Claviorganum - Pedals


The instrument given to Philip III of Spain mentioned briefly above is one of very few surviving claviorgans known to have had pedals. Another earlier instrument from Linz, Austria is also described as having a pedalboard which couples to the keyboard. Little information is available as yet on either instrument, so this leads one to speculate how the pedals would have operated.

With other harpsichord/clavichord type instruments, there are two normal ways of adding pedals; either with pedal pull-downs (usually only in the bass), or with a separate instrument, with a separate soundboard, below the main keyboard. In the latter case the pedal-instruments allowed for a much greater compass than with pull-downs.

However, with an organ chest to account for as well as the harpsichord or clavichord, may also be possible that the organ was operated from the pedal board, leaving the harpsichord/clavichord completely separate, although still allowing the two to be coupled together when desired. This would be similar to having one of the keyboards of a virginal claviorgan completely separate.

This style of instrument is seen in a lid painting of a virginal from 1619, which depicts a claviorgan as part of an ensemble. The continuo player has his right hand on the virginal keyboard and his left playing the organ.

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