Towards a New Perspective on the History of the Viola d’Amore

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It has been widely assumed that the viola d’amore has descended from the viol, and that it began life as either an instrument with “5-wyre strings”, or a small viol with sympathetic strings. However, upon the discovery of four extant small barytons, this theory can be debated, especially when considering the content of Todini’s Galleria Armonica e Matematica in the 17th century. Did the viola d’amore evolve from the baryton? Was Todini the inventor of the viola d’amore or a similar instrument? Is the viola d’amore we know today a viola d’amore? This paper explores, from an organological perspective, the extant small barytons in question, in association with early extant examples of violas d’amore and englische violets. In observing several similarities, and documentation of Todini’s hybrid instrument, a case for the evolution of the viola d’amore from the baryton is made. The paper also addresses the so-called englische violet, and suggests its key role in the viola d’amore’s development.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012
EventInternationale Viola d'amore Congresse - Landesmuseum, Innsbruck, Austria
Duration: 14 Jun 201217 Jun 2012


ConferenceInternationale Viola d'amore Congresse


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