A barretone, an instrumentt of musicke: its history, influences and development pre-1750

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The baryton is generally considered to have been invented in England at the start of the seventeenth century, although this term is not used in England until 1685. Until now, the baryton has been studied in relative isolation, acknowledging its music and historical references, but with limited consideration given to its organological context and construction. This article looks to address the history of the baryton from an organological standpoint, considering the historical literature; the questionable role of Daniel Farrant in the baryton’s creation; the influence of the poliphant and stump on the baryton’s use of additional sets of wire strings; and the position of the often-associated lyra viol. Additionally, the construction of the early baryton is assessed with reference to the earliest extant baryton by Magnus Feldlen, while an instrument by Johann Andreas Kämbl highlights the adaptations made to many barytons during the mid to late eighteenth century in light of changing musical fashions. It is therefore suggested that the baryton is more closely linked to the poliphant than either the stump or the lyra viol, and that early barytons probably had at least three sets of strings, with the extended bass side of the bridge serving the third set.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-107
Number of pages23
JournalThe Galpin Society journal
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


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