History Of The Piano

Tracing the roots of the piano to the very beginning of consciousness, when man first became aware of sound.

Early 1500s, Spinet
1521, Harpsichord By Jerome

Early 1500s, Virginal

Virginal instrument, c.1580, made by Joannes Grauwels, in the Musical Instrument Museum, Brussels.
Virginal Built by Joannes Grauwels, c. 1580. 1

So-called because the instrument was played predominately by ‘maids and young ladies,’ and was the fitting expression for accompanying “sweet voices singing hymns,” the virginal became an improvement on the clavicytherium, replacing its strings with steel and iron instead of catgut. It did not displace the clavichord, though its improvements were evident. Queen Elizabeth possessed several Venetian specimens.

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William Byrd's 'Rowland,' performed on a virginal. 2
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Virginal y Clavicordio. 3

Page Sources

Daderot.  "Virginal Instrument, c. 1580 Made by Joannes Grauwels Located in the Musical Instrument Museum, Brussels."  Photograph.  Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 17 Nov. 2010.  Web.  6 Nov. 2015.  Public Domain.
Stolz, Ernst.  "'Rowland' by William Byrd on Virginal."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 29 Feb. 2012.  Web.  16 Oct. 2015.  Standard YouTube License.
Fundacion Juan March.  "Rarezas Instrumentales, Virginal y Clavicordio."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 17 Feb. 2015.  Standard YouTube License.
Additional References:
  • Victoria and Albert Museum.  "'Queen Elizabeth’s Virginal,' Giovanni Baffo, 1594."  Victoria and Albert Museum.  Victoria and Albert Museum, 2015.  Web.  14 Sept. 2015.
  • Rimbault, Edward Francis.  The Pianoforte, Its Origin, Process, and Construction:  With Some Account of the Same Class which Preceded It; Viz. the Clavichord, the Virginal, the Spinet, the Harpsichord, etc.; to which is Added a Selection of Interesting Specimens of Music Composed for Keyed-Stringed Instruments.  London: R. Crocks and Company, 1860.  Google Books.  Web.  14 Sept. 2015.
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