Copy of a Ruckers 'spinett' virginal

Made in Edinburgh by Grant O’Brien in 1981


Internal view of the Ruckers 'spinett' virginal


Details about the case interior

           Because the original of this instrument in the Castello Sforzesco, Milan was a mother and child virginal, the whole of the interior of the instrument is accessible for measurement:  the part on the left in this photograph is above the space normally occupied by the child instrument and can be accessed simply by removing the child virginal.  The section to the right on this photograph is accessible by removing the keyboard.  Hence it was possible to measure and draw the position and dimensions of all of the internal parts of the instrument.


           The inactive part of the soundboard at the top left is barred with two small soundbars.  The large oak bar on the left, lap-jointed at its lower left-hand end, is the wrestplank into which the tuning pins are placed on its other surface.  The edge of the wrestplank nearer the player and the soundbar and the extension of the nameboard brace more-or-less define the vibrating area of the soundboard around the single sounding bridge.


           On the right-hand side between the keywell braces the lower jack guide and the hitchpin plank can be seen.  The lower jack guide is made of a thin piece of soundboard wood covered on its top surface with soft-tanned sheepskin and on its lower surface with parchment.  The holes in the soundboard wood are undercut so that the jacks touch only the soft sheepskin, and the parchment reinforces the whole structure.  The hitchplank above this is made of cherry and serves both as a support and base for the hitchpins and also as a foundation for the nut over which the strings pass on their way to the hitchpins.  The inactive soundboard area seen below the lower jack guide in the photograph above is stiffened with three soundbars.  On the lower right-hand side the bottom surface of the toolbox is visible.


           The rose in the centre is held in place with glue on its upper surface and then secured and reinforced underneath with four strips of linen tape.


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