SPINET (Italian spinetta, French epinette, Spanish espineta, German Spinett, from Latin spina – thorn, thorn) is a small domestic keyboard-plucked stringed musical instrument of the XNUMXth-XNUMXth centuries. As a rule, it was desktop and did not have its own legs. A kind of cembalo (harpsichord).
Outwardly, the spinet is a bit like a piano. It is a body standing on four stands. It has a 3-6-coal trapezoidal or oval shape (in contrast to the rectangular virginal).
The main part of the body is the keyboard. There is a cover on top, lifting which you can see the strings, tuning pegs and the stem. All these components are in the oven. The height of the instrument can reach eighty centimeters, and the width – no more than one and a half meters.
Each key corresponds to 1 string. Unlike other varieties of harpsichord, the spinet strings are angled to the right of the keyboard. The spinet has 1 manual, the range is 2-4 octaves.
The origin of the name “spinet” (from “thorn”) reflected the peculiarity of the technique of sound production – it is produced by pulling (“pinch”) the string with the sharp end of the bird’s feather stem. The spinet was tuned a fifth or an octave higher than the grand vane.
The earliest spinets come from Italy and date back to the beginning of the 5th century. Among them, there are many instruments of 6 or 1493-sided shape (with a keyboard on the longest side). The earliest surviving specimen was made by A. Passy in Modena (Italy), the second spinet, also of Italian work (XNUMX), is kept in Cologne.
2 instruments (1565 and 1593) are in the State Central Museum of Musical Culture named after M.I. Glinka in Moscow.
In Italy, winged spinets were also invented of the type that was especially popular in England, displacing by the end of the XNUMXth century. rectangular virginal as the most common instrument for home music making. The bodies of the spinets were made of ebony, inlaid with expensive materials – ivory, mother-of-pearl.
Significant maxims were placed on the hinged lid: “Gloria in excelsis” (lat.) – “Glory in heaven” or “Haec fac ut felix vivis” (lat.) – “Do so that you live happily.” Rich decoration made it the same decoration of the house as beautiful furniture. It was placed in a walnut case, fastened to the lid with thin copper screws, and had an oak or mahogany stand.
The spinet was intended for solo and chamber home music-making. Miniature spinets, tuned an octave higher than musical notation (Italian spinetti or ottavina), were often made in the form of handicraft boxes, books, etc., decorated with gilding, carving, and inlay.
In Russian court life in con. 17th century there were such spinets called “okhtavki”. At present, the spinet is more of a museum piece than a musical instrument, but this is not an axiom. Recently, one can state an increase in interest in the instruments of antiquity. That is why the spinet is now experiencing a rebirth, which, undoubtedly, will have the most favorable impact on world musical culture.