A keyboard instrument that was
important for 300 years, until its replacement by the piano.
Unlike the piano, in which every key on the keyboard is attached to a hammer
beating the strings, the harpsichord was a plucking: each
key was attached to a mechanism with a plectrum, that would pluck the string.
Due to this use of the plucking technique, the instrument was characterized
by a rather limited dynamic range, meaning it lacked the capacity to produce
strong and weak sounds.
The harpsichord was invented at
the end of the 14th century. In 200 years, it became a highly popular instrument
among composers, among whom Rameau,
who also wrote special works for teaching the instrument. It was also integrated
in the Opera
orchestra, and until the time of Mozart,
it was a central member in it. Bach
wrote many pieces for the harpsichord, among
which "The Well Tempered Clavier",
and the "Goldberg Variations".
wrote many suites
for the harpsichord, and Domenico Scarlatti's
(son of Italian composer Alessandro) name was linked to the harpsichord,
thanks to the diverse sonatas he wrote for this instrument.
Gigue from French suite No.5 - Bach (Played by Prof. Zuzana Ruzickova)
The Duet (1749) Anthony Davis,
Victoria and Albert museum, London