virginal

virginal1
virginally, adv.
/verr"jeuh nl/, adj.
1. of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or befitting a virgin: virginal purity.
2. continuing in a state of virginity.
3. pure; unsullied; untouched: a virginal mountain stream.
4. Zool. not fertilized.
[1400-50; late ME < L virginalis, equiv. to virgin- VIRGIN + -alis -AL1]
virginal2
virginalist, n.
/verr"jeuh nl/, n.
Often, virginals. a rectangular harpsichord with the strings stretched parallel to the keyboard, the earlier types placed on a table: popular in the 16th and 17th centuries.
[1520-30; appar. special use of VIRGINAL1]

* * *

or virginals

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.

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

* * *

also called  Virginals, or Pair Of Virginals,  
 musical instrument of the harpsichord family, of which it may be the oldest member. The virginal may take its name from Latin virga (“rod”), referring to the jacks, or wooden shafts that rest on the ends of the keys and hold the plucking mechanism. Unlike the harpsichord and spinet, the virginal's single set of strings runs nearly parallel to the keyboard. By building the instrument with its keyboard at one side or the other of the front of the rectangular case, different tone colours can be obtained because of the change in plucking point of the string.

      Italian virginals, often polygonal in shape, differed from the rectangular Flemish and English virginals in having the keyboard centrally placed, thus producing a characteristic mellow tone. Sometimes two virginals were built together, a small one fitting like a drawer into the case of the larger. The smaller played at a higher pitch and could sometimes be mounted over the keys of the larger virginal so that one player could control both. Virginals were particularly popular in 16th- and 17th-century England, where the name was also used generically to mean any harpsichord. The 17th-century Fitzwilliam Virginal Book contains pieces that are characteristic of the English repertory. The cases of virginals were frequently decorated with paintings, inlays, and carvings.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • virginal — VIRGINÁL, Ă, virginali, e, adj. 1. De virgină (1), de fecioară; feciorelnic, virgin. 2. fig. Candid, pur. [var.: (înv. şi pop.) verginál, ă adj.] – Din fr. virginal, lat. virginalus. Trimis de oprocopiuc, 08 …   Dicționar Român

  • virginal — virginal, ale (vir ji nal, na l ) adj. 1°   Qui appartient aux vierges. •   C était une charmante personne ; elle avait vraiment une figure, une douceur, une timidité virginales, J. J. ROUSS. Confess. x..    Il se dit de Jésus Christ. •   Jésus… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Virginal — von Ruckers, Musée de la musique, Paris Virginal nach Virdung 1511 Das Virginal ist eine Bauform des …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Virginal — Vir gin*al, a. [L. virginalis: cf. F. virginal.] Of or pertaining to a virgin; becoming a virgin; maidenly. Chastity and honor virginal. Spenser. [1913 Webster] {Virginal generation} (Biol.), parthenogenesis. {Virginal membrane} (Anat.), the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • virginal — (Del lat. virginālis). 1. adj. Perteneciente o relativo a la virgen. 2. Puro, incólume, inmaculado. ☛ V. entereza virginal, leche virginal …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • Virginal — Vir gin*al, v. i. To play with the fingers, as if on a virginal; to tap or pat. [Obs.] Still virginaling upon his palm! Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • virginal — (adj.) early 15c., from O.Fr. virginal or directly from L. virginalis, from virgin (see VIRGIN (Cf. virgin)). The keyed musical instrument so called from 1520s, but the reason is obscure (see VIRGINALS (Cf. virginals)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • virginal — Virginal, [virgin]ale. adj. Appartenant à une personne vierge. Pudeur, modestie virginale. fleur virginale. On appelle Lait virginal, Certaine liqueur rouge composée particulierement d esprit de vin, de benjoin & de storax, qui estant jettée dans …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Virginal — Vir gin*al, n. [Cf. F. virginale; probably so called from being used by young girls, or virgins.] (Mus.) An instrument somewhat resembling the spinet, but having a rectangular form, like the small piano. It had strings and keys, but only one wire …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Virginal — (engl.), so v.w. Spinett …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Virgināl [1] — Virgināl, soviel wie Spinett (s. Klavier, S. 101) …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.