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“Pisa” Harpsichord

1580-1600, in Pisa, Italy

The harpsichord is a keyboard instrument that produces its distinctive sound by plucking a string when a key is pressed. The earliest harpsichord designs date from the late Middle Ages—well before the invention of the fortepiano in the early 1700s.

The “Pisa” Harpsichord was built between 1580 and 1600 in either Pisa or Florence. The fact that it has not undergone any structural or mechanical modification in more than 400 years and is still playable in its original condition makes the Pisa Harpsichord an extremely rare example. The ornately painted and carved décor adorning both the interior and exterior of the case is highly valued for its artistic quality.

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