Lemont, PA 16851
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Virginal after Lodewijk Grouwels, Middelburg, 1600
C/E-c3 (45 or 47 notes), A-370 (original) or A-415. 186 x 50 cm (73 x 20 in).
Around the middle of the 17th century, Ioannes Couchet started to break away from the usual conservative Ruckers models, and he began to build instruments with extended bass compasses and alternate dispositions. This example from the Metropolitan Museum was originally a large single, 8' 4', descending to FF, but sounding at the higher of the two pitches commonly used by the Ruckers and Couchet shops (A-466). The instrument can be built with the original keyboard and pitch, but most modern players will prefer a GG-d3 compass pitched a whole tone lower (A-415). The original in the MMA was eventually rebuilt into a double-manual instrument in the 18th-century Flemish style, with a dogleg coupler and a nasal lute register.
Single: FF,GG,AA-c3 (A-466) or GG-d3 (A-415), 8' 4' or 8' 8', buff. 219 x 87 cm (86 x 34 in).
Additional Flemish Instruments of Interest
Harpsichord after Ioannes Ruckers, Antwerp, 1642.
Originally a standard Ruckers two-manual transposer, this instrument underwent the usual alterations to install aligned keyboards (GG/BB-d3) and to add a second 8' choir. The case was never enlarged, however. The original four-register configuration was also retained, one of which was converted to a dogleg rank. This allows registrational flexibility, including the use of both eight-foot choirs uncoupled. Players seeking a small, easily transported double may find this instrument to be an excellent choice.
I have also examined 16th-century virginals by Karest, J. Grouwels, Bos, Van der Biest, and Hans Ruckers, and I would welcome inquiries for these instruments. The instrument by J. Grouwels is particularly interesting since it has plucking points that are intermediate between the nasal spinet style and the flutey muselar style, sounding somewhat like a small Flemish harpsichord.