Harpsichord and Clavichord

  • Neville H. Fletcher
  • Carey Beebe


While plucked string instruments such as harps are known to have been used in many parts of the world for several thousand years, the idea of using a keyboard to control the plucking action does not seem to have developed until the late fourteenth century, with an instrument similar to what we now know as the harpsichord. These early keyboard instruments were represented in paintings, carvings, and written descriptions from the time. Most of the development of the harpsichord, however, took place in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Italy, Flanders, Germany, and England.


Frequency Ratio Musical Instrument String Length Sound Quality Modern Instrument 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research School of Physics and EngineeringAustralian and National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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