Article

Keyboard Instruments

Arthur Lawrence

in Music

ISBN: 9780199757824
Published online June 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199757824-0048
Keyboard Instruments

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Keyboard instruments comprise chordophones (clavichords, harpsichords, pianos, virginals, hurdy gurdies), aerophones (harmoniums, pipe organs, accordians), idiophones (carillions, celestas), electrophones (electronic organs, synthesizers), and hybrids. Until the 20th century, the terms “pianoforte” and “fortepiano” were used interchangeably; the former was then abbreviated to “piano,” leaving the latter as the designation for historically oriented instruments. Virginals are generally considered the English and Flemish equivalents of small harpsichords, albeit possessing a slightly different plucking mechanism. From the standpoint of construction and operation, keyboard instruments may have struck strings (clavichords, pianos), plucked strings (harpsichords), struck bells (carillions, played by very large keyboards), or they may be wind-blown (harmoniums, pipe organs) or have electronically produced sounds. Each instrument represents a family of related ones. Carillons, and to a much lesser extent celestas and hurdy gurdies, have an independent literature that is not discussed in this article.

Article.  6363 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Applied Music ; Ethnomusicology ; Music Theory and Analysis ; Musicology and Music History ; Music Education and Pedagogy

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