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Keith Richard Hill (born 8 May 1948) is a prize winning American maker of musical instruments He has conducted research into the acoustical technology employed by musical instrument makers from 1550–1850, and used this knowledge to create hundreds of harpsichords, clavichords and other instruments.

Hill was born in China to missionary parents, and raised in the Philippines. He moved to the United States permanently in 1962. He attended music school at Michigan State University, studying piano and carillon with Wendell Westcott, organ with Corliss Arnold, and piano tuning and historical temperaments with Owen Jorgensen.

The Netherlands

Hill became interested in making harpsichords while a student at Michigan State and built his first instrument there. He worked briefly making harpsichords for Rainer Schutze in Heidelberg, Germany and then for E.O. Witt in Three Rivers, Michigan before studying harpsichord performance with Anneke Uittenbosch at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam.

In 1972 Hill opened a workshop in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Initially working alone, he made on average 12 double-manual harpsichords each year. As interest in his instruments grew, Hill began to work with apprentices, some of whom later went on to become independent builders.

In 1980 Hill designed and build a pedal harpsichord; the instrument was shown at the Boston Early Music Festival in the early 1980s. In 2004 he performed an acoustical restoration of the 1658 Girolamo de Zentis harpsichord, originally part of the collection at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Hill wrote articles about instrument making for Continuo: The Magazine of Old Music,. including « The Anatomy of Authenticity » (1985) and « How to Judge a Harpsichord » (1985). In October 1987 Hill was Continuo’s featured artist. Another article was titled « Plastic versus Quill » (Continuo, 1993).

After researching tanning methods and techniques for the making of hammer leather suitable for use on fortepianos, Hill developed a custom hammer leather. Hill began making violins and studying violin varnish in 1978. After five years of experimentation, he developed a varnish made from wood ashes, water (to convert the ash to lye), linseed oil, and rosin.

Later Hill compiled his knowledge into thirteen acoustical principles, creating a lengthy document, Treatise on the True Art of Making Musical Instruments a Practical Guide to the Forgotten Craft of Enhancing Sound. This work has yet to be published, but it is used as the text for his Acoustical Technology Training program.

Hill has conducted his research in partnership with his wife, Marianne Ploger (Professor of Music Perception and Cognition at Vanderbilt University) and his brother, Robert Hill (Director of the Early Music Program at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg in Germany).

Practical Guide

In 2008 Hill established the Acoustical Technology Trainee program that is specific to the technical craft of enhancing sound, not instrument making, and has now taught keyboard instrument acoustics to a number of professional musicians and luthiers.

Hill maintains a violin making workshop in Nashville, Tennessee. Keyboard instruments continue to be made in the larger Michigan workshop. Hill’s instruments, which are known for their full tone, have been used in performances and recordings by keyboard artists such as Elizabeth Farr (Naxos), Robert Hill Archive Prod.

Hill’s production of musical instruments includes, as of 2014, 157 Double-manual Harpsichords (of which 6 are 16’ harpsichords), 124 Violins, 68 Single-manual Harpsichords, 44 Clavichords, 39 Violas da Gamba, 22 Spinets, 19 Fortepianos, 11 Pedal Harpsichords, 8 Guitars, 8 Violas, 7 Cellos, and smaller numbers of various other heritage instruments.

Kōjin Karatani (柄谷 行人, Karatani Kōjin, born August 6, 1941, Amagasaki) is a Japanese philosopher and literary critic. Karatani was educated at University of Tokyo, where he received a BA in economics and an MA in English literature. The Gunzō Literary Prize, which he received at the age of 27 for an essay on Natsume Sōseki.

It was his first critical acclaim as a literary critic.