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The Early and the “Modern” Viol

The Early and the “Modern” Viol

by Theron McClure

Originally published in Guild of American Luthiers Quarterly, Volume 6, #1, 1978

The study of paintings, drawings, and woodcuts of early viols shows us that all the viols made and played today are copied from those made and used during the final seventy-five years of the three century span of viol playing. In those last years, instruments had been modified to cope with the tonal and advanced technical demands made upon viol players: trio-sonatas required performances of the same degree of virtuosity and lushness of tone possessed by the skilled flautist and violinist of the day, the end of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth centuries.

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