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In one form or another, the harpsichord ruled the domestic keyboard roost throughout Europe – and later in America – from the late-sixteenth to the early-nineteenth centuries. Apart from the organ, it was the grandest and most versatile of all keyboard instruments until the advent of the mature fortepiano in the mid- to late-eighteenth century. Rise and Fall of ...

Source: The Illustrated Complete Musical Instruments Handbook, general editor Lucien Jenkins
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The basic harpsichord mechanism of a sprung lever with a quill plectrum plucking the string a single time, remained largely unchanged since its origins. However, a small series of stops was developed, allowing the sound quality of the instrument to be varied between a brighter sound and a muted pizzicato. Because these changes were effected mechanically, by ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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Most famous of all the early keyboard instruments, the harpsichord was first mentioned in 1397, and the earliest representation to have survived dates from 1425. The harpsichord rose to prominence in the sixteenth century and flourished for a while before its harmonic limitations caused its gradual displacement by the piano in the eighteenth century. The harpsichord consisted of a ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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instruments. The organ, which had existed since Greek and Roman times, was becoming much more versatile, incorporating many more stops. The virginals, the precursor to the harpsichord, was becoming popular domestically, and clavichords were steadily developing. The lute was a very popular solo instrument and also accompanied solo singing – the English composer John Dowland ...

Source: The Illustrated Complete Musical Instruments Handbook, general editor Lucien Jenkins
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was used throughout Western Europe during the Renaissance. It maintained its popularity in German lands into the first quarter of the nineteenth century, when, like its cousin the harpsichord, it was decisively superseded by the piano. Pitch and Timbre The clavichord is the most touch-responsive keyboard instrument yet devised. The piano’s range of dynamics and tone colours is ...

Source: The Illustrated Complete Musical Instruments Handbook, general editor Lucien Jenkins
563 Words Read More

The playing mechanism of the clavichord was quite different from that of the harpsichord family. It was a simpler lever system, working like a seesaw. As the player’s fingers landed on the key, its other end rose and struck the string from below. In sound production, the clavichord was thus similar to the dulcimer and the piano. But ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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The clavinet is essentially an electric version of the clavichord. Designed in the 1960s by Ernst Zacharias of the German company, Hohner, the clavinet evolved from the Cembalet, an instrument Zacharias had developed some years earlier as an electronic counterpart to the harpsichord. Construction Hohner produced several models of clavinet over the years, including the legendary D6. ...

Source: The Illustrated Complete Musical Instruments Handbook, general editor Lucien Jenkins
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two trebles, two tenors, two basses), the recorder consort (of four to six recorders of varying sizes) and the trio sonata, in which a continuo group (usually harpsichord plus a bass instrument such as a bass viol or baroque cello) accompanies two melodic instruments such as Baroque violins or flutes. Instruments as diverse as the shawm, tabor ...

Source: The Illustrated Complete Musical Instruments Handbook, general editor Lucien Jenkins
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, which modern pianos preserve (nicknamed the ‘soft pedal’), there were pedals or stops to operate drums, triangles, bells and cymbals, and there were even bassoon, harpsichord and buzzer stops. Later makers abandoned these and concentrated instead on producing fortepianos that possessed two qualities: a wider compass and greater dynamic breadth. The fortepiano was found to be ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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being operated by one elbow while the hands attended to the keys. Harmonium Mechanics At the grander end of the spectrum there is the handsome two-manual instrument, like the harpsichord and smaller organs, the reeds now encased in an impressive cabinet, while the bellows are pumped in alternation by the feet. The volume of tone, and a ...

Source: The Illustrated Complete Musical Instruments Handbook, general editor Lucien Jenkins
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In performance, the zither is usually placed on a table or on the knees of the performer. Because the construction of the zither resembles keyboard instruments such as the harpsichord, it is sometimes seen as a relative of theirs. Other variants include: • The dulcimer: struck by small wooden beaters, and popular in Hungarian and Romanian folk music. ...

Source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music, general editor Paul Du Noyer
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and Development The first piano was constructed in Florence by the Italian harpsichord-maker Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655–1731). From the grandiloquent title he gave it – gravicembalo col piano e forte (‘large harpsichord with soft and loud’), it seems clear that he regarded it not so much as a new instrument as the modification of an old one. Needless to say, the ...

Source: The Illustrated Complete Musical Instruments Handbook, general editor Lucien Jenkins
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term is now specifically used to indicate keyboard instruments of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and the latter to mean the modern instrument. The piano displaced the harpsichord musically and socially, taking over the latter’s role in domestic music-making. A piano was an acquisition that brought with it an implicit confirmation of social standing. Although the modern ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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flatter than its rounded modern descendant. Heard in cathedrals and particularly grand churches, the sackbut was used to accompany choirs. Styles & Forms | Renaissance | Classical Instruments | Harpsichord | Renaissance | Classical ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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and ran away from the player in straight lines, those of the spinet were mounted obliquely to run diagonally from left to right. The spinet, essentially an early harpsichord, was generally used in domestic settings. The virginal (or virginals) was another form of small harpsichord, usually with one set of strings and jacks and invariably with only ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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