minstrel: viola d'amore

Christopher Gregory krummhorn at hotmail.com
Sat Apr 15 13:17:11 PDT 2000

Whoa, I haven't heard this instrument ever mentioned by anyone but my
director in the Early Music Ensemble here at tech.  It appears to be one of
those baroque expreiments in sympathetic strings, like the Hardanger fiddle.
There are 12 to 16 strings, but only four are bowed.  The rest pass under
the fingerboard and through the bridge, and vibrate sympathetically with the
four bowed strings.  Another instrument to look at if you like the sound of
the Viola D'Amore is the Baryton, which has 40 strings (6 bowed, like the
Viola Da Gamba) of which some can be plucked through the back of the neck.
Mozart wrote a piece for this freak of the string family, but I don't know
of any composers off the top of my head who wrote for Viola D'Amour.
Lark in the morning has one for sale, and you can see a picture on their web
site.  It's really unusual, so it's also incredibly expensive as well.

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