Dictionary and Journal

Harpsichord Dictionary Definitions

According to DigoPaul, the term harpsichord arose from the union of two Latin words: clavis (which is translated as “key”) and chorda (whose translation is “string”). The harpsichord is a musical instrument that, as its name suggests, features strings and also a keyboard.

During the period between the 16th and 18th centuries, the harpsichord was most widely used, which again experienced a boom in the 20th century. What happened at this time is that it aroused great interest in ancient music, which led to the “resurrection” of that musical instrument again.

On the harpsichord, the keys are levers. When one is pressed, a metal pick known as a tangent, found at the other end of the key, touches the string. The tangent divides the string into its length: one of the parts does not produce sound as it is in contact with a strip of felt, while the other part generates a sound whose height is determined by the tangent.

No less relevant is to establish that there are, fundamentally, two types of clavichords:
-The unbound. It also responds to the name of independent and is one that has one or two keys per string. Hence, the person who uses the harpsichord to interpret a composition can play as many notes at the same time as the said musical instrument establishes.
-The ligado, which is characterized by the fact that it may have up to five keys per string in what is known as chromatic succession.

The harpsichord sound curve ends in short order. This means that when the tangent leaves the string, the sound ends immediately. The musician has the possibility to perform effects with his fingers by modifying the force exerted on the key while the tangent remains on the string in question.

Beyond the fact that the sound intensity of the harpsichord is weak, the player can attack with more or less force and influence the response of the instrument. It should be noted that it is possible for two or more keys to act on the same string, since the vibration occurs in parts.

With a harpsichord you can play compositions written for organs, pianos or keys. In any case, due to the low intensity of its sound, this instrument is not usually used in chamber ensembles.

In the same way, there is another series of data of interest about the clavichord such as the following:
-It is considered that it was created in the 15th century. Specifically, it was shaped in the year 1400.
-Many are the great musicians and composers in history who have made use of an instrument like this. We are referring to both Mozart and Bach, for example.
-As a general rule, it has a size of 127 centimeters long by 11 centimeters high and 36 centimeters wide. With regard to its weight, this is usually about 18 kilos, approximately.