noun \ˈkla-və-ˌkrd\

: a musical instrument that is similar to a piano and was played mostly in the past before the piano was invented

Full Definition of CLAVICHORD

:  an early keyboard instrument having strings struck by tangents attached directly to the key ends
clav·i·chord·ist \-ˌkr-dist\ noun


Medieval Latin clavichordium, from Latin clavis key + chorda string — more at cord
First Known Use: 15th century


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Early keyboard instrument, an important forerunner of the piano. It flourished c. 1400–1800, especially in Germany. It is usually rectangular, with the keyboard inset. The strings are struck by metal tangents, rather than plucked as on the harpsichord. The tangent becomes the endpoint of the vibrating string; thus the point where it strikes determines the pitch. So-called fretted clavichords permit more than one tangent to strike a single pair of strings (which somewhat limits the notes that can be sounded simultaneously); unfretted clavichords use only one tangent per pair of strings. The player's touch can produce dynamic variation; variation in finger pressure can even produce vibrato. Its tone is silvery and soft, best suited for intimate music.


Next Word in the Dictionary: clavicle
Previous Word in the Dictionary: clavicembalo
All Words Near: clavichord

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up clavichord? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).