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braccio’ and ‘gamba


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All viols were held downwards and to them was given the general name of viole da gamba, i.e. ‘leg‐viols’, a description afterwards restricted to latest survivor of the family, bass viol. The smaller members of the vn. family were held on the shoulder, and, by analogy, all members of this family (incl. even those which from their size had to be held downwards) came to be called viole da braccio, i.e. ‘arm‐viols’. Later this term became limited to the alto vn., i.e. the va. (still in Ger. called Bratsche).

Subjects: Music.


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