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Name of Instrument: virginal

Maker / Brand: attrib. to Domenico da Pesaro (Domenicus Pisaurensis)

Stearns Catalog #: 1334

Country of Origin: Venice, Italy

Region of Origin: Europe

Instrument Category: Chordophone

Date of Fabrication: c. 1550-80

Description: This Virginal has three octaves plus a fourth that likely date from the 16th Century; the inner case has cypress walls and sound board. The pentagonal, outer decorative case is likely from the late 19th Century. This instrument was restored in 1950 by John Challis at which point the balance bar for the keyboard was moved forward during restoration and lead weights added to the back of the keys to offset the shift. Challis also installed three additional beams under the sound board. An evaluation of key overall dimensions confirms the use of the Venetian inch in the construction of the instrument.

The construction of the jackrail, bridge, and rosette are typical of Domenicus Pisaurensis; the jackrail with two ebony strips and moulding shape are common to his work. This instrument is similar to a Pisaurensis virginal held by the Nydahl Collection in Stockholm. The lack of G# in the upper register is indicative of a pre-1580 keyboard.

Research: Christopher Dempsey

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower