Category:Double virginals

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Main Wikipedia article: Virginal#Double virginals
“The Flemish school, in particular the Ruckers family, produced a special type of virginals known as Mother and Child (moeder und kind). This consisted of two instruments in one: a normal virginals (either spinet or muselar) with one (say) 6′ register, and an ottavino with one 3′ register. The smaller ottavino was stored (rather like a drawer) under the soundboard next to the keyboard of the larger instrument, and could be withdrawn and played as a separate keyboard instrument. However, the two instruments could also be coupled together, the ottavino being placed over the strings of the larger virginals (once the jackrail was removed), so that the jacks of the latter passed through a slot in the bottom of the ottavino. The jacks of the larger instrument now activated the keys of the ottavino, so that both instruments sounded simultaneously, giving a more brilliant effect.

Among the instruments in the inventory of Henry VIII of England, drawn up by Philip Van Wilder in 1553, there are mentions of "twoo pair of double virginalles", "one new pair of double virginalles", and other obscure references. These predate the earliest extant Mother and Child virginal by 30 years (the 1581 Hans Ruckers[1][2]), and the earliest known double manual harpsichords by about 60 years. The term may have referred to the number of stops on the instrument, or perhaps its range.[3]

— English Wikipedia article: Virginal § Double virginals


  1. O'Brien 1990, p. 347
  2. Kottick 2003, p. 490
  3. Hubbard 1967, p. 136
  • Hubbard, Frank () Three Centuries of Harpsichord Making (2nd ed.), Harvard University Press ISBN: 0-674-88845-6.
  • Kottick, Edward () A History of the Harpsichord, Indiana University Press ISBN: 0-253-34166-3.
  • O'Brien, Grant () Ruckers: A Harpsichord and Virginal Building Tradition, Cambridge University Press ISBN: 978-0-521-06682-2.


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Media in category "Double virginals"

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