Alan Gotto

For my Italian virginal, I have taken as my model the instrument known as 'Queen Elizabeth's virginals' in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. This is well known as a nicely proportioned, splendidly decorated example of the ubiquitous Italian virginal. Although unsigned and undated, it may be tenuously attributed to the Venetian maker Benedetto Floriani, and probably dates from around 1570.

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 removable hinged lid, and supported by a simple trestle stand.

The sound of the Italian virginal lends itself ideally to the earlier repertiore, 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 is enhanced by the extended compass that can be incorporated.

Alan Gotto and Marianne Verstegen