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English virginal (with jack rail removed) made by Robert Hatley, London, 1664; in the —From the Benton-Fletcher Collection at the National Trust Property, Fenton House, Hampstead, London
Small rectangular harpsichord with a single set of strings and a single manual. The derivation of its name is uncertain. The virginal's strings run parallel to the keyboard, which occupies only a portion of the longer side. Combination virginals include a smaller portable virginal that can be placed on top of the larger keyboard to create a two-manual instrument. The virginal was particularly popular in 16th–17th-century England, where much music was written for it by William Byrd, Thomas Morley, Thomas Weelkes, and others.
Variants of VIRGINAL
virginal or virginals
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on virginal, visit Britannica.com.