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Lecture Topics

Over the years I've developed a set of PowerPoint talks on early keyboard instruments. Most of them are designed for general audiences, but some are pretty specialized. I welcome inquiries from colleges and universities as well as early keyboard groups and other groups. I am usually available for residencies of a few days or so as well. Fees are negotiable.
  1. Types of Early Stringed Keyboard Instruments. A slide presentation illustrating the variety of harpsichords, clavichords, and early pianos found in the great museums and private collections.  For all audiences.

  2. A Treat for Eye and Ear: A History of Harpsichord Decoration. A slide presentation illustrating the way in which molding, paint, gold, veneer, and other applied materials were used in the various regional styles of harpsichord decoration. For all audiences.

  3. Gods and Mortals, Monkeys and Dolphins: The Exotic World of Early Keyboards. Prior to the 20th century musical instruments were thought to have important connections to the worlds of mythology, religion, royalty, nobility, wealth and power. This talk explores these resonances through a study of the decorative aspects of early keyboard instruments. For all audiences.

  4. The Incredible Gravicembalo col Forte e Piano: The First 50 Years of the Piano. A slide presentation dealing with the fascinating first fifty years of the history of Cristofori's invention, and the unusual coincidences that kept the concept of a hammer harpsichord afloat. For all audiences.

  5. The Piano in an Industrialized Society. The piano was one of the first artifacts to lend itself to mass production. This talk explores the manner in which the instrument changed in the nineteenth century as a result of the industrial revolution. For all audiences.

  6. The International School and Harpsichord Building in the 17th Century. Although less well known than the Northern and Southern styles, the 17th-century International Style produced some of the most unusual and beautiful harpsichords ever known. For specialized audiences.

  7. Gradus ad Parnassum: Building an Italian Harpsichord. A slide presentation illustrating the steps to building an Italian harpsichord, including case, soundboard and keyboard. For all audiences.

  8. From Rags to Riches: A History of Clavichord Decoration. A slide presentation illustrating the ways in which the sociology of the various types and regional styles of clavichords is revealed through the instrument's decorative elements. For specialized audiences.

  9. The English Virginalists: Their music and Their Instruments. Identifies the English composers known as the virginalists, describes the kinds of pieces they wrote, and explores the history of the virginal. A virginal (or harpsichord) with player is desirable but optional. For specialized audiences.

  10. Wire, Wood, Air, and Ear: How the Harpsichord Makes its Sound. Deals with the behavior of strings, the role of the bridge, the soundboard, the air enclosed by the harpsichord, the combined effects of air and soundboard, the air outside the harpsichord and the way in which the ear perceives harpsichord sound. For specialized audiences.

  11. The Physics of Sound for Kids of all Ages. A talk on the ways in which musical instruments make their sounds. Requires an overhead projector and the following instruments: guitar, violin (or other bowed string), flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone. Can be slanted to a variety of audiences.

  12. How Do You Tune Your Harpsichord? The Wonderful World of Temperaments. Describes the reasons for the main types of historical temperaments and the ways in which temperaments affect music. Three temperaments are set in the course of the lecture. With live examples. Requires a harpsichord and a harpsichordist. For specialized audiences.

  13. Basic Harpsichord Maintenance. A specialized lecture-demonstration illustrating the maintenance skills and knowledge every harpsichordist should have. Deals with voicing, sticking jacks, action problems, and changing plectra and strings. Limited to a small group. Requires a harpsichord. For specialize audiences.

Activities as a Lecturer

Institutions lectured at in recent years include
  • Baker University (Baldwin City, KS)
  • Central College (Pella, IA)
  • Coe College (Cedar Rapids, IA)
  • Concordia University (Montreal, Quebec)
  • Drake University (Des Moines, IA)
  • Eastern Kentucky University (Richmond, KY)
  • Friends of Chamber Music (Kansas City, MO)
  • Gettysburg College (Gettysburg, PA)
  • Grinnell College (Grinnell, IA)
  • Kansas State University (Manhattan, KS)
  • McGill University (Montreal, Quebec)
  • Morningside College (Sioux City, IA)
  • Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)
  • Oklahoma Christian University (Oklahoma City, OK)
  • Union College (Schenectady, NY)
  • the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR)
  • the University of Charleston (Charleston, West VA)
  • the University of Kansas (Lawrence, KS)
  • the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)
  • the University of Montreal (Montreal, Quebec)
  • the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, NC)
  • the University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, ND)
  • the University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, IA)
  • the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario)
  • the University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario)
  • the Waterloo Early Keyboard Society (Waterloo, Ontario)
  • Union College (Schenectady, NY)
  • Western Ontario Conservatory of Music (London, Ontario)
  • Wilfred Laurier University (Waterloo, Ontario)
  • 2002 Annual Convention, Piano Technician's Guild (Chicago, Illinois)

Ed Kottick
502 Larch Lane    Iowa City, IA 52245
Phone: 319.337.3770 (H) — 319.321.7604 (C)
Email: ed@kottick.com