Harpsichord Musicales to be held April 11 and 12 at Mount Union College

May 25, 2010

The Mount Union College Preparatory Division will hold musicales on Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12 at 7 p.m. in Presser Recital Hall, located within Cope Music Hall on the corner of Vincent Blvd. and Union Ave.

The students participating in the event are from the community and surrounding area and enrolled in the Preparatory Division program. They are students of Kay Johnson, director of the preparatory division; Michelle Miller, lecturer and private music instructor of piano; Jessica Weber,  private music instructor of voice and Bohdan Subchak, private music instructor of violin.

In an effort to impart a sense of the musical and social past during the 1600s and 1700s, the students have been instructed in the attire and etiquette of the Baroque Era and are prepared to greet the audience with curtsies and bows.  The reception will also include foods from the era.

People in the Baroque era gathered in parlors to sing and play musical instruments together.  It was a small sound for a closely-gathered group.   When performing on the harpsichord, one was expected to have the music of the composer on the music stand.  To perform without the composer’s music would have been considered rude.

Harpsichords were first produced in the 1500s and were still popular in the 1700s.  The number of keys varies from instrument to instrument. The small harpsichord at Mount Union, built by the late Dr. Earl Russell , has 51 keys. The strings of the harpsichord are plucked to make a sound, unlike the strings of a piano which are struck by felt hammers. The harpsichord also has no pedals, so the sounds produced are dependent upon the technique of the performer.  

Many of the students are now able to tune the small harpsichord and have taken time to learn about the famous Baroque composers. Works by J.S. Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, William Duncombe, Jean-Francois Dandrieu, Georg Philipp Telemann, Johann Krieger, Francois Couperin, Jean-Joseph Mouret, Jeremiah Clark, Louis Claude Daquin, Domenico Scarlatti, Johann Pachelbel, Christoph Graupner, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach,and Henry Purcell will be performed by the students in period attire.

This event is free and open to the public.  For more information, contact the Mount Union Department of Music at (330) 823-2180.

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