Tangent (tangent piano)

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In the action of a tangent piano, the tangent is the small slip of wood similar in shape to a harpsichord jack or similar to an unleathered fortepiano hammer which strikes the string to produce sound. It is similar to the tangent of a clavichord only in the sense that they both are driven ultimately by the player's finger to strike the string to initiate sound. In the clavichord, the tangent remains in contact with the string to keep the note sounding, while in the tangent piano, the tangent immediately rebounds from the string so that the string is allowed to vibrate freely (that is, it has an escapement).