Viennese Bass                                
                                             made by Stefan Krattenmacher,
                                             anno 2012

The Viennese Violone
The Viennese Double Bass, or “Wiener Violone” is a very special type of double bass that was in use during the Viennese classica l period (roughly between 1760 and 1820) in and around Vienna and in the regions that were influenced by that city’s cultural life.
The instrument usually has five strings, sometimes only four. The tuning is the most distinguishing factor : the open strings are tuned to A-D-F#-A (top four strings), with the fifth (bottom) string tuned between low D and F. This tuning makes for a very resonant sound in the keys of D Major and in the neighbouring keys, and facilitates technical virtuosity.
Many solo works were written with this tuning in mind. From the Viennese Period at least 30 double bass concertos have survived, besides a great many chamber music works with virtuoso bass parts. Never before or after has so much music been written for a solo bass than during these few decades, except for modern times.
With the advent of romanticism and the need that composers felt to enlarge the possibilities of modulation to other keys, the Viennese Tuning became obsolete and was forgotten. Bass players tried to play the solo pieces using the modern bass tuned in fourths, usually with less than optimal results, which partly accounts for the poor reputation the double bass as a solo instrument aquired.
In recent times however, the Viennese Tuning has enjoyed a new glory period and is now being used by more and more bass players who want to re-discover the music of Mozart’s time the way it should sound. Entire websites are consecrated to the “renaissance” of the Viennese Violone. More information can be found at

Korneel Le Compte
Principal Double Bass
National Opera "La Monnaie"

ウイーン式コントラバス別名ウイーン風ビオローネは、ウイーン古典派時代( 1760-182頃)

コルネル ル コント

                       Viola d'amore
                       made by Pierre Van Engeland, anno 2011

                                         Viola d'amore made by Leclerc, Paris
                                                                              +- 1750

The Viola d’Amore
The viola d'amore was mainly in use during the 17th and 18th centuries.
The instrument is held on the left shoulder like a violin, although it belongs to the gamba family. It has a flat back and is tuned to an open chord, most often D major.
The viola d’amore exists with different numbers of strings, usually six or seven of which are played with the bow and up to seven so-called “sympathic” strings that pass under the fingerboard and that resonate freely with the bowed strings, thus producing a silvery, resonant sound quality.
This special, ethereal sound has always fascinated composers, such as Biber, Leclerc, Vivaldi and Telemann. Leopold Mozart wrote that it was the “sweetest-sounding” instrument. Bach used the viola d’amore on several occasions in his cantatas, and in two arias from the St. Johns passion.
In the middle of the 18th century the instrument started to disappear. With its open tuning to a fixed chord, modulation to different tonalities was difficult and the rather limited sound volume made it a less obvious choice for composers, now that the other instruments became more powerful. The same fate was reserved for the viola da gamba, which all but disappeared from the musical scene.
However, in the 19th century, some composers showed a renewed interest in the viola d’amore. Janacek used it on several occasions to represent an emotional “inner voice”, most notably in his opera Katia Kabanova. Puccini used the instrument to great effect in his opera Madame Butterfly. Unfortunately, these viola d’amore parts are often played by the violin or the viola because good players of the original instrument can be hard to find.
Hindemith, himself an accomplished player of many instruments and especially of the viola d’amore, wrote a sonata and several other pieces for the instrument. Swiss-born composer Frank Martin wrote a church-sonata for organ and viola d’amore. Modern composers have re-discovered the exceptional sound of the instrument.
Thus it would seem that the viola d'amore, once on its way to extinction, has risen from its ashes and is now enjoying a renaissance.
I think this is a good thing. Playing and hearing this instrument, the flow of time is somehow changed and the human “inner voice” can once again be heard. 
Maybe, in this day and age, that is exactly what we need.
Haruko Tanabe
National Opera “La Monnaie”

ビオラ ダモーレ について
viola d'amore は、主に17,18世紀に活躍をした、ガンバ種の楽器です。
f の くり抜きの形がガンバのようになっているせいだといわれます。
ヤナーチェックはその代表格だといえるでしょう。彼の代表オペラ、カテイア カバノバでは、主人公の
女性、カテイアの内面の声、という役でビオラ ダモーレにとても大事なパートを演奏させています。
ピンカートンの帰りを待つ、有名なハミング コーラスに部分でもこの楽器をとても効果的に
その他、スイス生まれの作曲家、フランク マルタンも、オルガンとの名曲、教会ソナタを書きました。
田辺  晴子