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A Harpsichord for Travelling - The Clavecin brisé

The harpsichord at the court of Friedrich II, which was available for travelling, is a real rarity of the Musikinstrumenten-Museum. It was made between 1700 and 1704 in Paris; the inventor of this travel harpsichord (clavecin brisé) was French Jean Marius. The clavecin brisé from the museum’s collection was used by the duchess of Orléans on her journeys and then given to Queen Sophie Charlotte of Prussia. It is signed with the brand stamps EXCLUSIF PRIVILEGE DU ROY and MARIUS.

The instrument consists of three parts which can be folded (once the keyboard is inserted) in such a manner that the result is an oblong case. In this way the harpsichord was securely stored and easy to transport. At the left side of the bass part a tuning device is attached with which a Baroque temperament could be applied.
The clavecin brisé is the only instrument which came from the Preußische Kunstkammer to the Musikinstrumenten-Museum and has been preserved to this day.


Clavecin Brisé, Kat.-Nr. 288 (Flash)