Tenor viola

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The tenor viola (also viola tenore ) is a string instrument that went out of use in the late 18th century .


Like the viola, it was tuned a fifth lower than the violin , namely in C gda ′, and occasionally a fifth lower and was notated in the tenor clef. (The "normal" viola / viola nowadays is notated in the alto clef or viola clef). The tenor viola was usually played hanging on a ribbon in front of the chest, which is why it was also called viola da spalla (shoulder viola). In the orchestra of the Baroque period, especially in " French orchestras ", which were present in a comparable line-up at many German royal courts, she had her own voice between the viola (haute contre, about 37.5 cm), a slightly larger tenor viola ( Called waist, about 45 cm), the quinte de violon (52 cm) and the cello or violone . The different sound character (resonances), which was achieved by the different sizes of the three viola types, was desired.


  • Around 1875, the musician and composer Hermann Ritter had a tenor viola made with a body length of 48 cm, which was then oversized.
  • Later, there were attempts (in G - d - a - e 'tuned) Tenor Viola (also called tenor violin and Violon tenor ) to re-introduce in a modified form, as violotta of Alfred Stelzner and Oktavgeige .
  • The French violinist and composer Jacques Dupriez had a similar instrument made, which he calls a baritone violin and is tuned an octave lower than a violin. For this purpose he composed several works and transcribed numerous well-known works by other composers. Among other things, Nicolas Bacri created several works in which the instrument is used.
  • A current form is the viola profonda , which was designed, developed, named and patented in its complete form by the Bolivian composer, conductor and musical instrument developer Gerardo Yaňez.

Individual evidence

  1. Erich Valentin : Handbuch der Musikinstrumentenkunde. Gustav Bosse, Regensburg 1954, p. 139.
  2. Laulhère Chitto, Cani Paramo: 24 Violons du Roi: L'orchester de Lully. In: violons-du-roy.org. 2014, accessed June 11, 2018 (French).
  3. Erich Valentin : Handbuch der Musikinstrumentenkunde. Gustav Bosse, Regensburg 1954, p. 426.
  4. Jacques Dupriez: The Baritone Violin. In: Author's website. January 11, 2011, accessed June 11, 2018 .