[Dixielandjazz] Artie Shaw and the harpsichord

Anton Crouch anton.crouch at optusnet.com.au
Fri Dec 31 17:27:38 PST 2004

Hello all

Now that we've gone through the cycle from hagiography to revisionism, it's
time for some curiosity.

Like most DJMLers, I'm delighted by the Gramercy 5 recordings of 1940 and
am taken by the use of the harpsichord. I've read that Johnny Guarnieri's
instrument was a single keyboard model (presumably without pedal-board).

The question: is the instrument a true harpsichord, with plucked strings;
or a modified piano, with struck strings?

I ask the question because the quality of modern transfers from the 78s is
so good that it allows us to hear things that formerly went un-noticed.

There is also the complication of different ambient acoustics - the sound
of the 5 December instrument is less harpsichord-like than that of 3

Dick Broadie, any thoughts?

All the best

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