Double virginal (with ottavino)

Ioannes Ruckers1600 circa

Sforzesco Castle

Sforzesco Castle
Milan, Italy

This particular type of instrument is known as moeder-kind, which means "mother-child". Indeed, it is made up of two virginals, a larger one (8- foot register) and a smaller removable one with a 4-foot register tuned one octave higher than the mother’s as its cords length is half the length of the mother’s cords. These instruments could be played either by two performers or the ottavino could be placed on the “mother” instrument, in which case the two virginals could be played at the same time by one musician because the larger keyboard could also activate the son’s jacks. This model was purchased in April 1795 by the organ maker Tommaso Roccatagliata in Santa Margherita Ligure. It was later handed down to the heirs of the Ciurlo family who treasured it in the same town until 1929. Later owned by the Donà delle Rose family in Venice, the virginal was sold by the antiques dealer Antonio Barozzi to Natale Gallini, who in 1961 sold it to the Milan Municipality along with other instruments that formed the original nucleus of the Museum of Musical Instruments at the Sforza Castle.


  • Title: Double virginal (with ottavino)
  • Creator: Ioannes Ruckers
  • Date Created: 1600 circa
  • Location: Comune di Milano - Museo degli Strumenti Musicali
  • Physical Dimensions: w174,3 x h50,8 x d25,2 cm (Without stand)
  • Type: Musical instrument
  • Rights: Comune di Milano - Raccolte Artistiche del Castello Sforzesco.
  • External Link: http://strumentimusicali.milanocastello.it/
  • Medium: Poplar, deal, oak, beech, printed paper
  • Art Form: Musical instrument
  • Original title: Virginale doppio (con ottavino)
  • Artist Nationality: Belgian
  • Artist Death Place: Antwerp (?)
  • Artist Death Date: 1642
  • Artist Birth Place: Antwerp
  • Artist Birth Date: 1578

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