Neither English nor a viola — the Englische Violet undressed

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Often overlooked as an anomaly of the viola d’amore family, the englische violet, or viola angelica, may be the missing link between the baryton and modern viola d’amore. With no iconographical, and little literary or printed music sources surviving, it has been suggested that the englische violet’s larger size and greater number of sympathetic strings were employed to create a viola d’amore with a stronger tone. However, with a longer string length and similarities to the octave baryton, it can be argued that the englische violet is a separate instrument, initially coexisting alongside the original wire strung viola d’amore during the seventeenth century. Made predominantly in the Alpine region of Germany and Austria, the englische violet was most likely an instrument for the wealthy with its elaborate festooned outlines and carved pegboxes, as seen on extant examples today. With particular focus on the instruments of Paulus Alletsee of Munich, this paper looks to undress the englische violet, and examine its relationship to the baryton and viola d’amore, establishing its position within the sympathetic string family.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013
EventMusical Instruments – History, Science and Culture - University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Duration: 25 Jul 201329 Jul 2013


ConferenceMusical Instruments – History, Science and Culture
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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