘Les représentations’, p. 87Google Scholar
  140. 139.
    E. Jodelle, Les oeuvres, i, p. 59Google Scholar
  141. 140.
    ‘Avant lui la Musique étoit une Devote qui ne connoissoit que les Eglises & où les voix répondoient aux orgues’ (H. Sauvai, Histoire, pp. 491–3). In spite of the late date of publication (1724), Sauvai assembled his material in the 1650s, and died in 1669 or 1670 (see A. Blunt’s introduction to the Gregg facsimile edition). Mersenne says that Mauduit’s concerts were composed of voices, lutes and ‘toutes sortes d’instruments harmoniques’, which would undoubtedly imply keyboards (Harmonie universelle, Livre septiesme des instrumens de percussion, p. 63).Google Scholar
  142. 141.
    J. de Goüy, Airs, preface (in Premiere partie. Dessus); see also M. Brenet, Les concerts, p. 55Google Scholar
  143. 142.
    F. de Bassompierre, Journal de ma vie, i, p. 224Google Scholar
  144. 143.
    The others are the violinist Lazarin (‘ordinaire de la musique du cabinet du roi’); Du Buisson (probably the lutenist, but possibly an organist of that name); the viol player Maugars; and Moulinié, who organised vocal concerts (Harmonie universelle, Livre cinquiesme de la composition, pp. 324–5).Google Scholar
  145. 144.
    See F. Lesure, ‘Chambonnières organisateur de concerts’.Google Scholar
  146. 145.
    ‘accademye instituée par le roy tous les mercredis et samedis de chacune sepmaine’ (Jurgens, Documents, i, pp. 139–40)Google Scholar
  147. 146.
    F. Lesure, ‘Chambonnières organisateur de concerts’, p. 142. Of nine musicians engaged for the 1641 academy the functions of only two are designated: Guillaume Courrier, ‘joueur de violles’ (he was also organist of St Nicolas-des-Champs), and a singer, Françoise Lefébure. The rest are ‘joueurs d’instruments’ or ‘musiciens’.Google Scholar
  148. 147.
    Y. de Brossard, ‘La vie musicale’, p. 153Google Scholar
  149. 148.
    H. Sauvai, Histoire, p. 492Google Scholar
  150. 149.
    They also included Constantin (violin), Vincent (possibly the lutenist who appeared with Louis Couperin in ballets in 1657 and 1661), Dom (singer) and Granoüillet (Intendant de la musique de Monsieur). The other group may have been a viol consort since it included two viol players—Hautement (Hotman) and Estier (sc. Léonard Ytier, lutenist and viol player; see M. Benoit, Musique de cour)—and also Bertaut (sc. Blaise Berthod, ordinaire de la chapelle; M. Benoit, op cit), Lazarin (see above, n. 143) and Henry (possibly a lutenist; see W. J. Rave, Some Manuscripts, p. 423. Other ‘joueurs d’instruments’ of this name appear in Y. de Brossard, ‘La vie musicale’).Google Scholar
  151. 150.
    ‘la manière incomparable dont il se sert à bien toucher l’Orgue, l’Espinette, & le Clavecin, que toute 1’ Europe a oüy tant vanter, & que tout l’univers seroit ravy d’entendre’ (J. de Goüy, Airs, preface).Google Scholar
  152. 151.
    F-Pm ms 2737, pp. 118–20. Extracts are given by C. Massip in La vie des musiciens, pp. 7–8. According to Mattheson, Mlle de la Barre when singing ‘spielte dabey ein nettes Clavier, und eine saubre laute’ (Grundlage, p. 74n).Google Scholar
  153. 152.
    ‘C’est veritablement une aggreable chanteuse, et accompagnée d’un jeusne garçon de frere dont la science en musique m’est encor plus chère que le beau chant de la soeur’ (C. Huygens, Correspondance, p. 20)Google Scholar
  154. 153.
    One of the few unambiguous references is by Le Gallois, who says that Louis XIV heard with pleasure weekly recitals given by Hardel ‘de concert avec le Lut de feu Porion’ (Lettre, p. 73). The music played evidently consisted of Hardel’s own harpsichord pieces. David Fuller in a note on this passage (‘French Harpsichord Playing’, p. 26, n. 16) mentions in general the many references to lute and harpsichord playing together. However, an extensive search in the literature has not yielded further unequivocal descriptions other than those given. Lute, theorbo and keyboards were universally used in accompanying groups in the 17th century under the heading of ‘les instruments harmoniques’, and no special conclusions can be drawn from this.Google Scholar
  155. 154.
    Albert Cohen places the cessation of Mauduit’s smaller concerts around 1610 (‘A Study of Instrumental Ensemble Practice’, p. 3).Google Scholar
  156. 155.
    According to Cohen (ibid, p. 11) the earliest known reference to a consort of unaccompanied viols is in Dumont’s Meslanges of 1657.Google Scholar
  157. 156.
    Harmonie universelle, Traité des instrumens a chordes, p. 16Google Scholar
  158. 157.
    ‘sonants ensemble suivent tellement toutes les sortes de temps & de mouvemens… que l’on iugeroit qu’il n’y a qu’un seul Luth ou un seul homme qui les touche tous ensemble: ce qui arrive semblablement aux concerts des sieurs Maugards, Lazarin, La barre, du Buisson, ou des autres, qui touchent les Violes & les Clavesins ensemble.’ (Harmonie universelle, Livre cinquiesme de la composition, pp. 324–5).Google Scholar
  159. 158.
    Harmonicorum libri XII: Liber primus de instruments harmonicis, p. 47: ‘Antequam illud aggrediar, iuvat nullum esse in Gallia quem cum Maugardo, atque Hotmano viris in hac arte peritissimis comparare queas, quippe qui tantis diminutionibus, & arcus tractibus adeo delicatis, & suavibus utuntur, nihil ut in Harmonia quod perfectè non exprimant, omittere videantur, praesertim cum alius simul Clavichordio cum illis canit’. E. Thoinan (Maugars, p. 17) translates this last term as ‘clavichorde’, but Mersenne (p. 9) gives the following glossary for keyboard instruments: manichorde—manichordium; épinette—Organum fidiculare; clavecin—clavichordium.Google Scholar
  160. 159.
    J. le Laboureur, Relation du voyage de la Royne de Pologne, et du retour de Madame la Mareschalle de Guébriant, ambassadrice extraordinaire (Paris, 1647), cited by A. Pirro in ‘Remarques de quelques voyageurs’, p. 329Google Scholar
  161. 160.
    Y. de Brassard, ‘La vie musicale’, p. 157Google Scholar
  162. 161.
    Ibid, passim Google Scholar
  163. 162.
    ‘Quant à l’usage de l’Epinette, elle a cela d’excellent qu’un seul homme fait toutes les parties d’un concert, ce qu’elle a de commun avec l’orgue & le luth: mais ses accords & ses tons approchent plus pres de la iuste proportion de l’harmonie qu’ils ne font sur le luth; et l’on fait plusieurs parties plus aysément sur l’Epinette, que sur le dit luth’ (Harmonie universelle, Livre troisiesme des instrumens à chordes, p. 107). This point was made by various writers up until A. Furetière, Dictionnaire (The Hague and Rotterdam, 1690), art. ‘Espinette’. Furetière drew most of his information about musical instruments from Mersenne.Google Scholar
  164. 163.
    Mersenne, op cit, Livre premier des instrumens, p. 16Google Scholar
  165. 164.
    ‘se mesle particulierement avec les Violes, qui ont le son de percussion & de resonnement comme l’Epinette’ (ibid, Livre troisiesme des instrumens à chordes, p. 107).Google Scholar
  166. 165.
    Traité, p. 13Google Scholar
  167. 166.
    ‘il ne se peut faire de Musique qu’il n’execute tout seul, ayant des Clavecins à deux Claviers, pour passer tous les Unissons; ce que le luth ne sçauroit faire: & les Orgues en ont quatre pour joüer toute sorte de musique’ (loc cit).Google Scholar
  168. 167.
    A. Curtis, introduction to the Da Capo Press facsimile edition, p. V, n.iGoogle Scholar
  169. 168.
    F. Hubbard, Three Centuries of Harpsichord Making, p. 123Google Scholar
  170. 169.
    See D’Anglebert’s ‘Quatuor sur le Kyrie a trois sujets tirés du plein chant’, Pieces de clavecin (Paris, 1689). D’Anglebert says in his preface: ‘Come cette piece est plus travaillée que les autres, elle ne peut bien faire son effet que sur un grand Orgue, et même sur quatre Claviers differens, j’entens trois Claviers pour les mains et le Clavier des pedales, avec des jeux d’égale force et de differente harmonie, pour faire distinguer les entrées des parties’.Google Scholar
  171. 170.
    Du Caurroy and C. Guillet, Vingt-quatre Fantaisies à quatre parties disposées selon l’ordre des douze modes.Google Scholar
  172. 171.
    ‘ainsi que l’usage l’a voulu, et les plus grands maistres de la profession l’ont estimé nécessaire.’Google Scholar
  173. 172.
    N. Dufourcq suggests in his introduction to J. Bonfils’ edition of Du Caurroy (Paris: Schola Cantorum, n.d.) that F-Psg ms 3169 (described in the Garros and Wallon catalogue as ‘1er tiers du XVIIe s.’) is such a scoring, and Bonfils used it as the basis for his edition. But as B. Pidoux points out in the introduction to his own edition, Les Oeuvres Complètes d’Eustache du Caurroy, i: Fantaisies à 3–6 parties (Brooklyn, 1975), the manuscript is in fact dated 1753. Pidoux considers it more likely to have been made for study than for keyboard performance, since the player would have to turn a page every eight bars (of Pidoux’ barring). A further possible reason for printing polyphonic keyboard music in open score is the difficulty of setting it up clearly in keyboard score with movable type.Google Scholar
  174. 173.
    ‘Mais ceux qui possedent un peu le Clavier sçauront qu’il ne leur sera pas si difficile, qu’ils se l’imaginent, d’acquerir l’habitude & la facilité de ioüer sur la partition, & il y en a dans Paris, qui peuvent rendre tesmoignage de cette verité par leur propre experience.’Google Scholar
  175. 174.
    ‘Vous trouverez mes pieces (hormis les Gigues et les Sarabandes) limitées à 12 mesures. J’en ay usé de mesmes en tout ce que j’ay produit sur l’espinette et pour les Concerts de Violes de Gambe’ (Correspondance, p. 29).Google Scholar
  176. 175.
    B. Gustafson, French Harpsichord Music, p. 104Google Scholar
  177. 176.
    Bauyn III, nos. 35–8 (see chapter II, n. 37)Google Scholar
  178. 177.
    ‘Au lecteur’Google Scholar
  179. 178.
    (Paris, 1682), pp. 16–19Google Scholar
  180. 179.
    See above, n. 96.Google Scholar
  181. 180.
    M. Jurgens, Documents, i, p. 690Google Scholar
  182. 181.
    Mersenne, Correspondance, i, p. 75Google Scholar
  183. 182.
    Mémoires de Michel de Marolles, p. 207Google Scholar
  184. 183.
    Such as Pierre Richard in 1600 (see above, p. 000). Jean Le Faulcheur contracted to give spinet lessons in 1618 and again in 1632 (M. Jurgens, Documents, i, p. 465, and iii). He appears in 1624 as ‘joueur d’épinette et organiste’ (ibid, i, p. 332). Étienne Richard, organist of St Jacques-de-la-Boucherie, was engaged to teach the future Louis XIV (see above, p. 10). The Arrêt définitif of 1695 (see above, n. 123) mentions the following as teachers of the harpsichord: Nicolas Gigault, Marin de la Guerre and Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers, as well as Nicolas Lebègue and François Couperin.Google Scholar
  185. 184.
    See H. M. Brown, Instrumental Music, 15315.Google Scholar
  186. 185.
    Such are the various pieces in Cellier’s manuscripts, the La Barre incipits given by Mersenne (Harmonie universelle, Livre sixiesme des orgues, pp. 391 and 394–5) and Dumont’s publications of 1652, 1657 and 1668.Google Scholar
  187. 186.
    p. 12. (Page numbers refer to the edition of 1650 as reprinted by the Da Capo Press. The text as far as p. 20 is identical in both editions; see A. Curtis’s introduction to the facsimile.)Google Scholar
  188. 187.
    p. 9 and p. 13. That polyphonic vocal music formed part of the repertoire at least of the organ is attested by Mersenne’s flattering dedication in Les préludes de l’Harmonie universelle (1634: Epistre à M. de Bourges, conseiller du roy, etc): ‘Ie vous offre cependants les Preludes de la science … & de conclurre, affin que son harmonie se ioigne à celle de vostre esprit, & vous fasse ressouvenir de la Vocale, dans laquelle vous reussissez si heureusement que les Organistes font gloire de ioüer, et de faire entendre vos compositions sur leurs orgues quand il vous plaist de les leur donner’.Google Scholar
  189. 188.
    J. Denis, Traité, pp. 18–20; p. 19; pp. 37–9; and pp. 25–36Google Scholar
  190. 189.
    Ibid, pp. 37–8. This organ repertoire of contrapuntal fantasia, ‘recherche’ and liturgical verset is precisely that which survives from the period before 1650; see N. Dufourcq, Le livre de l’orgue français, iv, p. 31.Google Scholar
  191. 190.
    Virtually all Mersenne’s writings, printed and manuscript, have been examined for the light they might cast on keyboard style. Apart from those in the Harmonie universelle, his discussions of keyboard instruments are limited to various curiosities of construction such as the jeu de violes (Correspondance, ix, pp. 42f ), enharmonic keyboards (Cogitata physico-mathematica, p. 329) and choirs of different metals (Reflectiones physico-mathematicae, pp. 165–6). These preoccupations recur throughout his musical writings, including the Harmonie universelle.Google Scholar
  192. 191.
    ‘Chanson composée par le Roy, & mise en tablature par le Sieur de la Barre, Epinette et Organiste du Roy & de la Reyne’, Livre sixiesme des orgues, pp. 391 and 394–5. The situation regarding keyboard examples in the Harmonie universelle is confused by the fact that Mersenne’s printer, Cramoisy, was not equipped with musical type (see F. Lesure’s introduction to the CNRS facsimile reprint). He was unable to include the long organ fantasia by Racquet in the Sixiesme livre des orgues and transferred the shorter La Barre piece (in truncated form) to its place to serve as an example for both organ and spinet. He explains that this is the ‘Musique à 4’ promised for Proposition XXIII of the Livre troisiesme des instrumens à chordes in the preface to the Traité des instrumens à chordes. However, the situation is further complicated by the fact that he also promises a piece with particular ornament signs in Propostion XXII of the Livre troisiesme (p. 162: ‘les tremblemens, qui se font en descendant, se marquent par cette virgule, et ceux qui se font en montant par cette autre, qui ressemble à la lettre c.’). Since there is no trace of these signs in either the chanson or the Racquet fantasia (the manuscipt of which is reproduced between pp. 392–3 of the CNRS’s facsimile), it is possible that he may have intended to include a third piece. He exonerated himself by promising a tutor by Racquet ‘dans lequel il distingera ce que la musique des voix a de particulier, & de plus ou de moins que celle des Orgues; ce qui est meilleur sur l’orgue que sur le Clavecin: ce qui reüssit mieux sur ceux-cy que sur le Luth, & c’ (Livre sixiesme des orgues, p. 392), and works by Titelouze and others ‘qui touchent parfaitement l’Orgue & l’Epinette’ to be published by Ballard (loc cit). None of these works, except those by Titelouze for organ, are known to have been published.Google Scholar
  193. 192.
    For an annotated translation of most of the section on keyboard music, see D. Fuller, ‘French Harpsichord Playing’.Google Scholar
  194. 193.
    J. Le Gallois, Lettre, p. 79Google Scholar
  195. 194.
    It is difficult to find examples of this style in the surviving corpus of clavecin music, apart from a few doubles such as Louis Couperin’s for Chambonnières’ Allemande ‘Le Moutier’. Le Gallois was writing before the Italian fashion began to affect French music. Manifestations of that fashion in keyboard music are described by François Couperin in L’art de toucher le clavecin.Google Scholar
  196. 195.
    J. Le Gallois, Lettre, pp. 75–6Google Scholar
  197. 196.
    Ibid, pp. 77–8Google Scholar
  198. 197.
    Harmonie universelle, Troisiesme livre des instrumens à chordes, p. 162Google Scholar
  199. 198.
  200. 199.
    Ibid, Propositions XXII and XXIIIGoogle Scholar
  201. 200.
    Ibid, pp. 161–2Google Scholar
  202. 201.
    ‘la [main] gauche touche deux ou trois bons accords, lors que la droite fait des diminutions & des passages, & au contraire’.Google Scholar
  203. 202.
    J. Rousseau, Traité de la violeGoogle Scholar
  204. 203.
    Ibid, p. 23. Maugars may have learned this technique in England, where he stayed from 1620 to 1624. The English techniques of playing divisions over just such a ground bass, as exemplified in the works of William Lawes, were codified in Christopher Simpson’s The Division-violist (London, 1659).Google Scholar
  205. 204.
    Harmonie universelle, Premiere preface generale au lecteur (n.p.)Google Scholar
  206. 205.
    J. Le Gallois, Lettre, pp. 69–70Google Scholar
  207. 206.
    Ibid, p. 82Google Scholar
  208. 207.
    See Preface.Google Scholar
  209. 208.
    ‘Nous proposons donc d’interpréter la musique des luthistes et celle des clavecinistes du milieu du XVIIe siècle français comme deux modes d’expression d’un même langage et d’une même esthétique, dont le second comporte une certaine nuance d’abstraction, par suite de son absence de relief (J. Jacquot, ‘Luth et clavecin français’, pp. 137–8).Google Scholar
  210. 209.
    Mersenne, Correspondance, viii, p. 20 (letter of 7 August 1658)Google Scholar
  211. 210.
    Livre premier des instrumens, p. 12Google Scholar
  212. 211.
    A. Gantez, L’entretien des musiciens, pp. 110–11Google Scholar
  213. 212.
    Harmonie universelle, Livre second des instrumens, pp. 76–82Google Scholar
  214. 213.
    Historisch-theoretisch und practische Untersuchung des Instruments der Lauten, p. 126Google Scholar
  215. 214.
    ‘dont les uns l’allongent, & le continuent, les autres le changent’ (Harmonie universelle, Livre premier des instrumens, p. 12).Google Scholar
  216. 215.
    Ibid, Livre second des chants, p. 172Google Scholar
  217. 216.
    Ibid, Embellissement des chants, p. 355Google Scholar
  218. 217.
    Ibid, Livre troisiesme des instrumens à chordes, p. 162Google Scholar
  219. 218.
    ‘tremblemens, qui enrichissent la maniere de ioüer, & y apportent des charmes qu’il est difficile de s’imaginer si l’on ne les a entendus: neantmoins l’on s’en peut figurer une bonne partie par le discours que i’ay fait des tremblemens du Luth’ (Livre troisiesme des instrumens à chordes, p. 163).Google Scholar
  220. 219.
    Ibid, p. 162Google Scholar
  221. 220.
    In some lute ornaments, such as trills, repercussions were plucked with the left hand so that, as Mersenne says, the sound continued.Google Scholar
  222. 221.
    (Paris, 1724), table of ornamentsGoogle Scholar
  223. 222.
    M. de Saint-Lambert, Les principes du clavecin, p. 49Google Scholar
  224. 223.
    J.-H. D’Anglebert, Pieces de clavecin (Paris, 1689), p. 127;Google Scholar
  225. D. Delair, Traité d’accompagnement (Paris, 1690)Google Scholar
  226. 224.
    Harmonie universelle, Troisiesme livre des instrumens à chordes, p. 162Google Scholar
  227. 225.
    J. Le Gallois, Lettre, p. 85Google Scholar
  228. 226.
    Ibid, p. 69Google Scholar
  229. 227.
    Harmonie universelle, Livre troisiesme des instrumens à chordes, pp. 164–5Google Scholar
  230. 228.
    ‘La maniere particuliere de joüer toutes sortes de pieces de Lut ne consiste que dans l’harpegemt. ou Separation des parties’ (Perrine 2, Advertissement, p. 5).Google Scholar
  231. 229.
    Harmonie universelle, Traité des instrumens à chordes, Preface au lecteurGoogle Scholar
  232. 230.
    ‘on trouvera aucune difficulté à les joüer dans leur derniere perfection tant sur le Lut que sur le Clavessin’ (Perrine 2, Advertissement, p. 4).Google Scholar
  233. 231.
    Perrine I, preface, p. 3Google Scholar
  234. 232.
    S. de Brossard, ‘Catalogue des livres’, p. 242Google Scholar
  235. 233.
    Huygens, for example, writing in 1675, speaks of ‘une Gigue de feu grand Frobergher, que j’ay transportée sur le Luth’ (Correspondance, p. 69), and an arrangement by Robert de Visée of François Couperin’s Rondeau ‘Les silvains’ is in the Saizenay lute manuscript of the 1690s. A lute arrangement of Chambonnières’ Courante ‘Iris’ is discussed in chapter II.Google Scholar
  236. 234.
    Mercure galant (March 1687), pp. 236–9. The lutenist Charles Mouton evidently published a book of Pièces pour le clavecin, signées des notes de tabulature in 1679, now lost (see K. Sparr, ‘French Lutenists and French Lute Music in Sweden’, pp. 65–6).Google Scholar
  237. 235.
    L’art de toucher le clavecin, p. 36. Couperin’s exact terms are ‘les parties lutées, et sincopées qui conviennent au clavecin’. Apart from various ‘luthé et lié’ pieces by Couperin, there is a Courante luthée in the D minor Suite of Le Roux’ publication of 1705. Later the term seems to have fallen into disuse and the idea to have been expressed by analogy. The first suite of Dandrieu’s 1728 book, for example, contains a character piece entitled La lyre d’Orphée—lyre being a common 17th-century parallel for lute. More specific is the Allemande ‘La sincopée’ from the first ordre of D’Agincourt’s 1733 book.Google Scholar
  238. 236.
    ‘Histoire de la musique’, pp. 286–7Google Scholar
  239. 237.
    Traité, f. 114Google Scholar
  240. 238.
    See for example the inventory of Jean Jacquet’s workshop, made in 1632 (C. Samoyault-Verlet, Les facteurs, pp. 92–4).Google Scholar
  241. 239.
    J. Denis, Traité, p. 13; letter to C. Huygens of 1648 (Huygens, Correspondance, p. 149)Google Scholar
  242. 240.
    See F. Hubbard, Three Centuries of Harpsichord Making, p. 85; and R. Russell, The Harpsichord and Clavichord, p. 53.Google Scholar
  243. 241.
    C. Huygens, Correspondance, pp. 24–5Google Scholar

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© David Ledbetter 1987

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