All about musical instrument Viola

All about musical instrument Viola

Viola (from Italian. Viola) is a whole family of stringed bow musical instruments known for at least the XV century. Undeservedly forgotten in the XVIII in. and survived the second birth in XX in., Violas continue to delight connoisseurs of academic music and increasingly attract the attention of composers.

History of origin

It is known for certain that at the turn of the XVI and XVII centuries, the Italian master Litauer was made a new musical instrument. Behind his basis, the author took the Spanish Viuel, which he left with the former construction, but changed the shape of the body and the griff. Next, there was no fundamental change in the design, and the tool existed in pristine form about 200 years. Throughout the era of the revival, the melodic sound of Viol could be heard in church services, aristocratic receptions and folk festivities.

In comparison with the violin, the Viola occupied a higher position – they were considered a noble tool for the nobility, while the violin was more tool streets.

The first viols were quite cumbersome, because of which it was possible to play them only sitting. The performer had to keep the tool vertically, resting him on the thigh either holding between his knees. Such Viola received the prefix “Yes Gamba”, which translated from Italian means “foot”.

A little later, smaller tools appeared, which when playing began to place on the shoulder. They received the prefix “Yes Brachcho”, that translated “by hand”.

The sound of Viol was so melodious that in neighboring countries quickly rated a new tool and even made some changes to it. So, the French to strengthen the sound began to set strings on it, made on new technology. They wrapped the usual strings from Ketgut with silver wire and twisted them.

In addition, it was the French masters that added another string – bass, thus taking 7-stringed tool.

The flourishing of the popularity of the Viola in Europe is rightfully considered to be the beginning of the XVII century. It was during this period that the tool stepped widely into the aristocratic masses, and almost several copies of different sizes were immediately in every wealthy family. England, whose composers have written a great contribution to the development of VIOTS music, perhaps the largest number of writings for VIOL.

However, in the middle of the XVIII century, the old good Viola moved to the background and gave way to a fashionable violin. The public preferred bright and juicy violin sounds to the soft and muted timbre of the Viola, betraying an old tool undeserved oblivion. Among the latest outstanding vibilities of that time, there is a contemporary and colleague Hydena – Karl Friedrich Abel, with the death of which tool more than a century disappeared from a professional academic scene.

Viol’s revival occurred only in the first half of the 20th century by the efforts of such great musicians as Paul Grummer, Christian Debereiner and August Wentinger. They returned the tool to concert scenes and gave him a second life. Throughout the 20th century, slow, but confident restoration of a professional executive school, and today Viola is presented in leading conservatory of Europe and America.


The classification of family tools can be made in size, the number of strings, timbral color, proportions, rank and register.

  • The dimensions of the first Viol were quite varied. Among them were found as models of medium sizes and rather large samples. And only by the XVI century, with the advent of Viol da Gamba and da Braccho, the sizes are mostly standardized.

  • The number of strings changed over time. If the very first tools had 5 strings, then in later samples, their number reached 6 and even 7 pieces. Moreover, to improve the sound under ordinary strings from the mass of the masters, strings made of metal were tightened, the so-called resonant strings. They were not designed for the game and began to sound when vibrations of the main strings, giving the sound a unique, fascinating timbral color.

  • As for proportions, then, for example, in models da Gamba, the length of the strings relative to the body was somewhat less than the same ratio at the variety of da Braccho. The shoulders of the foot samples were more sloped than manual, and the edging – on the contrary, was more massive and expressive.

  • By the end of the XVII century, Violi began to share on soprano, alta, tenors and bass, Moreover, bass models were mainly used as an ensemble tool, while the rest of the species were in demand for solo performances.

It should be noted and modifications of tools, popular in different countries. For instance, Viola Bastarda there was a little more yes gamut and was popular in England, and Viola da Bardon had 7 main, 15 resonant strings and was intended not only for the game with a bow, but also for pizzicato.

Viola Pompoza was invented by Bach and slightly exceeded the size of Alt. Viola Pardus considered the very miniature of the whole family and resembled a violin, and English Violet was very similar to Viola d’amur – elegant tool for lovers.

As it sounds?

Viola is distinguished by an unusually gentle and soft sound, often ancillable sound of resonant strings.

An important distinction of the sound of a viola from the sound of other bow tools is the ability to extract very thin sound nuances, which in their dynamicity could only be compared with the sounds of the clusse.

Melodies for Viol were recorded mainly in menzural notation using a lute tabulation. Thanks to the excellent sound, the Viola was often used as a soloing tool in academic orchestras and Racherkara, Suites and Madrigals were composed.

Interesting Facts

With the family of Viol, many amazing facts are connected, here are the most interesting of them.

  • Famous English Painter Thomas Gainesboro always dreamed of returned in a deserted village and smell playing on Viola.

  • Master John Rose in the manufacture of tools used threads, Decorating the heads of the vultures with images of people and animals.

  • XIV VIOL COLLECTION COLLECTION CROSS PICKER 24 COST. In addition, the “King Sun” played on them.

  • English King-tyrant Heinrich VIII is also pretty virtuoso owned by the instrument. And his collection numbered 19 copies.

  • Composer Josef Gaidn In favor of its owner, the prince of Esterhazi – a large admirer of the game on Viola – wrote for this tool 126 works.

You can hear Viola da Gamba in the following video.

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