Music desk lighting

For some time I have been looking around for a good standing lamp but never seen a satisfying one. What kind of lighting do you use? A floor lamp, a lamp with clips attaching to the music desk, or what? A link to an online store should be very useful.
Thanks in advance.

Wasn’t there a discussion about this very topic on the list a while ago? [Or maybe the old mailing list.]

It’s a personal subjective matter. I prefer a standing floor light. You can get them anywhere with the proper cantilever spring balanced arm. From Australia I can’t recommend a shop in Europe!

There are dozens of lights big and small for attaching to music stands for orchestral musicians. Any proper music store should have a wide choice. But usually harpsichord desks are small and don’t have much room to clamp a light on.

Of course the correct answer to this is candelabra.

During power cuts I play my harpsichord by candle light in a room
heated by a log fire.

I am told I should wear a frock-coat and wig, but I find a duffel coat
more convenient.


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Le 14/12/2020 01:39, Andrew Bernard via The Jackrail écrit :

Wasn’t there a discussion about this very topic on the list a while ago? [Or maybe the old mailing list.]

Yes, there was. But I didn’t find it.

I wrote about the topic in February. Do we not have access to those postings any more?


Ratstands produce a number of specialized lighting systems for musicians, some of them with dimming and temperature control capabilities. Unfortunately they are not cheap.

I’d like to help, but there are too many factors to consider, and so
many lamps to choose from that advice from others is hardly possible.

As others said in the earlier discussion (not looked for – sorry), I
find “mother-child style floor-standing lamps” convenient, as they give
general illumination for playing and usually enough to read music,
plus a local bright light for fine detail and adjusting the instrument.
However, I use various lights from time to time according to my mood,
what I have around, and what is not in use by someone else at the
moment. In that respect solutions are fairly robust.

A search of Amazon UK gave “over 1,000 results” for the above
description, you can restrict the search further of course. There are
many other online vendors, those specialising in domestic lighting
often give detailed but comprehensible technical advice for non-

We cannot know what matters to you. For example, I need to consider
the colour and reflective surfaces of my harpsichord, as I often
practice when I have a migraine with photophobia and altered colour

You will have your own personal and environmental considerations,
including the room you play in, trip hazards etc… Do you wish to
clip a light to your instrument? Do you move it around? Is there a
piece of furniture to stand a light on?

Are such matters as control of intensity, colour balance, localisation
of illumination … important to you? These can be controlled if you
choose, usually at extra cost. We are privileged compared to even a
few decades ago.


David and Andrew,
yes, there was a discussion on the subject. It was on the old mailing list, though, so it’s not available here on Discourse. I had forgotten it, so forgive the doubling of the topic. Fortunately, I still have the old mails in my mailbox, so I’ll read them again along with the new replies.

@FrankH (Frank House)
Thanks a lot for your insights. I am looking for a floor-standing lamp, dimmerable. I don’t strictly need colour control etc.

@mdaillie (Matthew Daillie)
I didn’t know about Ratstands. It seems a great company. I’ll look at their website.

What about something like these:


Beautiful but at last I resorted to this one:

Led, dimmerable, three colour temperature to choose from, flexible stem so you can direct the light where you want. If you do video yourself, the lamp can be adjusted/flexed so the light doesn’t get directly in the camera ruining the video. The price is good.

Thanks, Domenico!

That’s a nice lamp, which looks very useful. I looked on, but they didnt have any that were as powerful (14W, 1000 lumens), so I ordered one from (Being in the EU has advantages, as those who live in the UK will soon discover!)


Le 20/12/2020 12:56, David Pickett via The Jackrail écrit :

Thanks, Domenico!

That’s a nice lamp, which looks very useful. I looked on, but they didnt have any that were as powerful (14W, 1000 lumens), so I ordered one from (Being in the EU has advantages, as those who live in the UK will soon discover!)


I’m also looking for a lamp, and this does seem a good idea. I see it’s
even a few euros cheaper in France, and no charge for shipping.


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Like David, I also noticed these excellent lamps! Practical, and also musical as they are like the ones used in theatre’s orchestra pits. Will ask Ketil …

The Aukey lamp has arrived form Italy. Beautifully packed, double boxed, it is just the right height and can be pointed in almost any direction. It is guaranteed for two years, with five email address for the whole world, and comes with a little book of instructions in 5 EU languages (the English is excellent). There are three colour temperatures and a volume control. For a cheap Chinese product I cannot fault it.

I think the different EU prices depend upon the VAT percentage in different countries.


I am glad it works for you too.

However, David, I noticed the beautiful harpsichord is signed with your name, so you did make it! Would you tell something more?

I second Domenico’s question. I was also very intrigued to notice the little support block that holds the front of the lid flap away from the edge of the spine. I’m tall so I normally play with the flap folded back. But certainly there are times when it would be helpful to play with it extended. I’ve never seen anything like this that keeps the pieces aligned and avoids marring the finish. I think I will make one for my instrument!

I didn’t notice!
Brilliant. I usually play with the flap extended, just like the photo. But the flap slams on the spine making some noise.
Is it plastic? Rubber? What?

Yes, I made this instrument myself, with the help of Richard Auber and Kevin Spindler, from a Stage IV ZHI kit in 1996/7. The painting was done by David Higgins, an artist and friend at Indiana University, where we were both on the faculty of the music school.

As far as I know, the support block (which I see from my log I called a lid flap restrainer at the time!) was an invention of Peter Tkach, a harpsichord builder in St Louis, Missouri, whom I met at a conclave of SEHKS in Fort Worth, Texas in summer 1998. I noticed he had these on the instruments he was demonstrating, complimented him on his great idea, and made one upon returning home.

It is made out of a piece of soft wood, which happens to be 11/16" (17.5mm) thick and 1 11/16" (43mm) in diameter. This was fashioned with saw, file and sand paper. Then it was painted to match the instrument, and the felt which, at 3/4" is a little bit wider than the block, was glued on with “magic” Titebond. It is actually a piece of jackrail cloth left over from making the instrument. The slot is just wide enough make a good fit over the spine when compressing the cloth slightly.

As you see, it protects the flap where it hits the instrument and stops it flapping. I usually extend the lid in this way, partly to display the decoration, but also because it reflects more sound back to the player, who in my case is usually the only one listening,

I believe that Peter Tkach (1935-2015) made 86 instruments, and I shall now rename the device the Tkach restrainer in his memory. I remember that the quality of construction of his intruments was high and that they sounded well. From that single brief encounter I recall that he himself was a very friendly, gentle man. As I remember, his surname originated in Russia. Does anyone here have one of his instruments and/or memories of him?




Peter Tkach (1935-2015)

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Of course this is all extremely offensive to the authenticity police: the use of titebond, electric illumination, Tkach restrainers, humidifiers, thumbs, millimeters, steel screws, Urtext editions, bubble plastic, printed facsimiles, coffee machines, delrin {to mention only a few offenders} is subject to severe penalties including fines, gaol, and lifetime banishment from the Guild of Authentical Harpsicorners. Verbum sapienti satis est.

Merry Xmas, everybody!

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The Authenticity police fully agrees, draak, and observes that we are very attentive to more serious offences that are, alas!, still more the norm than the exception: modern piano fingerings, pre-beat trills, fully-legato slow movements and (God Forbid!) all sort of electronic tuning devices! :smile: