Domenico Scarlatti – Harpsichord sonatas

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Late works for harpsichord, played on an even later period instrument. In the second half of the eighteenth century, the harpsichord was no longer as popular as in the ages before. Its place was taken by the more fashionable piano-forte. The ones that were still there were not as good, and were simpler instruments. no double keyboards, no pedals to add or subtract registers, or for opening or closing the swell shutters.

Say the liner notes. But what are swell shutters? Okay, google to the rescue. Swell shutter are the Venetian blinds that cover the soundbox of an organ. They can be closed or opened to control the loudness of the sound. They can even be used to make it louder (swell) while playing. Check.

The story in the liner notes is about diminishing popularity of an instrument. Not only were there less settings on the newer instruments, the material was also heavier, the quality lower. Somehow it reminds me of a Techmoan YouTube I saw the other day about personal audio CD players. Discman in other, more copyrighted words.

To retell his story in short: good products get obsolete, but not in one go. They first are taken over by bad brands. Quality goes down because it is taken over by Chinese nameless brands that deliver the goods, but with less and less quality. Until nobody wants them anymore. Sad but true.

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