Musical Instruments at the South Kensington Museum: R.—Spinetdetails

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Musical Instruments at the South Kensington Museum: R.—Spinet

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A Spinet is a sort of harpsichord—that is, a musical instrument with a keyboard but in which the keys are plucked rather than monked with a hammer as in a piano. The strings in a spinet go off at an angle, which means the instrument doesn’t need to be as long.

This one has 49 keys and (as was common) an ornate front, marked, Anniballis de roxis mediolanensis MDLXXVII (i.e. 1677).

The Italian spinit, made by Annibale Rosso, of Milan, in 1577, pas purchased at the Paris Exhibition for £1200. It is 4 ft. 9½in. long, of wood and ivory, set with nearly 2000 precious stones, turquises, rubies and garnets, pearls, sapphires, emeralds, amethysts, topazes, agates and jaspers, lapis lazuli, and others. The shape of this instrument is like the dulcimer; it is open at the top, and fitted with strings to the range of four octaves and a semitone, having one string for each tone. It has a circular sound-hole in the middle of the sound-board.

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