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

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.

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.

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  Media related to Clavichords at Wikimedia Commons