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HPSCHD: New music for harpsichord

Through dialogue between performers and composers of new music for harpsichord, this project aims to bring about well-informed and high-quality compositions and performances. Although thousands of contemporary harpsichord works have been written (Frances Bedford mentions about 5,000 in her book from 1993), composing for the instrument is often no sinecure. Not all new compositions are idiomatic in the sense that they take into account the technical-mechanical and musical possibilities of the instrument. This pertains to music for "modern" harpsichords (circa 1890 to 1960), to compositions inteded for (copies of) historical models, and to non-specific works. 

This project starts from the (empirical) analysis of successful and "problematic" examples from the 20th- and 21st-century harpsichord repertoire, in interaction with RCA composition teachers and students, as well as external composers. Based on the findings, guidelines will be formulated, leading to new compositions to be performed by myself and other harpsichord students. The harpsichord is endorsed as a versatile instrument for new music, covering a broad stylistic and conceptual spectrum, with consideration to feasibility and accessibility, and taking the specificities of the different (historical-geographical) instrument types into account.
 

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