Clavichord: Piano and Custom-made Clavichord Essay examples

Submitted By BrendanDao1
Words: 555
Pages: 3


The clavichord was the first and oldest stringed keyboard instrument that came into existence in the late Middle Ages, but no one really knows when exactly it was invented. However, most historians believe that the clavichord was first made in the early 14th century. This instrument was popular until the early 1800s and was known in the late European Medieval, through the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical eras. The clavichord mainly flourished in the German-speaking lands, for example, Scandinavia and Germany. The clavichord is one of the predecessors to the piano. Of all the piano’s predecessors, the clavichord was the instrument that resembled it the most. The clavichord was a flat, rectangular shaped box that ranged from four to six feet in length with a range of about four to six octaves. Its keyboard was positioned to the left of its longer edges and a soundboard at the right end. Strings run from tuning pins at the case’s right end, over a bridge set on the soundboard, are hitched to pins at the left and back of the case. The clavichord was sounded by the use of strings strung parallel to its keyboard that were activated by metal wedges called tangents. When a player presses the front of the key, the tangent rises, strikes the string, both vibrating it and determining its sound length. On the left of each tangent, string vibrations are silenced by felt woven though the strings. When each key is released, the woven felt silences the string. The clavichord had one string per key, or in some cases one for two keys, while a modern grand piano contains up to three strings per key. While the tangent and the small number of strings made the clavichord a very quiet instrument, the tangent allowed Crescendos and Diminuendos, giving the instrument a semblance of a dynamic range. Also, varying finger pressures on the keys lets the player produce different vibratos. The clavichord had a similar action to the piano, but its tone produced a much softer sound and was not appropriate for usage in concerts. A small clavichord’s sound can be easily overwhelmed by the modern day’s refrigerator hum. As a result of its soft tone, the clavichord was often used in monasteries,