Try the Harpsichord for a New Type of Sound
If you love to play the piano but are looking for a new type of sound, why not consider the harpsichord? This is a smaller version of the piano that has a more high-pitched sound to it, and is often associated with baroque fashion and the Renaissance time period. It can be a fun instrument that offers a unique sound that you may love, especially if you appreciate classical music.
A harpsichord is a bit different than a piano in that it doesn’t produce a deep sound as the piano does. The instrument is typically shorter and more narrow, that is why the keystrokes produce a more tinny sound that is higher in pitch. The harpsichord is meant to be a centerpiece for music on its own and is not typically an instrument you play for dancing or to accompany other instruments because the sound is so rich and distinct. A piano might be played for waltzes or as part of an orchestra but the harpsichord is the showcase of any arrangement.
Learning the harpsichord is not difficult especially if you have some training on the piano. The key resistance is very different on a harpsichord; you need to strike them more heavily as the strings are heavier, so this may take some practice. You’ll need to add more force to each phrase as you perform and beginners often overlook this, but once you become accustomed to the keystroke, performing is much easier.
It’s good to practice each key separately when you want to play the harpsichord so you can understand how to pick it up and allow it to bleed into the next note. To play on a dynamic level with a harpsichord you need to add another level of keys rather than playing keys over one another as you would with a piano. Since the mechanics are different on a harpsichord, it can take some practice on the keyboard even after you’ve learned the notes.
There are four different schools of harpsichord and they each have their own sound. French, German, Italian, and Flemish are all unique so it’s good to listen to different performances before you decide one instruction for yourself. When you’re ready to purchase a harpsichord, it’s good to look for a handmade one. These are more expensive but they have a richer, truer sound. This is the only way to create the music intended to be created on a harpsichord.
Since harpsichord players are more rare than piano players, you may find yourself in demand if you apply yourself to learning and performing. You might be able to perform with choirs or may be part of local plays. It’s a great instrument to learn and a very unique one as well.