Viola da gamba

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by kaveneyp
Last updated 7 years ago

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Viola da gamba

A Brief Introduction to the Viola da gamba

The members of the viol family are tuned accordingly:Bass(A')-D-G-c-e-a-d'TenorG-c-f-a-d'-g'Trebled-g-c'-e'-a'-d"

The viola da gamba (also known as a viol or simply a gamba) comes in three main voice ranges: bass (the most common), tenor, and treble. During the English Renaissance, playing in viol consorts involved any combination of these different voices playing together and was a common pastime amongst the burgeoning middle class and the wealthy.

The French were instrumental in promoting the viola da gamba as a virtuosic solo instrument. Indeed, French baroque music abounds with a plethora of gamba music in both solo and chamber arrangements. One of the cornerstone composers for the instrument was Marin Marais (pictured to the right), a prodigy who outshone his instructor early on and who maintained an illustrious career in the courts of Louis XIV and Louis XV at Versailles during the last 49 years of his life.

Find more gamba resources here!

Marin Marais (1656-1728)


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