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A spinet
Other namesSpinnet, Spinnit
Classification Keyboard instrument
Related instruments

A spinet is a small kind of harpsichord. In Renaissance and Baroque times, and even later, people often had a spinet in their homes. The advantage of a spinet was that it was cheaper than a harpsichord and it also took up less room.

Sometimes the word used to be spelt differently, e.g. "spinnet" or "spinnit".

The spinet is different from a harpsichord because of the angle of the strings which run at an angle to the right. The whole instrument is a bit like a triangle in shape. The strings are arranged in pairs and the jacks (the quills which pluck the strings) are also in pairs in the wider gaps, plucking the string next to them.

Harpsichords may have several sounds (in the same way that an organ has several stops making different sounds). This is not possible on a spinet, which has one sound only. It is always an 8-foot sound (the notes sound at the normal pitch, never an octave higher). Spinets were useful for accompanying.

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