An old cembalo or harpsichord.
harpsichord definition by Webster's New World
Origin: obsolete French harpechorde or Italian arpicordo ; from arpa (LL harpa ; from Germanic an unverified form harpa: see harp) plush corda (see cord); -s- is intrusive
- harpsichordist noun
harpsichord definition by American Heritage Dictionary
Origin: Alteration of obsolete French harpechorde, from Italian arpicordo : arpa, harp (from Late Latin harpa, of Germanic origin) + corda, string (from Latin chorda, from Greek khordē; see gherə- in Indo-European roots).
- harpˈsi·chordˌist noun
harpsichord - Cultural Definition
A stringed keyboard instrument much used in the baroque era in music. The keys of a harpsichord move small devices that pluck the strings; the strings are not struck with hammers, as in a piano. Thus, although harpsichords often look much like pianos, their characteristic tinkly sound is unlike that of the piano, and a harpsichordist cannot change the volume of the sound by striking the keys harder, as a pianist can.