Sunday, October 4, 2009

Diane Hubbard Obituary

I just read the obituary of Diane Hubbard, widow of harpsichord builder Frank Hubbard. She died the afternoon of September 22 of this year, from cancer. She was 71.

She sounds like she was a fascinating woman. Very business savvy (a lot more than her husband), running the business for 25 years after her husband died, and gaining the respect of those she worked with. Apparently she was very proper in public, and I liked the description of her in Peru, observing Machu Picchu wearing a hair scarf and white gloves.

At the time of taking the helm of their business, there weren't many really any women in a similar position; all the women involved were musicians (not a bad thing).

Has much changed since the 70s?  In my experience, there still aren't many women builders, though there are now more technicians and those on the business side of things.  But it's still a fraction of the number of men in the same position. I would like to see more women builders, frankly.  I'll have to do some more research, frankly, before I can talk a little more in depth on this subject.  But I'm glad the subject has presented itself to me.

RIP, Diane Hubbard.

Photo (c)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Replacing Harpsichord Strings

Woo-ee, replacing harpsichord strings is probably one of my least favorite things to do on the instrument.  The sound of a breaking string strikes fear in my heart and jarrs the ears.  In fact, I heard the sound of a breaking string on a video today and it almost gave me a heart attack.

On the harpsichord list, there has been a discussion about old style pins vs. zither pins.  I am very much a fan of old style pins and find them easier to deal with when it comes to replacing strings.  Oh, I can handle both, but I feel clumsier with zither pins (which used to be ubiquitous, but are not so much these days).  I am comfortable with old style pins that have holes or not, thanks to quality instruction early on.  I do remember the first time I tried to change a string (before I was taught how) and it was a nightmare - horrible!  Glad I was finally taught how to do it right.

Are you curious how to change a string on an old style pin?  Well, here is an instructional video to assist you in learning how!  YouTube user hpschdnu (AKA Carey Beebe from Australia) has posted a number of instructional videos on the elements of harpsichord upkeep.  Very helpful!  Many thanks.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'm Back

I've decided to re-ignite this blog.

Since I posted last... I took some time off, got a regular job, and am going to return to playing the harpsichord this fall/winter.  It has been an interesting and illuminating time away from the instrument.  I hope to share some of what I've learned, here.

Meanwhile, my harpsichord is sitting on its side in the back bedroom.  It may stay there for another month, we'll see.

I've left up any musically-relevant posts, so a lot of what you are seeing is quite old.  It's fun to look back, though.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006


The current issue of Harpsichord & Fortepiano magazine contains a review I wrote for them, on pages 53-54, of two lovely discs of Scarlatti Sonatas. It is nice to see my writing in print on paper! Sadly, the issue is not available online. But if you have received it, check it out!

Friday, December 1, 2006

Auracle Internet Jam

Got an email about this today. I am intrigued.


Max Neuhaus has long been a pioneer of network sound art, and he has now created Auracle, one of the largest, most impressive examples of it.

The Art Gallery of Knoxville is presentng an exhibition of Neuhaus' works, and this evening's opening recepton will include an Auracle internet jam.

What is Auracle? Neuhaus explains: "Auracle is a networked sound instrument, controlled by the voice. It is played and heard over the internet. Anyone can use it by simply launching it in their web browser ... "

Exhibition of works by Max Neuhaus
Opening Party and Auracle Internet Jam: Friday, December 1, 6-11pm
Join online at
Friday, December 1 - Saturday, December 23
The Art Gallery of Knoxville, 317 N Gay Street, Knoxville, TN