Bass Viola da Gamba

attributed to John Rose British

Not on view

Viols, the most esteemed bowed instruments of the late Renaissance, were only gradually displaced by the violin family. Viols differ from violins chiefly in shape, in number of strings and tuning, and in having fretted necks. All viols are played in an upright position between the knees or on the legs ("gamba" means "leg"), and the bow is held palm upward. The sound is less brilliant and quieter than that of the violin family of instruments. Chamber music for a consort of four to six viols was composed during the Renaissance and Baroque eras, and solo works for the bass viol were being played until nearly the end of the eighteenth century. This instrument is of the type known as a division viol, measuring between two and three inches shorter than a consort viol.

Most surviving viols signed by or attributed to John Rose were likely made by the younger of a father and son pair of luthiers who went by the same name, and who worked in Bridewell, London, in the sixteenth century. While John Rose senior was among the earliest known of English viol makers, his son was among the most celebrated, and regarded as "the finest of all viol makers" in Thomas Mace's Musick's Monument of 1676. This instrument, dated ca. 1600, is attributed to the younger John Rose.

Description: Repeatedly altered; high arched, three-piece spruce table with wing added on left lower bout probably dates from 18th century rebuilding as a cello; table edges are doubled and purfling does not match that of the maple back and ribs which bear floral and zoomorphic decoration incised with a hot needle; ribs were cut down, then widened and doubled with cross-grain beech; two-piece back of small horizontal figure has lower wings, of which the right is new; all internal parts as well as fittings, neck, grafted pegbox and scroll appear to be replacements (Karel Moens, 1991)

#Paduana del Re, anonymous, Spain, 16th c. Amy Domingues, Shirley Hunt, and Elizabeth Weinfeld, viols and Jude Ziliak, violin. Performing using instruments 1976.8.37, 1989.44, 1988.365, and 1974.229. October 1, 2014.

Bass Viola da Gamba, attributed to John Rose (British), Wood, British

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