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spinet

spinet, musical instrument of the harpsichord family. Although the terms virginal and spinet, interchangeable until the end of the 17th cent., were sometimes used indiscriminately to designate any harpsichord, they usually referred to small instruments having one keyboard, one string to each note, and the keys more or less perpendicular to the strings, similar to the clavichord. The first spinet, made in the 15th cent., may have been a clavichord to which a quill mechanism was added. In England in the 18th cent. the virginal was an instrument with a rectangular case, while the spinet had a triangular or wing-shaped case. Until the middle of the 18th cent. neither had legs attached. The Elizabethan virginalists, among them William Byrd, Thomas Morley, and Orlando Gibbons, were the composers of an important body of music, of which the outstanding collection is the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book (early 17th cent., publ. 1894–99).

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spinet

spinet (Fr. Épinette; It. spinetta). Small type of early kbd. instr. of hpd. family in which str. ran diagonally in front of player or more or less parallel to kbd. as on virginals. Often made in uneven 6-sided shape with kbd. on longest side. Normally one set of str. and 4-octave compass. The name ‘spinet’ is indiscriminately applied to a no. of plucked kbd. instr. First mentioned 1496. A theory is that it was named after Giovanni Spina, an instr.-maker active in late 15th cent., another that the name derives from its thorn-like plectra, spinetta being diminutive of spina, a thorn. The 19th-cent. square pf. is often incorrectly called a spinet.

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spinet

spin·et / ˈspinit/ • n. 1. hist. a small harpsichord with the strings set obliquely to the keyboard, popular in the 18th century. 2. a type of small upright piano.

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spinet

spinet Early musical instrument of the harpsichord family with one keyboard and one string to each note. The musician plucked the strings with a quill or leather plectrum.

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spinet

spinet XVII. Aphetic — F. †espinette (mod. épinette) — It. spinetta
.

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spinet

spinetabet, aiguillette, anisette, Annette, Antoinette, arête, Arlette, ate, baguette, banquette, barbette, barrette, basinet, bassinet, beget, Bernadette, beset, bet, Bette, blanquette, Brett, briquette, brochette, brunette (US brunet), Burnett, cadet, caravanette, cassette, castanet, cigarette (US cigaret), clarinet, Claudette, Colette, coquette, corvette, couchette, courgette, croquette, curette, curvet, Debrett, debt, dinette, diskette, duet, epaulette (US epaulet), flageolet, flannelette, forget, fret, galette, gazette, Georgette, get, godet, grisette, heavyset, Jeanette, jet, kitchenette, La Fayette, landaulet, launderette, layette, lazaret, leatherette, let, Lett, lorgnette, luncheonette, lunette, Lynette, maisonette, majorette, maquette, Marie-Antoinette, marionette, Marquette, marquisette, martinet, met, minaret, minuet, moquette, motet, musette, Nanette, net, noisette, nonet, novelette, nymphet, octet, Odette, on-set, oubliette, Paulette, pet, Phuket, picquet, pillaret, pincette, pipette, piquet, pirouette, planchette, pochette, quartet, quickset, quintet, regret, ret, Rhett, roomette, rosette, roulette, satinette, septet, serviette, sestet, set, sett, sextet, silhouette, soubrette, spinet, spinneret, statuette, stet, stockinet, sublet, suffragette, Suzette, sweat, thickset, threat, Tibet, toilette, tret, underlet, upset, usherette, vedette, vet, vignette, vinaigrette, wagonette, wet, whet, winceyette, yet, Yvette •quodlibet • alphabet •ramjet, scramjet •propjet • turbojet • etiquette • outlet •triolet • calumet • cermet

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