I have just spent the evening excavating moth from my little clavichord. Nasty little things have been guzzling felt. There it’s a great deal of felt in tiny intricate crevasses and (2 “bushes” for each of the 51 notes) and then ribbons of green, white and red in varying thicknesses. Yum.
What to do? Ha.. as luck would have it, I have a spare toothbrush and just 1 little pipe-cleaner.
I think I got to them just in time. It is not unusual to find little piles of grit in the bottom of the case work, and where there used to be carefully glued tiny patches of wool, bald wood. A nightmare!
It all started because I thought my piano pupils would like to flit gently over the black white notes and the white black notes for a change. Did you know that you can bend the pitch on a clavichord and create hysterical vibrato too?
It needs a very agile and delicate touch… Way beyond me, but if I really need to, I can twinkle away with Bach in the small hours without disturbing the neighbours…. (There is a very very new neighbour nearby who I specially don’t want to disturb.)
When I rebuilt a forte piano 30 something years ago there were banks of tiny leather hinges… 4 Per note if I remember. And 77 notes. The clavichord only has 51 notes and the action has little brass jacks/hammers that have no escape mechanism, so it’s all very simple.
I spent 2 and a half thousand hours in my humble Leicester bedsit with scalpel and glue happily making hinges and sticking them onto and lining up the hammers which had been in a jumble of boxes with their new strings.
It kept me out of trouble.
I am now the proud owner of a little Hummelchen or “Dudey”.
Moths. Keep off!
Some pics of the innards of my clavichord, and first to be a clever clogs and offer an accurate description of the Dudey will be rewarded with a photo!
Keys 50 & 51
The finished full row.
The empty key “bed” waiting for a good spray of moth repellent before all the moving parts return.
Why would I want to be washing up when I could have my nose in a keyboard?
I should get on and check the coat that is also a sad victim.. it is in isolation to make sure the piano doesn’t succumb.