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Description of the Spinet
Definition and description of the
Spinet: The Spinet can be described as a keyed instrument of music
resembling a harpsichord, but smaller,
with one string of brass or steel wire to each note, sounded by means of
leather or quill plectrums or jacks.
History of the Spinet
The history of the Spinet: The Spinet
spinet was used primarily in the 15th and 16th centuries, until the
invention of the harpsichord, which gave the player more flexibility
with added sets of strings. An instrument of the harpsichord family
which has significance in the development of the instruments of the
Middle Ages is the spinet (from spina, “thorn”; it had leather points up
to 1500), first made by Johannes Spinctus, Venice, 1500. It was a
harpsichord with a square case, the strings running diagonally instead
of lengthwise. When the spinet was of very small dimensions it was
called a virginal; when it was in the shape of our modern grand piano,
it was, of course, a harpsichord; and when the strings and sounding
board were arranged perpendicularly, the instrument was called a
clavicitherium. As early as 1500, then, four different instruments were
in general use, the larger ones having a compass of about four octaves.
The connecting link between the harpsichord, the clavichord, and the
piano, was the dulcimer or hackbrett, which was a tavern instrument.
Medieval Music -
The Medieval Times website provides interesting facts, history and information about the
musicians and styles of music which scatter the history books including
Spinet. The Medieval Life and Times Sitemap provides full details of all
of the information and facts about the fascinating subject of the lives
of the people who lived during the historical period of the Middle Ages.
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