EMV is fortunate to have in our collection a double virginal built in the sixteenth-century Flemish style. Double virginals consist of a large instrument with its keyboard placed off-center, called ‘the mother’, and a small virginal stored next to it and tuned an octave above (‘the child’). While each instrument can be played by itself, the smaller virginal may also be removed and placed on top of the larger one. The keys of the ‘child’ are then activated when those of the ‘mother’ are played, causing both instruments to be played simultaneously. The ‘mother’ of EMV’s instrument is styled after a sixteenth-century virginal built by the Ruckers family, the dynasty of preeminent harpsichord and virginal makers in Europe.
The virginals owned by EMV were built by our Artistic Director Emeritus José Verstappen. These excellent instruments have extensive border decorations by Ray Nurse as well as custom rose patterns on the soundboards.