from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A harpsichord.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. harpsichord
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. An old name for the harpsichord.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A musical instrument of the harp family; a dulcimer.
- n. Such an instrument played by means of keys or digitals; a harpsichord, and, later, a pianoforte or organ keyboard: short for clavicembalo.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a clavier with strings that are plucked by plectra mounted on pivots
The cembalo was the favorite instrument in Italy during the seventeenth century, and in England it had a great currency under the name of harpsichord.
And yes, "cembalo" could at the time refer to a fortepiano as well as to other keyboards.
I have given the first place in description to Cristofori's actions, instead of to the "cembalo" or instrument to which they were applied, because piano and forte, from touch, became possible through them, and what else was accomplished by Cristofori was due, primarily, to the dynamic idea.
The CD by the Ghielmi brothers surprisingly features a fortepiano rather than a harpsichord as its cembalo continuo, on the reasoning that Bach was familiar with very early models of the fortepiano (invented in 1698) and is even known to have played the instrument.
Handel played second violin in the orchestra before becoming maestro al cembalo.
He had given some thought to the idea of a string quintette with cembalo, he said.
A.D. 1598, and the reference is evidently to an instrument of the spinet or cembalo kind; but how the tone was produced there is no statement, no word to base an inference upon.
Estense "piano e forte" may have been a hammer cembalo, a very imperfect one, of course.
Each singer made his own, which the _maestro al cembalo_ accompanied with a few simple chords.
Moreover he shows great capacity in his compositions for the organ, the cembalo, and other instruments.