Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/295

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VIOLIN.

d'Amore) : the next largest size was called the Violino d'Amore, and in its later type was a Violin rather than a Viol. It usually has peg- holes for five sympathetic strings: there exists a very curious one by Stradivari, guitar-shaped. 1 The Tenor size became more generally known as the Viola d'Amore, an instrument in very general use in Italy and Germany in the I7th and 1 8th centuries. The instrument is invaria- bly made with * flaming-sword ' soundholes, and often has a ' rose ' under the finger-board. The sympathetic strings, of fine brass or steel wire, are attached by loops at the bottom to small ivory pegs fixed in the bottom block above the tail-pin; they are then carried through small holes drilled in the lower part of the bridge, under the finger-board, which is hollowed for the purpose, and over an ivory nut immediately below the upper nut, into the peg-box. In the earlier instruments the sympathetic strings are worked by pegs similar to those of the gut-strings : but the later plan was to attach them to small wrest- pins driven vertically into the sides of the peg- box, and tune them with a key, a preferable method in all respects. The sympathetic appa- ratus was of two species, the diatonic and the chromatic, the former consisting of six or seven, the latter of twelve or more strings. In the former species the strings are tuned to the diatonic scale, the lowest note being usually D, and the intervals being adapted by flattening or sharp- ening to the key of the piece in performance. In the chromatic description this is unnecessary, there being twelve strings, one for each semitone in the scale, so that every note played on the instrument has its sympathetic augmentation. Sometimes a double set (24) of sympathetic strings was employed. In the classical age of this instrument, the time of Bach and Vivaldi, it was tuned by fourths and a third like the tenor viol. Following the example of the Viola da Gamba, a seventh string was added about the beginning of the last century, and ultimately the so-called 'harp-way' tuning of the Lute and Viola da Gamba came to be generally adopted, which was ultimately modified thus :

��VIOLIN.

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���The latter tuning was most employed, and is used in the well-known obligate part in Meyer- beer's ' Huguenots.' The Viola d'Amore is a sin- gularly beautiful and attractive instrument, but the inherent difficulties of execution are not easily surmounted, and as every forte note pro- duces a perfect shower of concords and har- monics, all notes which will not bear a major

i Now In the possession of P. Johns. Esq. The instrument was probably tuned like the ordinary violin, and the five sympathetic strings tuned to c, d, e. f, and g, the sympathetic tuning being how- ever varied to suit the key.

���third require to be very lightly touched. The illustration represents a diatonic Viola d'Amore dated 1757, by Kauch of Mannheim.

FIG. 12. The ' English Violet '

mentioned by Mozart and Albrechtsberger is identi- cal with the Viola d'Amore : the former applies the name to the chromatic Viola d'Amore, to which he as- signs fourteen sympathetic strings, the latter to a common Viola d'Amore having six instead of seven strings. Why the Germans called it 'English' is a mystery, for the writer has never met with nor heard of a true Viola d'Amore of English make. The'Vio- letta Marina,' employed by Handel in the air ' Gia 1'ebro mio ciglio ' (Orlando), and having a compass as low as tenor E, appears also to be simply the Viola d'Amore.

The Viola da Gamba with sympathetic strings was at first known as the Viola Bastarda, but after undergoing considerable mechanical im- provements in the sympathetic apparatus, it be- came the well-known Barytone, the favourite instrument of the musical epicures of the last century. [See BARYTONE.] The seventh string added to the Viola da Gamba by Marais was usually employed in the Barytone. The sympa- thetic apparatus of the Barytone is set in a separate metal frame, and has an independent bridge.

The disuse of instruments with sympathetic strings is easily explained. They added little or nothing to the existing means of producing masses of musical sound. They were essentially solo instruments, and were seldom employed in the orchestra. Nothing but continuous use in professional hands in the orchestra will keep a musical instrument from going out of fashion : and it invariably happens that the disuse of in- struments in the orchestra only shortly precedes their disuse in chamber music. The practical ex- tinction of these instruments is to be regretted. Originally invented as a means of augmenting the tone of the Viol, they acquired a character entirely unique, and are undoubtedly capable of further development.

The early employment of the Violin and Tenor Violin in the orchestra left the Treble and Tenor Viols exclusively in the hands of amateurs, who only slowly relinquished them. The pure school of concerted viol-playing seems to have held its ground longest in England : the * Fantasies ' of Gibbons, 2 and those of many other composers, which repose in manuscript in the libraries,

2 Edited by Bimbault for the Musical Antiquarian Society. The Preface is full of Interesting Information as to viol music.

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