Difference Between Piano and Harpsichord

Piano vs Harpsichord

There are many stringed musical instruments with keyboards. Out of these, piano holds a place of pride as a romantic musical instrument full of melodies. There is another musical instrument called Harpsichord that was once very popular. Harpsichord has similarities with Piano. However, despite similarities, there are differences between a piano and harpsichord that will be talked about in this article.


Harpsichord is a stringed musical instrument with a keyboard just like a piano, but instead of being struck like a piano, the keyboard of a Harpsichord is plucked. From the 16th till the middle of the 18th century, Harpsichord was a very popular musical instrument in Europe used in opera and orchestra. Sound is produced by plucking through a plectrum. There are two keyboards instead of one in a harpsichord. There are many musical instruments in the family of plucked keyboard such as spinet, muselar, Harpsichord, virginal, etc. The vibrations of strings are transmitted to a soundboard that is glued to the bridge beneath the strings.

Harpsichord was at its helm during the renaissance period, and the famous musicians using this stringed musical instrument were henry Purcell, Domenico Scarletti, etc.


Piano is a very interesting stringed musical instrument that is played by striking a keyboard. This action of striking a key depresses it to cause a hammer to strike string that is tuned. The invention of Piano is credited to Bartolomeo Cristofori of Italy in the early 17th century. He had deep knowledge of Harpsichord and created piano with this knowledge.

What is the difference between Piano and Harpsichord?

• Both Piano and Harpsichord are stringed musical instruments, but whereas the keyboard is struck in case of piano, it is plucked in a Harpsichord.

• Harpsichord can be said to be a predecessor of Piano.

• Piano was invented in the early 18th century while Harpsichord was at its peak during the renaissance period.

• Harpsichord has two sets of strings, whereas Piano has one.

• Piano sounds have variations while Harpsichord will produce the same sound no matter how the key is pressed.