Taskin, Pascal



Famous instrument-maker, who made several improvements 'in the clavichord; was born Pt Theux. Liege Province, France. When still very young he went to live in Paris, where he became apprenticed to Etienne Blauchet, considered the best clavecin-maker of his time in France, whom he eventually succeeded. To him we owe the substitution of leather slips for crowquills in the jacks of harpsichords and spinets, an improvement which made the tone produce less like " a scratch with a sound at the end of it." Offered the position of keeper of musical instruments and the Chapel Royal of Louis XV., on the death of  Chiquelier in 1772, he had the appointment transferred to his nephew, Joseph Pascal, and was thus left free to pursue  his own course. In 1775 he was made a member of the corporation of instrument-makers. He invented several improvements in his instruments, such as working the pedal with the foot instead of the knee, and using one string doubled around a pin instead of two, in his two-stringed pianos. He also invented the armandine, shaped like a grand piano with no keyboard and gut strings, which he named for Madame Armand, a pupil of his niece. He also made a piano like our present grand, for Princess Victoire. A fine armandine is in the Paris Conservatory Museum and a harpsichord of two keyboards made for Marie Antoinette may be seen in the Petit Trianon. Other examples of his work are in possession of Musee des Arts decoratifs in Paris and the Conservatory Museum.