Recognizing, first and foremost, that we have a collective duty to conserve as complete a historical record of what has come down to us, there are nevertheless many cases where restoration of harpsichords and early pianos, like other antique instruments, is justified and desirable. The process of restoration itself can play a part in peserving much of the original instrument, thus adding to the record. Furthermore, there is the legitimate need to discover as far as possible what early keyboards sounded like. And finally, restoring harpsichords and early pianos invariably adds to our knowledge of the original instruments: how they were built and what materials were used.
Every instrument that comes in for restoration or rebuilding presents its own unique difficulties and challenges. As far as possible we must try to imagine how the original builders created these instruments. Since we always know less than we would like to know about tools, techniques, objectives and materials, we are almost always faced with a daunting task. Our objective, in general, must be to preserve as much of the original instrument as possible and to come as close as we can to re-creating the original sound. Inevitably we can never be entirely successful or completely certain of what we have achieved. There is tremendous satisfaction, however, in bringing old and sometimes neglected instruments 'back to life'.
The following case studies give a glimpse of the restoration work I have undertaken on two particular intstruments, click for more information: