Italian Virginal

The original instrument is a true inner instrument housed in an outer case. I offer it as illustrated, constructed entirely in cedar or cypress, with a removeable hinged lid, and supported by a simple trestle stand.

The surprisingly robust sound of the Italian virginal lends itself ideally to the earlier repertoire, including the English Virginalists. As a small practise instrument requiring minimal space, together with its easy portability, it makes for a useful ‘first’ instrument, or as the choice when space is limited. The ‘practise’ aspect of the virginal can be enhanced by the extended compass that can be incorporated.

This instrument has shown itself to be an excellent all-round workhorse for continuo use, and also has plenty of character for the relevant solo repertoire, from the earliest Italian composers, through the English virginalists, to Scarlatti and Bach.

The original instrument was decorated in two contrasting faux-marble effects, similar to one of my instruments illustrated here; I have created the illusion of a separate inner case by the technique known as ‘false inner-outer’, by lining the inside of the painted case with cypress or cedar veneer, mouldings, etc.


Range GG – d3 transposing A415-440,
or double transposition A392-415-440
Disposition  2 x 8′
Keyboards Boxwood naturals and arcades, ebony-topped walnut accidentals

Painted outer case with cedar or cypress ‘false inner case’, supported by a two-part typical Italian stand.


Dimensions  Length 94″ x 33″ (239 x 87cm)


After Queen Elizabeth’s Virginal – £6800

Italian virginal - William Byrd ' The Bells ' Here

by Gary Cooper