Harpsicord and pianos

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Hi all,

This may be a stupid question, but what really IS the difference between a harpsicord and a piano? Why does a piano have such a rich, full sound compared to the (well, other) sound of a harpsicord? Thanks,

Betty J.

-- Betty (happyone@yahoo.com), September 26, 2002



A harpsicord actually "plucks" a string, much like a banjo player does with those things they put on their thumbs. However, unlike the banjo player, the harpsicord uses a mechanical system (with a thin piece of some sort of plastic, on the ones I have seen anyway) to pluck the string. THe player has no control over the loudness of the note. The volume is not under the player's control at all.

The piano (which was first called the "piano-forte" instrument because it allowed the player to play soft and loud) uses a hammer to hit the string. The speed at which the hammer hits the string is under control of the player, thus the piano is a much more expressive instrument.

Also, the harpsecord I have seen does not have a string damper system, like the piano does. THis also will allow the piano player to control the amount of sustain the note has.

Pianos also use large soundboards and bridges to amplify the sound, again adding to their rich full sound.

Just my thoughts, i'm no expert.


-- freddie (no_one@nowhere.com), September 27, 2002.

Thank you very Much :)

-- Betty (happyone@yahoo.com), September 27, 2002.

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