Italian Harpsichords
Cembalino, Italian Virginal
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T. Haluščák's Instruments
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Vít Bébar
Vít Bébar
Dolní Kroupná 468
Tel 608 718 504


Many harpsichords yearn for an instrument that sounds nice and - at the same time - has small dimensions and weight. It should be on top reliable and affordable, whether a student or a music school wants a basic instrument or a professional musician needs a second one for continuo playing. Till now I have offered an Italian virginal due to its beatiful sound. However, these nice subtle instruments are quite unstable and require more regulating, than a common user would expect. Furthemore, there are not easy to play on, becouse of short keylevers etc.

Now, I decided to talk my customers out of buying virginals (unless they are experienced in voicing) and offer a small, stable Italian harpsichord instead - the Cembalino.

Italian virginal's sound quality was definitely what I wanted to achieve. That's why I put both nut and bridge on live soundboard and the plucking point placed according to the virginal's design. There is a possibility to have a cembalino with a standard wrestplank, too. The whole thing is only 162cm (150cm with a sliding keyboard) long and therefore there is very difficult to get a decent bass. This problem is solved using sophisticated soundboard design comprising bridge placing, sounboard thickness and ribs.

The instrument is much easier to play with better repetition due to longer keylevers and more favourable plucking points in the bass region.

To make the Cembalino even more compact it is possible to order an instrument equipped with a sliding keyboard mechanism, saving another 11 cm.

Although I didn't copy a current instrument, Cembalino adopts typical Italian attributes. It is a perfect choice for continuo purposes, above all when accompanying singers and flutes.

The Cembalino has no lid, but there is a solid board in the cover sewn in to protect the instrument.

Applicable woods are: padauk, cedar, maple, American walnut. Instruments on pictures are made from padauk with a maple intarsia. Treated with oil and wax.

Keyboard: boxwood, ovangol/ebony or massaranduba with boxwood inserts.

Dimensions: 162 x 72 x 17 cm (CC-c3) or 174 x 79 x 17 cm (AA-e3).

Registers: 8' or 2x8' in brass. Compass: CC - c3 or AA - e3.