Viole d’amore were being built as early as the 17th century and were primarily the instruments of the connoisseur. They were played as a solo instrument or in chamber ensembles. Vivaldi, Stamitz and other composers wrote concerti for the instrument. The body of the viola d’amore is largely the same as that of the gamba. Like this instrument, it has sloping shoulders, a flat back and no protruding edges. The number of playing strings - usually six, on later instruments occasionally seven - was also the same as the viola da gamba. In addition to these strings, the above-mentioned resonating strings are strung beneath the fingerboard. The number varies from six to fourteen. The tuning of the fingered strings is not standardised and can vary according to the key of the piece. Tunings to a D major or D minor chord are common. Double stops and chords are readily playable on the instrument and are typical of the sound of the viola d’amore. (rh)
Lit.: Rudolf Hopfner: Masterpieces from the Collection of Historic Musical Instruments. A Short Guide through the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Vol. 1, Vienna 2019
Southern Germany (assigned)
early 18. century
785 mm x 410 mm x 90 mm
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente
Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente, 397
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