Labreche vs Vaudry

Dear members,

How do the harpsichords of Labreche and Vaudry compare? I mean tonal wise and also in their construction? Are there similarities or are they completely different?

Have a nice week,


One thing, I think, that distinguishes the Vaudry from other French harpsichords of the the late 17th century (at least in their original form) is the barring of its soundboard. Some makers describe it as being akin to lute barring (I recently saw a photo of the barring on a modern copy and it certainly seemed very distinctive).

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Christopher Nobbs (who restored the Stuttgart Labrèche) once told me that these were two polar opposites. Both regarding the construction and the sound. The Vaudry, he added, was probably the last “lute-harpsichord”, with a much lighter construction than the Labrèche. At that time, rather incredibly, I had close copies of both in the same room (but by different builders), and the sound was indeed very different. I might still have the drawing of the Vaudry.

Besides Chris Nobbs, one person that certainly would have something to say on the subject is Owen Daly, who made copies of both. I don’t know if he is still around.

Christopher is right these two instruments are the opposite of each other. The Vaudry is not particularly light, but is a magnificent representative of the “fishbone” or “leaf rib” sounboard ribbig . The latest of this type is the Vincent Tibaut 1691 harpsichord , 10 years after the Vaudry.
Personally I find that the only instrument known to date to which one can really associate the qualifier of lute bracing, is the anonymous Lyonnais circa 1685 (muséee de la musique E.996.33.1)
Its soundboard is thin, and its bracing consists of 17 ribs of small sections that cross the soundboard from side to side, (except 2 in bass).
Sorry for my bad English

Interesting! Is there a technical plan of the Vaudry for sale?



I bought the plans from the Victoria & Albert in the early 1980s. I don’t know if they are still available but I would assume so.