Harpsichord vs Piano [Which is Better?]

The harpsichord is a plucked musical instrument that has a form that is comparable to that of a grand piano, but it is often longer and narrower than a grand piano. To pluck the strings of the instrument, a piece of material referred to as a plectrum is often employed. The plectrum is kept in place by a thin strip of wood known as a jack, which is coupled to the key mechanism.

This technique is quite plain and easy to understand, but there is a disadvantage to this simplicity: regardless of how firmly you press a key on a keyboard, the sounds that are produced by the instrument will remain unchanged. Let’s give this some thought for a second: what does it imply that there is no genuine method to produce tension with a louder sound? It implies that there is no real ability to communicate tranquility via a quiet melody either.

The ideals of Romanticism, which are held in such high esteem in our contemporary society, cannot be realized via the use of the harpsichord. When you play the piano, you have complete control over the level of the music that is created, which means that you may play softly or loudly depending on how hard you press the keys. A player of the harpsichord does not have this level of control. The sound will always have the same loudness, regardless of how hard or how lightly you hit the button.

Key Difference Simplified

Piano: In a piano, the strings are played by striking them with hammers.

Harpsichord: The strings are played by plucking them. As a result of this differentiation, the harpsichord is named a string instrument, however, the piano is delegated a percussion instrument. The mechanism of the harpsichord is, in some respects, comparable to that of the guitar, in which the string is plucked by either the pick of the guitar or the fingers of the musician.


Piano  Harpsichord 
It wasn’t until much later, in the 18th century, that the piano was ever invented, but it quickly became the primary instrument used throughout the Classical and Romantic eras. The invention of the harpsichord is credited to the 12th century, although the Renaissance and Baroque eras are when it gained widespread popularity.
A person who plays the piano has complete control over the loudness of the sound that is generated, and they can make both gentle and loud sounds. On the other hand, a player of the harpsichord does not have this level of control.

Usage Examples

  • Example 1: The difference between the harpsichord and the piano is that the latter has greater resistance. It is also clear that a tone may be maintained in a piano, but this is not possible with a harpsichord.
  • Example 2: When playing the harpsichord, the strings are tugged, whereas, on a piano, the strings are hit.

What makes a harpsichord different from a piano?

The term “hit string instrument” refers to the piano, which generates music by pounding strings with hammering and causing the strings to vibrate. “Plucked string instrument” is another name for a harpsichord, which generates music by using plectrums to pluck strings and then vibrating those strings.

Why was the harpsichord replaced by the piano?

Bartolomeo Cristofori from 1655 to 1731 was an Italian artist who is credited with designing the piano. Cristofori was disappointed with the absence of control that players had over the volume level of the harpsichord, so he formulated an answer for the issue. In the year 1700, he is believed to have invented the modern piano by removing the mechanism for plucking the strings and replacing it with a hammer.

What are the major differences between the piano and harpsichord?

  • The first distinction is between string instruments and percussion instruments…
  • The second distinction relates to the historical eras…
  • Difference number three: the total number of octaves…
  • Difference number four: the keyboard…
  • Sound is the fifth key distinction…
  • Difference number 6 is loudness. These are the major differences.

Can a pianist play the harpsichord?

If you play the piano, having the opportunity to play the harpsichord may help you better appreciate compositions that were composed just for that instrument. However, even those who do not have access to a harpsichord are still able to acquire a few methods that may assist in recreating the enchantment of the harpsichord on a contemporary keyboard.

Is harpsichord harder to play than piano?

The harpsichord is an instrument that I find to be somewhat simpler to play, but at the same time, I believe that the absence of dynamics makes the instrument somewhat less forgiving. Your performance is becoming more obvious. When compared to the motion of a grand piano or even an electronic 88-key keyboard, the action of a harpsichord is rather distinctive.

Did Mozart compose on piano or harpsichord?

The vast bulk of his works was composed in the classical style and included symphonies, a violin concerto, orchestras, and minutes that were intended to be performed principally by the harpsichord, violin, and keyboard. Furthermore, he made a number out of the dramas that have endured for an extremely long period.

Sean Jozi
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