Bart Naessens: Claviorganum, a Curiosity?

Claviorganum, a Curiosity? A Quest into the History and the Influence of the Claviorganum on Musical Praxis

Bart Naessens

Already in the early years of the development of keyboard-instruments, the claviorganum (a combination of a harpsichord and an organ, played from the same keyboard) plays an important role. It is amazing however to note that nowadays the instrument is hardly used or being heard. After all it offers an interesting alternative for the (sometimes) established obligatory choices between either harpsichord or organ as continuo- and/or soloinstrument. Both instruments can be used at the same time, but in that case two players are necessary. This research will examine to what extent the claviorganum was/is a (a-)typical instrument.

First of all, the research will compile a complete listing of the remaining historical instruments. Then follows a comprehensive and thorough investigation into the actuel impact on the music and historical performance practice of specific keyboard and continuo-repertory. First we will look at what historical sources can be found, on the other hand we will demonstrate (while performing) what the role of the claviorganum could be and to what extent we can or should adjust our musical esthetics. Finally – and perhaps this is the main drive for this project - this research wants to make a contribution to revive the existence of the claviorganum and to promote all kinds of initiatives that give this (wrongly) unknown instrument a renewed future.

Supervisor: Joris Verdin
Co-Supervisor: Carl Van Eyndhoven
Duration: 2011-15

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