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date: 18 January 2020

Split keylocked

Extract

In keyboard instruments, particularly organs, harpsichords and virginals, a key that is divided or ‘split’ into two parts. Most commonly it is the raised ‘sharp’ keys in the bass octaves that are so split, but occasionally natural keys may be divided also (e.g. on an instrument by Giovanni Battista Boni ). The front part is about one third of the length of the whole, and usually the back part is set slightly higher to facilitate playing. Each part has its own key-lever and playing action so that two notes are available. Split keys have been used for two purposes: (a) to permit sounding additional chromatic degrees in non-equal temperaments (when, for example, E♭ and D♯ or G♯ and A♭ are not enharmonically equivalent; see Enharmonic keyboard ); (b) in a broken octave ( see Broken octave ): a variation of the Short octave in which the lowest raised keys are divided so that the front part provides the pitch that would be expected of it in a normal short octave and the rear part sounds the accidental that would be found in a chromatic octave....

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