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Atelier Marc Ducornet plaque 14K gif

Marc Ducornet Instruments

It is no coincidence that our instruments are known throughout the world. Anyone, of course, can buy a drawing of an antique harpsichord, make a set of parts for it, glue them together, add a keyboard, strings and jacks and ultimately produce the sound of a plucked string. This in itself is perhaps a miracle: The instrument speaks. But there is more than that to being a builder—one must be familiar with the different materials used and their various properties, have an intimate knowledge of the different sounds and characteristics of the instruments of bygone eras, and know when to depart slightly from drawings in order to get desired results. The builder therefore has to be able to create the most perfect instruments—ones that sing—for the music that impassions us, and which varies so much by period and nation.

In our catalog you will find instruments with the designations ‘after’, meaning that they are based as closely as possible on the originals, or ‘School’, meaning that they are designed by us but fall within an aesthetic and stylistic framework defined by a master of the period. The desire to base our instruments on antiques indicates not passive dependence but rather a commitment to the continuation of a great tradition. At the same time, we have created prototypes of harpsichords with composite materials for the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique.

Our instruments have been around for many years. As a way of reducing delivery time, the wood, which is dried for a long period, is cut in advance, so the soundboards and case parts lay in waiting. When you order a harpsichord, therefore, its parts have already been in preparation for a long time. But your instrument is really not conceived until the day that you order it; then it will be carefully tailored into a specific model and bear one name—yours.

Once your instrument’s principal characteristics have been determined you will have time to ponder various details, and discuss the type of ornamentation you would like with our painter.

In its last stage of production every instrument passes through my hands for final regulation and thorough inspection, so that I can be assured that it is truly impeccably finished in every detail.

Of course, the instrument that we deliver to you will continue to mature under your fingers. But together we will follow its development from its first to last notes until it reaches the full maturity of its predecessors, all the while immeasurably enriching your life.

 Marc Ducornet, September 2009

The following instruments are only produced upon request:

French School

1 French Double-Manual Harpsichord, Hemsch School, 61 notes.

Hemsch French Double 36K jpeg

Hemsch school harpsichord, with various options


Hemsch soundboard 21K jpeg

Hemsch school soundboard decoration,
P. Sibieude 1992


2 French Double-Manual Harpsichord after N. Blanchet, Paris 1765 (Hamamatsu, Japan — ex Rosenbaum Collection, USA).

3 a/b 17th-Century French Single- or Double-Manual Harpsichords, School of Vaudry, Denis et al.

17th century French Single Harpsichord after Denis 40K jpeg

17th century French Single Harpsichord, School of Denis

German School

4 German Double-Manual Harpsichord, North German School, 61 notes.

German Double Harpsichord after Zell 25K jpeg

German Double Harpsichord after Zell


5 German Single-Manual Harpsichord after C. Vater, Hanover 1738 (Nuremberg Collection, Germany).

Flemish School

6 a/b Flemish Single- or Double-Manual Harpsichord, Ruckers School, 56+1 notes.

Colmar Flemish Double Harpsichord keyboards 41K jpeg

Ruckers School, Double-Manual keyboards

7 Flemish Double-Manual Harpsichord after J. Ruckers, Antwerp 1624 (Musée Unterlinden, Colmar, France).

8 Flemish Single-Manual Harpsichord after A. Ruckers, Antwerp 1640 (Yale Collection, New Haven, USA).

Franco-Flemish School

9 Double-Manual Harpsichord after A. Ruckers, Antwerp 1646, rebuilt by Taskin (Musée de la Cité de la Musique, Paris).

Ruckers/Taskin French Double Harpsichord 38K jpeg



Italian School

10 Italian Harpsichord after Carlo Grimaldi, Messina 1697 (Nuremberg, Germany).

Italian Harpsichord after Carlo Grimaldi 20K jpeg

Italian Harpsichord after Carlo Grimaldi


11 Italian Harpsichord, Grimaldi School, 56+1 notes, several versions.

12 17th-century Italian Harpsichord, various models and ranges.

Spinets, Virginals, Muselars

13 Spinet after J.H. Silbermann, Strasbourg 1767 (Nuremberg, Germany).

Silbermann Spinet 27K jpeg

Spinet after Silbermann


14 Flemish Virginal or Muselaar, Ruckers School

Muselaar 47K jpeg



15 a/b Bentside Spinets and Italian Virginals.


16 Unfretted Clavichord, North German School, 5 octaves.

Large Clavichord 32K jpeg

Large Clavichord


17 Fretted Clavichord after C.G. Hubert, Ansbach 1784 (private collection).

Hubert Clavichord 32K jpeg

Clavichord after Hubert



18 Fortepiano, Stein School, 61 notes, FF–f'''.

19 Fortepiano, Walter School, 63 notes, FF–g'''.


For more information, please contact us.

©2010 Atelier Marc Ducornet