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Excerpt from The Pianoforte, Its Origin, Progress, and Construction: With Some Account of Instruments of the Same Class Which Preceded It; Viz, the Clavichord, the Virginal, the Spinet, the Harpsichord, Etc Amongst the entire range of musical instruments, there is not one, in our day, that possesses so many claims to notice as the Pianoforte - the household orchestra of the people. Although it was the birth only of the last century, there have existed, for hundreds of years, instruments which, under different appellations, resembled the Pianoforte in the more important features of construction. Those instruments are but little known to the artist; scarcely, if at all, to the public. But the spirit of enquiry which marks the present age demands some explanation of those musical fabrics upon which so many of our eminent musicians exercised their mechanical skill, and for which they composed strains which are listened to with pleasure, even in these days of improvement.
The history of the Pianoforte has never been attempted on any scale at all commensurate with its interest or importance. Brief, unsatisfactory, and incorrect notices are indeed to be found; but these have only served to lead the enquirer into a net of inaccurate data, or a maze of wild conjecture.
Nevertheless, some articles are to be found which must, to a certain extent, be exempt from the general stigma; and amongst them the following, all of which have been used in the course of the following pages.
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