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So the harpsichord is a string instrument? #301375
11/27/01 07:40 PM
11/27/01 07:40 PM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 27
Portland, OR
J
James W Offline OP
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James W  Offline OP
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J

Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 27
Portland, OR
In an effort to save poor Ben from having to read all those "string vs. percussion" postings.....

The harpsichord must be the "missing link"! smile

Since it is plucked like a harp, it must be a string instrument and the piano a mutation that evolved into a percussion instrument?

smile

James

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Re: So the harpsichord is a string instrument? #301376
11/28/01 10:22 AM
11/28/01 10:22 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,731
Indiana
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lb Offline
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lb  Offline
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L

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,731
Indiana
Harvard Dictionary of music, Second edition:
Stringed Instruments. Instruments in which the sound-producing agent is a stretched string. The scientific name for this category is chordophone. The most important members of this large group are the violin, harpsichord, harp, and piano. In each of these instruments the sound is produced by different means, i.e., bowing, plucking, and striking with a hammer.

Re: So the harpsichord is a string instrument? #301377
11/28/01 11:32 AM
11/28/01 11:32 AM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 325
St. Louis, Missouri
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MikeC65 Offline
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St. Louis, Missouri
But is there a difference in the definition of a "string instrument" vs. a "stringedinstrument"? A "stringed" instrument could be an instrument containing strings as the sound producing mechanism, while a "string" instrument could refer to an instrument whose sound production is caused by directg manipulaton of the string like bowing or plucking, as opposed to a percussion instrument whose sound production is caused by something being struck, whether that something is a string or something else.

Woohoo, this is just like a law school exam! laugh

[ November 28, 2001: Message edited by: MikeC65 ]


Mike Cohan
St. Louis, MO
1910 Steinway Model K
Re: So the harpsichord is a string instrument? #301378
11/28/01 02:40 PM
11/28/01 02:40 PM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,995
Colorado
ryan Offline
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ryan  Offline
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Posts: 1,995
Colorado
To reply to James,

I think the piano evolved more from the dulcimer than the harpsichord. The piano and dulcimer have a lot in common. Both have strings that are stretched over a bridge that is attached to a soundboard, and the strings are struck with hammers.

If I remember correctly, it was a tour of a giant dulcimer (9' long) that caused many harpsichord inventors to toy around with the idea of mating a keyboard to a dulcimer to create a new more expressive keyboard instrument. Cristofori's design is the one that went forward.

So, is a dulcimer a percussion or string instrument? Looks like it is a stringed instrument too, according to the Harvard Musical Dictionary.

Ryan

Re: So the harpsichord is a string instrument? #301379
11/28/01 10:22 PM
11/28/01 10:22 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 3,974
Seattle, Washington, USA
jgoo Offline
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jgoo  Offline
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Posts: 3,974
Seattle, Washington, USA
I really like that missing link comment!!!


The harpsichord (are those even made anymore, by the way?) was an early keyboard instrument in which the strings were plucked, not stuck, to create sound. I believe that Mozart composed most of his works for the harpsichord and they were later translated to piano. As for it being a stringed instrument, I think so because it is plucked. The harpsichord evolved into the pianoforte, which later evolved into the modern day piano. As for a dulcimer, I've never heard of it.

[ November 28, 2001: Message edited by: jgoo ]


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Re: So the harpsichord is a string instrument? #301380
11/29/01 01:11 PM
11/29/01 01:11 PM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,995
Colorado
ryan Offline
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ryan  Offline
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Colorado
Jgoo, better check your history, especially since you have never heard of a dulcimer. The piano really did evolve from the dulcimer. Don't be confused by the fact that they both have keyboards - organs have keyboards and are nothing like pianos. The harpsichord action is absolutely nothing like the piano action. And the *idea* for a keyboard instrument that used hammers to strike keys most certainly came from the dulcimer. Read up on it - it's an interesting read.

Also, Mozart's piano compositions were actually written for the piano. By his time both he and Haydn were writing a lot for piano, which was overtaking the harpsichord in popularity. If you have never heard Mozart's music played on period instruments, give it a try some time. You might be shocked at how different it sounds compared to the modern piano.

Ryan

Re: So the harpsichord is a string instrument? #301381
11/29/01 11:31 PM
11/29/01 11:31 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 3,974
Seattle, Washington, USA
jgoo Offline
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jgoo  Offline
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Seattle, Washington, USA
Quote
Originally posted by ryan:
Also, Mozart's piano compositions were actually written for the piano. By his time both he and Haydn were writing a lot for piano, which was overtaking the harpsichord in popularity. If you have never heard Mozart's music played on period instruments, give it a try some time. You might be shocked at how different it sounds compared to the modern piano.


Oh. Well, seeing as I got the idea that Mozart played music for a harpsichord instead of a piano from a piano sales man who didn't seem to know a thing about pianos in the fist place and worked out of a small shack of a shop, nowonder its wrong.
In fact, he tried selling me an old grand piano, and he made it sound like it was the best piano in the world. By the time he was through talking (I hadn't actually played the piano yet), he announced that he would be leaving the shop for a short lunch break, but said that I could stay because his technition had just arrived to work on a few of the pianos. I asked the tech about the piano the sales man was talking about (I can't remember the make) and he said that it really wasn't that good of a piano, and that it may only last for another 2-3 years at the most before it needed a total rebuild. He said that the sales man really didn't know what he was talking about, that he had tried to "pull one over" on me. I waited for the sales man to return, then asked him again about the piano, and then I told him what the tech told me about the piano (not about what he thought about the sales man). He said "oh, really, he said that?" and then shot a nasty look at the piano tech. I wouldn't buy a piano from him if he offered to give it to me! Not if hes going to lie like that to his customers! (Or maybe he really is ignorant). Anyway, he offered to sell it to me for $4500, and the tech said that it wasn't worth even that.


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