As the name suggests, the spinettino is a small spinet that sounds one octave higher owing to the shorter string length. This so-called four-foot pitch corresponds to the standard size of instruments of the late 15th and early 16th centuries. To obtain maximum resonance, the body of Italian instruments was made of very thin cypress wood. For protection the instruments were kept in a stable outer case which was often decorated with elaborate ornamentation, as this instrument shows. The instrument is from Ambras Castle in Tyrol and was part of the castle’s Kunst- und Wunderkammer. It is one of the earliest surviving spinettini that are still playable. (rh)
Lit.: Rudolf Hopfner: Masterpieces from the Collection of Historic Musical Instruments. A Short Guide through the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Vol. 1, Vienna 2019
2nd half of the 16th century (assigned)
680 mm x 450 mm x 200 mm
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente
Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente, 121
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