How does a harpsichord make music?
Plucking mechanism The sound of the wing-shaped harpsichord and its smaller rectangular, triangular, or polygonal relatives, the spinet and virginal, is produced by plucking their strings. The plucking mechanism, called a jack, rests on the key and consists of a narrow slip of wood with two slots cut into its top.
Why do harpsichords sound the way they do?
The strings are under tension on a soundboard, which is mounted in a wooden case; the soundboard amplifies the vibrations from the strings so that the listeners can hear it. Like a pipe organ, a harpsichord may have more than one keyboard manual, and even a pedal board (see Pedal harpsichord, below).
What do harpsichord players do for right hand music?
It makes it possible for the right hand to play the tune on one manual while the left hand plays an accompaniment more quietly on the other. Some small harpsichords were called “virginals”, perhaps because they were played by young girls. There are also spinets which were very small and sometimes wing-shaped.
What can a piano do that a harpsichord can t?
While playing the piano, you have full control over the volume of sound produced, meaning you can either play soft or loud depending on the way the key is pressed. A harpsichord player does not have such control. No matter how hard or soft you press, the sound will always have the same volume.
Is the harpsichord an obsolete instrument in the 20th century?
The harpsichord was largely obsolete, and seldom played, during a period lasting from the late 18th century to the early 20th. The instrument was successfully revived during the 20th century, first in an ahistorical form strongly influenced by the piano, then with historically more faithful instruments.
Is harpsichord hard to play?
It’s not difficult to play harpsichord physically (though it does take different physical awareness and technique), but it is a completely different instrument that uses a musical “language” that is very different from the way we are accustomed to play on a modern piano.
Why does a harpsichord sound different from a piano?
Difference 1. A piano is a “struck string instrument” that makes sounds by striking strings with hammers and vibrating them. A harpsichord is a “plucked string instrument” that makes sounds by plucking strings with plectrums and vibrating them.