A harpsichord is a musical instrument that looks like a piano but has a noticeably different tone. The harpsichord was very popular in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Mozart, Haydn, and Bach all wrote many compositions specifically for harpsichord. In the 19th century, the piano became the instrument of choice and the harpsichord fell out of favor. Although both instruments are played by pressing keys on keyboards, a piano has strings that are struck with a small hammer when a note is played, while a harpsichord's strings are plucked. Harpsichord comes from Latin roots harpa, "harp," and chorda, "string."

Definitions of harpsichord
  1. noun
    a clavier with strings that are plucked by plectra mounted on pivots
    synonyms: cembalo
    see moresee less
    early model harpsichord with only one string per note
    pair of virginals, virginal
    a legless rectangular harpsichord; played (usually by women) in the 16th and 17th centuries
    type of:
    Klavier, clavier
    a stringed instrument that has a keyboard
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