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The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments of All Nations

The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments of All Nations

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Excerpt from The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments of All Nations: Catalogue of Keyboard Instruments, Prepared Under the Direction and Issued With the Authorization of the Donor; Galleries 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, Central Cases

There are no musical instruments that during the past four hundred years have been more generally distributed where \vestern music has been known than those with keyboards, whether their sound is produced from strings. Or with what is understood by wind. The reason for this favor is the comparative ease with which the sounds are elicited, without the player having to make the note, and the facilities the keyboard gives for including, as far as hands and fingers will permit, the different voices or parts. And the figuration of a harmonized musical composition. Itself an outcome of these facilities. The violin and wind quartets require as many performers as there are parts to present a like combination. The nearest approach to a keyboard stringed instrument was the Lute. As perfected toward the end of the six teenth century. But the difficulty of performance was beyond the ability of most who attempted it, and there had to be. Even with the most skilled. Many unavoidable lacunae. The spinet-player, or clavicembalist. Had incited the lutenist to a competition in which the lute was bound ultimately to fail, but not without leaving a memory of the technique of the lute in features retained in what is known as accompaniment.

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