Long ago, at the conservatory of the Hague, I used to have a yoga class directly before my harpsichord lessons. I now believe that this mad schedule was the working of some bad spirit who wanted me to spoil both: yoga, and harpsichord playing (he didn’t succeed). During yoga, I was as tense and rigid as the dried fish they sell here in Sweden at Christmas time. Well arriving at the harpsichord lesson, my body had gotten weak as pudding while my mind was all tense and jumpy in anticipation of the new and wonderful requirements of a Real Musical Education. “Technique, technique, technique!” my teacher chanted, the first time he jogged into the harpsichord studio, eagerly rubbing his hands.
No wonder that on one of those days, when I was touching up a few unisons, I tuned every note jerkily up and down again. My teacher’s eyebrows shot up in intelligent acknowledgement: “Aah, you always tune a little higher first – is that to make the string hold better afterwards? Very interesting method!” 28 years after this event I can disclose that I simply was very nervous. But there are methods that help harpsichords, clavichords or fortepianos keep their tuning and there are some things better to avoid when tuning. (more…)