musical instrument

A clavichord is a musical instrument like a small keyboard. It was very popular for many years, especially in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

A clavichord
Classification String

Sound change

The clavichord is a very quiet instrument. It is not suitable for playing with other instruments because it is so quiet. But it sounds very beautiful in slow, expressive music. It is used as a practice instrument by harpsichord players, or by organists who wanted to practice at home instead of in a (often very cold) church. They were so small that they could be lifted up and put on a table. They could be put one on top of another so that an organist could practise music written for a two-manual organ. Sometimes, they even had pedals for organists to practice this skill.

Uses change

Many German composers like Johann Sebastian Bach wrote music for the “Clavier”. This meant any keyboard instrument: harpsichord, clavichord or organ. The player could choose which they wanted to use.

When the piano suddenly became popular – in the 1760s and 1770s – people started to forget about harpsichords and clavichords. Today a few people make harpsichords and clavichords again so that people can play Renaissance and Baroque music - the music from when the clavichord was popular.

Other websites change

  Media related to Clavichords at Wikimedia Commons