A viol is a musical string bowed instrument. It is Similar to a cello in many ways. The viola da gamba is an instrument which gets played between the legs. This is the reason why it got named viola da gamba. It is necessary to note that Viola da gamba is not a direct ancestor violin. This is because it has a relationship between the two other musical instruments. This instrument appeared first in the late 15th century in Europe. It became one of the most popular Baroque and Renaissance musical instruments. These Viols got originally produced primarily in the music, ensemble, or consort.

From the historical point of view, this instrument has many different sizes and shapes. In the 16th century, the viola got produced in a standard shape with sloping shoulders, broad ribs, and a, fretted neck and fairly flat. Some of the common viol sizes are: Pardessus (high treble), Treble, Alto, Small tenor, Tenor, Bass and Violin (contrabass). It is vital to note that the treble, bass, and tenor viols were popular members of the consort.

Bass viols were originally tailored for specific repertoires

Division Viol: This was an English bass viola da gamba. It was used in the 17th century to perform ornamentation for free during functions. These became possible by varying melodies given. This simply means that European viola bastarda was equivalent to the consort bass viol. However, it was larger than thelyra viol.

Lyra viol: This was a bass viol, small in size. It was popular during the 17th century. However, this viola differed from the divisional viola and the standard bass viol. It is necessary to note that the tablature notation pre-dominantly played a vital role. The original sources of the bass include parts of lyra viol, and lyra viol song accompaniment. Composers played more than 60 different tunings.

Viola Bastarda:  This is an Italian tune that got played between the 16th and 17th century. It is an equivalent of the popular English Division Viol.

Where the viol music was first heard

It is fascinating to note that the Viol music got first heard in Europe and England. In England, there is a unusually rich history of viol performers and composers. Henry VIII is one of the Italian players who engaged and played a complete consort. This was a royal patronage that inspired performance and composition in the English schools. In this way, it fueled remarkable composers and players such as Byrd, Jenkins, William Lawes and Purcell.

Why the viol faded from use

The viols have a long history in Greece. It got best heard in combination with many other viols.  This was because the harmonies blended. The rhythms get matched, and the tone is of good quality. In this case, it becomes one of the most appreciated musical instruments in a small space. The violin was popular in the 17th century. However, in the 18th century, the viol was no longer competing. This is because concert halls required larger sounds. Therefore, the viol did not get heard clearly in the concert halls. This means that the viol is a premiere instrument to choose. However, solo concerts, attracted and laid the groundwork for the virtuoso violin rebirth.

In the 20th century, the violin has raised a resurgence of interest on the same. Organizations and Institutions all over the world continue to perform and teach this music.

The viola da gamba is a unique stringed music instrument that got developed during the Renaissance period. Viola da gamba is flat-edged musical instruments with frets.  It is a musical instrument that gets held and supported upright between legs. Viola da gamba means a unique leg viol. It gets played across the lap as a plucked instrument. In this case, Viola da gamba is a hugely popular instrument. The instrument is in different sizes.  Some of the most popular violas are bass, tenor and tremble sizes. The unique Bass viola da gamba is similar in shape and size.

The viola de gamba has a bow that is convex like a bow. The bow goes by the name Baroque. The bow gets held facing upwards. The stick of the viola gets held between the thumb and forefinger. In this way, it allows regulation by the middle finger of the player.  In this case, it moves with the weight of the arm across the string rather than downward. It is fascinating to note that Violin techniques start from a stroke.

The construction of the same gets coupled with tension from the strings. This helps to makes it highly responsive and resonant. Tones and accents get created by control of the tension using the middle finger. This is a musical instrument that is effective. This is because it uses a bowing technique to create rich textures, defined notes and clear notes. The instrument enhances amusing sounds from the left hand and the frets. However, the string can be stopped behind the fret. This helps to produce open string sounds. The viol got introduced in the Ancient Greece during 15th century. Its fame quickly spread to different parts of Greece. It eventually became popular all over Greece.  The Viola popularity encouraged and inspired the history of viol performers and composers In Greece, the viola da gamba reappeared again in the 19th century. During this time, many people became interested in the earlier centuries music. This instrument is an outspokenly instrument which makes an integral education part. It can be compared to the lute, harpsichord and singing. The violin gets principally used to play serious music from cultured surroundings. The violin gets used by professional musicians and minstrels. It gets used as an accompaniment for entertainment and dancing. In this way, it gets considered as suitable instruments for gentle breeding persons.

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From the historic times, violins were instruments developed built in groups and families. These instruments represented different ranges of the human voice which include; Bass, Alto, Tenor, Soprano. The consort in the viol comprises of different sized instruments such as treble, bass and tenor. These are the most common sizes. It is fascinating to note that two tenors, two Bases and two trembles constitute a chest of viols. This gets ideally built on a simple maker. However, the consort base and counts works in seven players from top to bottom. This is an extremely delicate tone which has a uniform, rich and even tone. The Viola da gamba gets  related to other stringed instruments such as; Rebec, Viola da branccio, Viola da amore, Vila di fagotto, Viola pomposa and Violetta amongst many others./p>


Rebec is a bowed stringed instrument. It originated from the 10th century. The Rebec gets used mostly in European art music festivals from Middle Ages, Renaissance top date.  It is appealing to note that the instrument comes in two different forms namely; pear-shaped and straight & narrow form. It has a pegbox which is right-angled but can also be sickle-shaped. The strings in the instrument varied from one to five or more.  It is necessary to note that the instrument get tuned in a 1545. This helps to give g-d'-a', c-g'-d' and F-G-d-a clear codes.  It is vital to note that the Rebec got played in concerts, processions and dances.

Viola da Braccio

This instrument was popular between the 16th and 17th centuries. It is a bowed string instrument that gets played on the arm.

Viola D'amore

This musical instrument was popular between 17th and 18th centuries. It has the same size as the viola. However, it does not have the same characteristics. It has a flat back, sloping shoulders and a carved head.  It is engrossing to note that this instrument has 14 strings, seven bowed with a normal tuning A-d-a-d'-f#'-a'-d'. The other tones get either sympathetic or tuned to the same notes. The sound from this instrument is soft and sweet. In this way, it gets used to play, especially high emotional content.

Viola di Fagotto

This is a string instrument which has a range of a cello. It gets played like a viola.  However, some of the strings get over spun. These strings get spun with copper wire in order to produce a buzzing sound.

Viola Pomposa

This is a bowed string instrument which has five strings. It gets played while on the arm. It uses a or d -g-d'-a'-e'' tuning. It was popular between 1725 and 1770.


This stringed instrument was popular between 17th and 18th centuries’. It is a small, three-string instrument. It has sympathetic string used by Handel in Orlando (1733).

All these instruments are violin family instruments. The instruments can be compared with lighter construction and lower string tension instruments. This help to give ample resonance, responsiveness and a reedy tone to the same. In this way, the tone becomes delicate and sweet. It is vital to note that the viol does not obstruct dignity with its expressiveness. This is because the instrument is capable of revitalizing moans of despair, sullen growls, and flights of lyricism. The viol got initially developed from guitar family member known as "vihuela" in Greece. Many musicians from Italy and England in 1400s discovered this fact. Since then, the violin’s fame spread quickly to the rest of the world. Other like musical instruments used by working class musicians in dance bands are in the same family.

The Viol Revival

Viols got placed in closets and musical museums for many years until the 19th century. During this time, European scholars rediscovered, restored and recreated different period instruments. In the 20th century, an increased popularity of "authentic" performances has been marked. This has helped in the spread viol use among professionals and amateurs. In the recent times, contemporary musicians and composers have produced and developed violin for music for flowering. In the recent times, violin music has received a boost. From different research carried out, it has gottenestablished that more than 80 players play the violin. Many concerts and regional workshops have flourished from the same. For example, west held in San Luis Obispo in August. Such gatherings  have not only focused  on consort playing at different  levels but have also offered different  classes in techniques, older  music forms of notation, contemporary music, singing with viols, instrument making, and genres. These genres are not often heard on the viol--jazz, blues, Cajun and mariachi. It is engrossing to note that Viols were welcome at early music gatherings from historical times. Also, they have become welcomed in jam sessions and wherever people make music in the recent times.


In the recent times, the viola has not only attracted more interest but has also particularly attracted interest among amateur music players. This is because of the increased availability and reasonable prices of instruments. This has enhanced accessibility to music editions and musical instruments. The viola da gamba gets mostly regarded to as an instrument for professional or adult learners. The Greece plus other societies has received an increase in the violin. The first interest for the Viola da Gamba was in the United Kingdom in the year 1948 which has spread all over the world.


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