• Harpsichord action
    Harpsichord action
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n harpsichord a clavier with strings that are plucked by plectra mounted on pivots
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Dulcken harpsichord: 6. Full view Dulcken harpsichord: 6. Full view
Dulcken harpsichord: 7. Front view Dulcken harpsichord: 7. Front view
Dulcken harpsichord: 8. Plan view Dulcken harpsichord: 8. Plan view
Dulcken harpsichord: 9. Detail of keyboards Dulcken harpsichord: 9. Detail of keyboards
Dulcken harpsichord: 10. Detail of soundboard Dulcken harpsichord: 10. Detail of soundboard
11. Italian harpsichord (1693): Full view of instrument in outer case 11. Italian harpsichord (1693): Full view of instrument in outer case
Italian harpsichord (1693): 12. Plan view Italian harpsichord (1693): 12. Plan view
14. DeQuoco harpsichord: Plan view 14. DeQuoco harpsichord: Plan view

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Harpsichord (Mus) A harp-shaped instrument of music set horizontally on legs, like the grand piano, with strings of wire, played by the fingers, by means of keys provided with quills, instead of hammers, for striking the strings. It is now superseded by the piano.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n harpsichord A stringed musical instrument in use in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, which in its form and in the arrangement of the keyboard and strings resembled a piano, but in which the tone was produced by the plucking or snapping of the strings by leather or quill points, which were set in jacks connected by levers with the keys. In form it usually resembled a modern grand pianoforte, though both square and upright varieties were also made. The length of the keyboard was from four to six and a half octaves. The number of separate strings to a key varied from one to four, sometimes including one tuned an octave above the others; the latter variety was called a double harpsichord. The tone was weak and tinkling, and gradation of force was impossible. Two key boards were sometimes combined, one for soft effects, the other for loud. Numerous devices, usually connected with the jacks, were introduced at different times to secure variety in force, and especially in quality. These mechanisms, which often aimed to simulate the tone-qualities of various orchestral instruments, were usually controlled by stop-knobs near the keyboard. The harpsichord, though essentially different from the pianoforte, was its immediate predecessor. Before 1800 it was regularly used in all dramatic music, especially in accompanying recitatives, and in orchestral music. The conductor usually directed from his seat at a harpsichord placed amid the other instruments.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Harpsichord härp′si-kord an old-fashioned keyed musical instrument, where the sound is produced by the twitching of the strings by a piece of crow-quill or hard leather.
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OF. harpechorde, in which the harpe, is of German origin. See Harp, and Chord
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. harpechorde.


In literature:

The form of the harpsichord is shown in Fig.
"A Popular History of the Art of Music" by W. S. B. Mathews
Handel played the harpsichord well, but the organ better.
"Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 14" by Elbert Hubbard
Mam'selle played on the harpsichord, and there was conversation until it was time to go.
"A Little Girl in Old Detroit" by Amanda Minnie Douglas
On one end of the harpsichord he also painted a skull and music-books.
"Anecdotes of Painters, Engravers, Sculptors and Architects, and Curiosities of Art, (Vol. 2 of 3)" by Shearjashub Spooner
Three Figures, which play the Harpsichord and Hautboys, in concert.
"The Olden Time Series, Vol. 4: Quaint and Curious Advertisements" by Henry M. Brooks
He set me down to tune Harpsichords, a mere mechanical employment, not at all to my taste.
"The Violin" by George Hart
There are interesting old books on the virginals, harpsichord, and spinet.
"The Book-Hunter at Home" by P. B. M. Allan
They can be found in the Haendel "Lessons for the Harpsichord," edited by Kohler, in the Peters edition.
"The Masters and their Music" by W. S. B. Mathews
The Harpsichord is a great Incitement to Study, and by it we continually improve in our Knowledge.
"Observations on the Florid Song" by Pier Francesco Tosi
The same day the chevalier had tried his harpsichord.
"The Conspirators" by Alexandre Dumas (Pere)

In poetry:

And night and distant rumbling; now the army's
carrier-train was moving out, to war.
He looked up from the harpsichord, and as
he went on playing, he looked across at her
"The Last Evening" by Rainer Maria Rilke
There seats, which beauty once enthroned,
In tattered damask stand;
In gray neglect a faun extends
A mutilated hand;
And silence makes the festal board
Mute as the stringless harpsichord.
"Villa Pliniana" by John Lawson Stoddard
Whereas, were we suffered to do as we please
With our Blacks and our Whites, as of yore we were let,
We might range them alternate, like harpsichord keys,
And between us thump out a good piebald duet.
"Epistle Of Condolence From A Slave-Lord To A Cotton-Lord" by Thomas Moore
For the dear soul knew that music was a very sovereign balm;
She had sprinkled it over Sorrow and seen its brow grow calm,
In the days of slender harpsichords with tapping tinkling quills,
Or carolling to her spinet with its thin metallic thrills.
"The Opening of the Piano" by Oliver Wendell Holmes

In news:

Davitt Moroney showcases the harpsichord's eloquence .
Things are heating up in the bare-knuckle world of competitive harpsichord playing this week as the Westfield International Harpsichord Competition gets underway at the University of Maryland.
A harpsichord joins the jam.
Concerto for Mandolin, Strings and Harpsichord in G. Three Shakespeare Songs.
The harpsichord with the forward look.
The gifted musicians, both associated with St Andrew's Cathedral, began their collaboration in 1996 to explore the repertoire of music written for two harpsichords .
Davitt Moroney showcases the harpsichord 's eloquence.
Meyerson holds the professorship of harpsichord and fortepiano at the Universitat der Kunste in Berlin, the first position of its kind when it was created for legendary harpsichordist Wanda Landowska in the early 20th century.
He's recorded the Goldberg Variations on the BMW of harpsichords , a gorgeous replica of an instrument built by Hieronymus Hass in Hamburg, Germany around 1734.
The World's Most Popular Gay Postmodern Harpsichord Nerd.
Mark Stevenson British harpsichord maker Mark Stevenson died of cancer on July 4, 2000, aged 56.
Some of the most highly regarded harpsichordists in the world are gathering in Washington this week to serve on the jury of the Westfield Center International Harpsichord Competition.
Concerto for Flute, Violin, and Harpsichord in a, BWV 1044.
"Some of the Best Harpsichord Rock I Have Yet Heard": The Rise of Prog .
Bach 's harpsichord seems disconnected from Bach 's music.

In science:

Piano has existed for more than 600 years, from the harpsichord to the modern prototype built by the Italian Cristofori in the year of 1709, the instrument has been improved a lot in both mechanical structure and acoustical properties, with the efforts of manufacturers, pianists and piano technicians.
Analysis on the relations between piano touch and tone
The organ’s continuous supply of wind allows it to sustain notes for as long as the corresponding keys are pressed, unlike the piano and harpsichord with their sounds decaying when the keys are held.
Music in Terms of Science