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Virginal (muselaar)
after Andreas Ruckers 1620

Soundboard in red deal
Lacquered poplar case with lpaper flemish style
Keyboard in ebony (possible with bone)
Pearwodd jacks
Strings: brass and iron
Stop: 1x8'
Compass C2-C6, 49 tasti
Transposition: 415-440
Dimensioni: cm 170x50x24

audio samples:

W. Byrd, Pavana Lachrimae - Marija Jovanovic

W. Byrd, La Volta - Marco Vincenzi

You can find the same audio samples in high definition sound to this link: Audio

Rollover thumbnails to preview images, click on them for higer definition ones

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Virginal (muselaar)

(from wikipedia: muselar)

Muselars (also muselaar) were made only in northern Europe.
Here, the keyboard is placed right of centre and the strings are plucked about one-third the way along their sounding length. This gives a warm, rich, resonant sound, with a strong fundamental and weak overtones. However, this comes at a price: the jacks and keys for the left hand are inevitably placed in the middle of the instrument's soundboard, with the result that any mechanical noise from these is amplified.
In addition to mechanical noise, from the string vibrating against the descending plectrum, the central plucking point in the bass makes repetition difficult, because the motion of the still-sounding string interferes with the ability of the plectrum to connect again.
Muselars were popular in the 16th and 17th centuries and their ubiquity has been compared to that of the upright piano in the early 20th century, but like other types of virginals they fell out of use in the 18th century.
The resulting sound is warm and at the same time clear and sweet, closer to taste of a harp or a lute.


Alberto Colzani

maker of harpsichords
and antique keyboard instruments

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