Name of Instrument:
How to Play:
Clavichord comes from the Latin word clavis meaning "key" and chorde which means "string". This keyboard instrument that has a rectangular case is played like the harpsichord; by pressing the keys. However, the strings of the clavichord are struck by metal blades whereas the strings of the harpsichord are plucked by a plectrum. The tone of the clavichord is softer compared to the harpsichord.
History of Clavichords:
The clavichord is believed to be the descendant of the monochord. As this instrument evolved, certain changes were made. For example, by 1693 they were building one pair of string for each key (unfretted) which made it possible to play more tones. Because the tone of the clavichord is soft, it was often used in monasteries or played at intimate gatherings and was also used as a teaching instrument.
Clavichord Composers and Revival:
The clavichord was especially popular in Germany and Scandinavia. Manufacturers continued to build this instrument until the 19th century even when pianos were already being built. During the latter half of the 18th century, interest on the clavichord was revived when composers like Carl Philip Emanuel Bach wrote pieces for it. The British musician, Arnold Dolmetsch, also helped revive interest on this instrument when he began building and performing on the clavichord during the 1890s.
Here's a YouTube video of Ryan Layne Whitney playing on a clavichord.