The Viol: History of an Instrument (Hardback)

Otterstedt, Annette

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Otterstedt The Viol: History of an Instrument (Hardback)

The successful book by Annette Otterstedt, “Die Gambe . Kulturgeschichte und praktischer Ratgeber“ is made available in an English version.

The author has revised the original edition thoroughly, taking in the most recent results of research, which is particularly obvious in the enlarged chapters on the early history of the instrument, women playing the viols, the practice of viol consort, transposition and pitch, and a newly added chapter on the 20th-century viol. 

This is not merely a standard work for viol players and early music enthusiasts: it is as yet without equal as a brilliantly written, exemplary introduction into the world of an instrument.

Baerenreiter Germany


  1. Acknowledgements
  2. Hat, Stick, and Boots: A Brief Philosophical Introduction
  3. Humanism and Rhetoric
  4. Back to the Sources
  5. All Ye Saints, Come to My Aid
  6. Part One - The Life and Opinions of a Princess
  7. Prelude: Daughter of Orient and Occident
  8. The Curtain Rises
  9. A Noble Page in Hiding: The Viol in France, 1550-1630
  10. The Humanists' Delight: Italy, 1550-1630
  11. The Entranced Smile: Germany, 1550-1630
  12. Rainy Days in Consort: England, 1550-1630
  13. First Legend of the Saints: The Grandee of the Viol, Alfonso Ferrabosco (c. 1575-1628)
  14. Years of no Grace in the Country, England after 1630
  15. Second Legend of the Saints: Three Stars in Epiphany William Lawes, John Jenkins, Christopher Simpson
  16. Hard Times on the Continent: Central Europe in the Second Half of the 17th Century
  17. Northern Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, Southern Germany, and Bohemia
  18. The Huguenots's Maiden Friend: France after 1630
  19. Third Legend of the Saints: The Last of the Humanists, Le Sieur de Sainte Colombe (d. before 1700)
  20. In the Royal Sun: France in the Late 17th Century
  21. An Unseemly Instrument? Viol-Playing Women
  22. The Decline and Fall in the Roman Empire: The 18th Century
  23. Suspended Animation: The 19th Century
  24. The Principle of Hope: The 20th Century
  25. Part Two - Meeting the Family
  26. A Word about Respectability
  27. The Respublica of Consort
  28. The 16th Century, The 17th Century, Instrumentation, The Instruments, The Role of the Organ, The Music
  29. No Less Swift than the Violin itself: The Bass Viol
  30. The Viola Bastarda, The Division Viol, The Lyra Viol, Other Viols with Sympathetic Strings, The Seven-Stringed Bass Viol
  31. The Slighted Inner Part: The Tenor Viol
  32. Sweet, but too Weak: The Treble Viol, Treble Viol and Dessus de Viole, Pardessus de Viole and Quinton
  33. A Royal Rumble: The Violone
  34. A Humanist Parody: The Arpeggione
  35. Observations on Viol Construction Renaissance, Italian, English, French and German Viols and the Late Period
  36. Conversions, Forgeries, Reconstructions
  37. Pitch
  38. Transposition
  39. The Well-Tuned Violdigamb, Germany, France, Italy and Spain in the 16th Century
  40. France in the 17th and 18th Centuries, England in the 17th Century, The Violone
  41. The Well-Tempered Viol: Muiscal Temperament
  42. The Salt and Mustard of Music: Ornamentation "Artificioso" and "Graceful" Play, Should One Ornament in Consort?, The Well-Shaped Lady's Leg
  43. Aspects of Playing Technique, Holding the Instrument
  44. The Left Hand "Holds" and "Tenues", Position of the Left Thumb, Open String or Stopped String?, Changing Positions, Treble-Viol Fingering
  45. The Right Hand, The Use of the Bow, Forms of Articulation
  46. Part Three - Maintaining a Princess in Style
  47. A Word about Quality, What is a Good Instrument?, How to Procure a Good Instrument
  48. The Well-Appointed Viol, Construction and Materials, Ornaments, The Varnish, Accessories
  49. The Bow
  50. Beauty in Eclipsa: Conclusion
  51. Appendix: Notes
  52. Bibliography
  53. Index
  54. List of Illustrations

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