The Modern Harpsichord by Wolfgang Joachim Zuckermann was published in 1969, and went through three printings in a short time. Many people have asked us to try to assist them in obtaining this book, but it is well out of print and now on the rare list, good copies fetching prices over USD110.
The book caused considerable controversy upon its release, and because of its criticism of the modern German builders, it was banned outright in that country. Of course, this helped ensure it made more sales in Germany than anywhere else. Because of imminent legal action, Zuckermann had to leave the United States. Prior to moving to England, he sold his company to the late David Jacques Way, who as head of October House had actually published the book, and written the “Appendix by a harpsichord kit builder”.
The central theme of The Modern Harpsichord—that harpsichords should be made today as they were in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries—altered the course of modern harpsichord development. So many things have changed in the last quarter of a century that merely reprinting the book today would give a misleading impression of the scene. The book would have to be completely rewritten, which Wolfgang will never do.
Displayed behind glass in the showroom of our workshop in Sydney are the actual jacks collected by Wolfgang from makers around the world. You can follow the links in the table to view the individual jacks, or watch the movie below. With the exception of those makers whose names are marked in the table with an asterix, all the jacks visitors can see in our display were photographed for inclusion in his book, and occur on the page numbers mentioned. All are a testimony to modern ingenuity.
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