Harpsichord (in Italian cembalo; and in French clavecin) is defined as a stringed keyboard instrument in which the strings are plucked to produce sound.

It was developed in Europe in the 14th or 15th century and was widely used from the 16th to the early 19th century, when it was superseded by the piano. In the 20th century the harpsichord was revived for performance of music of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, as well as for new compositions. The incisive sound quality of the plucked metal strings adds clarity to melodic lines. The harpsichord is particularly effective in performing contrapuntal music?that is, music that consists of two or more melodies played at the same time, such as that of the German composer Johann Sebastian Bach.
The harpsichord usually has a wing-shaped body, or case, like a grand piano; however, its proportions are narrower and longer, and the case and its inner bracing are normally lighter

Ref: 124105/2006-09-19


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