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Re: music

Poster: Beiskaldi@aol.com

 In a message dated 98-12-11 16:11:52 EST, you write:
> Greetings again!  Does anyone know about a stringed instrument called a
>  virginal?  Kari Kyst

>From "A History of Western Music" 4th ed., Grout & Palisca:

"There were two types of clavier instruments, the clavichord and the
harpsichord....  Instruments of teh harpsichord type were built in different
shapes and sizes and were known under various names:  virginal, spinet,
clavecin, clavicembalo, among others; in all thes the sound was produced by a
quill plucking the string.  The tone was more robust thatn that of the
clavichord, but could scarcely be shaded by varying the pressure on the key;
different timbres and degrees of loudness were possible only by a special
mechanism of stops.  The clavichord was essentially a solo instrument for use
in small rooms; the harpsichord was used for both solo and ensemble playing."
(pp. 287-288)

"There was an extraordinay flowering of the variation in the late sixteenth
sectury among a group of English keyboard composers called the virginalists,
from the name applied at the time to all plucked keyboard instruments....  Of
the many manuscript collections of keyboard music that were made in England in
this period, beginning with the Mulliner Book (ca. 1540-1585), the most
comprehensive is the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, a manuscript copied by Francis
Tregian between 1609 and 1619, which contains nearly 300 compositions written
in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries."

I know this text is used at Peabody as well as in other music programs at
various colleges, so it *should* be a reputable source.  I vaguely remember my
professor saying something about the name virginal coming from the *fact* that
it was often played by young girls as a part of their education on becoming a
genteel lady, so to speak--whether this is true or merely something he came up
with to keep us awake at 8am is open to argument.

Hope this helps,
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