Shudi Double Manual Harpsichord

Description (Brief)
This harpsichord was made by Barkat Shudi in London, England about 1743. It is a double manual harpsichord with a compass of FF - f3 (no FF#), and a disposition of 2 x 8’, 1 x 4’, with lute, buff, and 5 hand stops 3 on left, 2 on right). The harpsichord has a spruce soundboard, and ivory naturals and ebony accidentals. The upper name batten is inscribed: “Burkat Shudi Fecit Londini” and the lower name batten is inscribed: “Burkat Shudi No 199 Fecit Londoni 1747." The original lower keyboard is marked “144.”
This instrument once was a part of a combined harpsichord and pipe organ, or clavi-organum. It was first built with four harpsichord stops: lute, 4’ octave, upper manual 8’, and lower manual 8’. The keyslip of the lower manual shows evidence of two holes, between EE and FF, and f2 and g2. There is also evidence of clearance holes for rods and actuating levers for a mechanical arrangement for sliding a register for organ stickers, in order activate or shut off he organ-playing key action. The organ hand stops, which pulled through the lower manual key cheeks, apparently numbered six.
The lid is of modern American make and was likely to have been made around 1900. Like the casework, the upper keyboard was probably made by a previous restorer, while the lower keyboard is old and very likely original to this instrument. The keyboards have been replaced and the lower keyboard has been preserved for study.
Restored to playing condition 1964-1965, by William Dowd, the Shudi harpsichord is currently used in concerts on featured on recordings by the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society.
Recordings currently available can be found at the following link:
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
ca 1743
Shudi, Burkat
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall (instrument only): 11 5/8 in x 36 5/8 in x 96 in; 29.5275 cm x 93.0275 cm x 243.84 cm
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Music & Musical Instruments
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Hugo Worch
Additional Media

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