2021 Virtual Exhibition | Douglas Maple Harpsichords and Clavichords

Boston Early Music Festival
Boston Early Music Festival

Douglas Maple operates a one-man workshop in central Pennsylvania, where he builds 1-2 instruments per year.  His work is based on a wide range of historical harpsichord and clavichord models that span the 16th through 18th centuries.

Doug began building keyboard instruments for his own use shortly after graduation from college in 1975, while employed as a biochemical research technician. His undergraduate studies had included numerous music courses, and his growing fascination with early keyboards and their repertoire led him to return to graduate school in music history.  These studies culminated with the receipt of a Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Chicago in 1987. During his academic years he managed to find time to build more instruments, including several that were eventually sold.  Additionally, he provided maintenance and rebuilding services in Chicago and New York.

It was also during this academic period that Doug began an association with the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  An initial summer internship was followed by a post-graduate fellowship, which allowed him to travel to European collections in 1987 to study the surviving 16th-century Flemish virginals. In subsequent years he continued to visit the MMA to examine various instruments from their large collection of keyboards.  More recently, he has studied instruments at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, for possible inclusion on his list of offerings.

As a music historian, Doug's research focus was on French harpsichord music from the 17th and early 18th centuries.  He therefore was naturally interested in the harpsichords built in France and Flanders during that period, along with contemporary instruments used in neighboring Germany, where the French style of harpsichord music was so influential.  From very early on in his building career, however, he was also attracted to Italian harpsichords, and a substantial portion of his output has been devoted to these graceful and versatile intruments.

Although perhaps best known as a maker of harpsichords, Doug has also been interested in clavichords for most of his building history, and over the last decade he has increasingly turned to the study and production of these challenging, but rewarding, instruments.  He currently offers a variety of clavichord models that range from a fretted, mid-17th-century design to large, unfretted instruments in the late Saxon and Baltic traditions.

Visit Douglas Maple's Website

Douglas Maple Harpsichords & Clavichords
P.O. Box 1163
Lemont, PA 16851
damaple@comcast.net | 814-883-7799


Frances Fitch playing a Maple Franco-Flemish harpsichord after Couchet

Frances Fitch playing a Franco-Flemish harpsichord after Couchet

Sandra Mangsen playing a Maple Italian harpsichord after Zenti

Double-fretted Clavichord after an anonymous mid-18th-century instrument

Unfretted Clavichords adapted from instruments attributed to J. H. Silbermann, Strasbourg, ca. 1775