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a. A small, compact upright piano.
b. A small, compact upright electronic organ.
2. A small harpsichord with a single keyboard.

[Obsolete French espinette, from Italian spinetta, perhaps diminutive of spīna, thorn (presumably so called because the strings of the original instrument were plucked with quills); see spinel.]


(spɪˈnɛt; ˈspɪnɪt)
(Instruments) a small type of harpsichord having one manual
[C17: from Italian spinetta, perhaps from Giovanni Spinetti, 16th-century Italian maker of musical instruments and its supposed inventor]


(ˈspɪn ɪt)

1. a small upright piano.
2. any of various small harpsichords.
3. a small electric organ.
[1655–65; aph. variant of obsolete espinette < French < Italian spinetta, probably derivative of spin(a) thorn (see spine)]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.spinet - a small and compactly built upright pianospinet - a small and compactly built upright piano
upright piano, upright - a piano with a vertical sounding board
2.spinet - early model harpsichord with only one string per note
cembalo, harpsichord - a clavier with strings that are plucked by plectra mounted on pivots


[spɪˈnet] Nespineta f


Spinett nt
(US) → Kleinklavier nt
References in classic literature ?
polyandria polygynia); whence you hear the sound of jingling spinets and women singing; where little porter pots hang on the railings sunning themselves; whither of evenings you see City clerks padding wearily: here it was that Mr.
But this appeared extremely difficult: for the spinet was near sixty feet long, each key being almost a foot wide, so that with my arms extended I could not reach to above five keys, and to press them down required a good smart stroke with my fist, which would be too great a labour, and to no purpose.
I could not so readily come at playing on the harpsichord or spinet, because I had no instrument of my own to practice on, and could only come at theirs in the intervals when they left it, which was uncertain; but yet I learned tolerably well too, and the young ladies at length got two instruments, that is to say, a harpsichord and a spinet too, and then they taught me themselves.
Cole, I really was ashamed to look at our new grand pianoforte in the drawingroom, while I do not know one note from another, and our little girls, who are but just beginning, perhaps may never make any thing of it; and there is poor Jane Fairfax, who is mistress of music, has not any thing of the nature of an instrument, not even the pitifullest old spinet in the world, to amuse herself with.
But it turned out to be one of only three known surviving spinets in the world by London maker Edward Blunt - and ended up fetching PS14,000.
detail aspects of harpsichords produced from 1680 to 1725 from a variety of makers, including several single-manual instruments; stringed keyboard instruments from the workshops of eighteenth-century maker Ferdinand Weber, including harpsichords, spinets, and pianos; and criteria for the determination of original stringing in historical keyboard instruments, to help curators, organologists, and restorers in identification.
The mothers have embroidered handmade cloth covers for the two acoustic spinets, given to the school by Orozco and patron, Eugenia de Espinoza.
For example, the rarest music was played in noble and extremely wealthy households, where the human voice at private concerts soared up to the gilded ceilings backed by spinets, lutes and brass instruments.
77) As a result of Hunt's visit to the Kasseler Musiktag, he returned to London prepared to act as an agent in Britain for Ammer Brothers' harpsichords and spinets, Hans Jordan's lutes and viols and Wilhelm Herwig's recorders.
My heart is closed to belles in curlicues, those worshipped beauties of a shopworn age when fingers were for spinets and when feet wore out six pairs of silver-buckled shoes.
This guide purports to be "an introduction to playing historical keyboard instruments rather than a comprehensive survey of the subject" and treats "a range of topics relevant to the performance of music from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century" as they relate "to stringed keyboard instruments," including harpsichords, virginals and spinets, clavichords and early pianos, but excluding the organ (p.