The use of simple geometry and the local unit of measurement in the design of Italian stringed keyboard instruments:

an aid to attribution and to organological analysis


Grant O'Brien


Outline of this article - click on the chapter titles below in order to read this article:




A virginal by Franciscus Patavinus


A virginal made by Marcus Siculus in 1540


A harpsichord dated 1631 by Stefano Bolcioni


A virginal dated 1641 by Stefano Bolcioni


Further ways in which the unit of measurement was used in the design of a virginal or harpsichord


Limitations of the method and words of caution




Appendix 1 - Definitions of the Geometrical Functions


Equivalent Measurements


Authors Consulted



Tables of the Units of measurement used in the historical period in the Italian peninsula:


Italian_Metrology c.1500 - 1800



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