This volume addresses the many questions surrounding the Italian viola da gamba. While the histories of both the English and French viol have been fairly well documented the viol in Italy has remained shrouded in mystery and been neglected by present-day scholars. Can we rely on extant instruments whose authenticity is questionable? What can we make of iconography which depicts instruments with unfamiliar forms or in the hands of imaginary beings? How are we to interpret documents where linguistic clarity is questionable? How do we decipher the rote and repertoire the viol once played in this country of artistic supremacy? These are just some of the queries that were addressed at this symposium and that are offered here. For anyone interested in the viol this volume will begin to fill a serious lacuna and hopefully will be but the beginning of a more complete historical understanding of the role the viol played in Italy in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
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