The Broken Consort

Its name, of Italian origin, means "viola de leg". It is thus opposed to that of the conventional viola, called da braccio (arm), and is due to the way of being grasped by the musician between his legs. Although the expression "viola da gamba" has now been applied in Spanish-speaking countries, the instrument has been called in Castilian in many other forms throughout its history, such as "vihuela de arco"

Already in the Middle Ages there are representations of string instruments, such as fidulas and rabeles, which are played with bows and subjects between the legs of the musicians. It is necessary to wait until the end of century XV to register the first instruments with the own characteristics of the viola da gamba, such as fretboard with frets and the cutouts. Abundant iconographic testimonies of ca. 1500 support the hypothesis that our instrument was created in the dominions of the Crown of Aragon as an evolution of the hand vihuela.

Almost from its origin the viola da gamba was used in sets, now called consorts, formed by violas of various sizes; with them was played polyphonic music (whether or not of vocal origin). The most widespread model has six strings tuned by quarters (with a third largest between the centers) with an extension of Re to re. "The bass guitar, tuned Re-Sol-do-mi-la-re '. , the most used model of the family, from Diego Ortiz (S. XVI) to Abel and Marais (S. XVIII), and is today the basic model in the regulated teaching of the instrument. a variant of seven strings, by adding a more serious string (La,).

The Broken Consort

Some characteristics of the viola are:

- 6 or 7 strings of gut. 7 frets. - C-shaped ears. - Box with drop shoulders and flat bottom.

Other names for the viola are: Gambe (German)
viola da gamba / violone (Portuguese)
viola da gamba (Italian)
viole (French) Moiver uses a "division viol" model H. Jaye (English bass viol, 1624) and Octavio a "division viol" model J. Tielke-Moeck (Hamburg, 1699) built by Jorge Montero.

More news: Press Archives - Kino Border Initiative

  • Adam Floyd