Italian Virginal

For my Italian virginal, I have taken as my model the instrument known as ‘Queen Elizabeth's Virginals', to be found in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. This instrument is well known as a nicely proportioned, splendidly decorated example of the ubiquitous Italian virginal. Although unsigned and undated, it probably dates from around 1570.

The original instrument is a true inner instrument housed in an outer case. I offer it as illustrated, constructed entirely in cedar or cypress, with a removeable hinged lid, and supported by a simple trestle stand.

The surprisingly robust sound of the Italian virginal lends itself ideally to the earlier repertoire, including the English Virginalists. As a small practise instrument requiring minimal space, together with its easy portability, it makes for a useful ‘first' instrument, or as the choice when space is limited. The ‘practise' aspect of the virginal can be enhanced by the extended compass that can be incorporated.

Range Either as the original, short-octave C/E – f3
  Or short-octave GG/BB – c3
  Or extended to AA – d3
  All versions can transpose A415-440, or double transpose A415-440-466

Disposition 1 x 8'

Keyboards Boxwood naturals and arcades, with rosewood or ebony accidentals

Decoration Case constructed entirely in cedar or cypress, with an oiled finish
Intricate decorative rose in the soundboard


Max length and width 64" x 21" (163 x 54cm)