Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Harpsichord

The  thirteen year old Archduchess Maria Antonia (Marie-Antoinette) in 1769
From Remembering Marie-Antoinette:
The harpsichord was also part of a grander scheme of things: it was part of the “art of motion.” All aristocratic children were required to learn how to move, sit, walk, and ultimately dance. The music of the  harpsichord gave the motion a script to follow. It gave fluidity to motion as the aristocrats danced at their private balls. As well as being an accompaniment to motion and elegant movement, playing the harpsichord was a leisurely act. Playing was a time of pleasure and enjoyment. The  role of this divertissement in court society is evident  in the portrait of Marie Antonia at the Harpsichord in Schonbrünn (Fig. 6). She is enjoying a nice quiet moment to herself while playing music.  Although the sons of the royal couple were known to play instruments while the daughters sang, the harpsichord was usually the instrument of choice of  young ladies, as  the portraits of Marie Antoinette and Marie-Josèphe show (Fig. 4 & 5). (Read more.)

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