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The Sounds of Elizabethan Times The Elizabethan Era was a time when music and art were growing more and more each day This time period also known as the English Renaissance is still well known for its styles and sound of music Queen Elizabeth herself was a musician and played both the lute and the virginal It was thought that the virginal was named after Elizabeth the Virgin Queen Other instruments were popular during this time period were the spinet and the viol All of these are stringed instruments The lute is played by plucking the strings with the fingers The most popular instrument of these days was the lute which was used in story telling as well as for musical purposes The wooden instrument looks somewhat like a guitar except the head is bent backwards at a 90 degree angle There are frets on the lute as on the guitar also Unlike the guitar though the lute can have as many as thirteen pairs of strings running the length of the body This characteristic makes it very difficult to play and almost impossible to keep in tune The lute fell out of popularity fairly quickly because of these problems with tuning and the requirement of extreme talent The viol is much different it is played with a bow made out of string that is played against the strings on the instrument The spinet is a piano-like instrument in which each key has a string that is hit with a soft mallet when the key is pressed The popularity of stringed instruments grew tremendously during the Renaissance period because of the amount of expression that is possible when a musician is playing one of these beautiful relaxing instruments The Renaissance era was one of the most productive time periods in history as far as the advancement of music goes Music became much more expressive and the sound and quality of the instruments
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