Infobox Instrument

*Bowed string instrument
* Cello
* Arpeggione
* Viol
* Double bass
The violone (literally "large viol" in Italian, "-one" being the augmentative suffix) is a musical instrument of the viol family. The largest/lowest member of that family, the violone is a fretted instrument with six strings (although some versions had five, or, more rarely, four strings), generally tuned a fifth or an octave below the bass viol. Thus, the violone can properly be called a contrabass instrument, being tuned lower than the bass instrument. The name is also used sometimes for the 8' bass violin (cf. violoncello).


The violone is most often used today as the contrabass bowed string instrument in early music groups performing Renaissance and early Baroque music. Only a few players specialize in the instrument, with most using contemporary reproductions rather than actual historical instruments.


After the decline of the other members of the viol family, the violone continued to have a place in orchestral music and, for example, Bach scored his cantatas for violone as the contra-bass instrument. It was eventually ousted by the modern double bass.


It is important to understand the etymology of the term "violone." "Violone" is a conjugation of the word "viola," not of the English word "viol," which is contemporarily used to refer to a member of the "viola da gamba" family. When use of the word "violone" began in the early sixteenth century, "viola" simply meant a bowed, stringed instrument, and did not specify viol or violin. Historically "violone" has referred to any number of larger fiddles, regardless of family. Sixteenth century instruments that at some time were (not incorrectly) called "violone" include the vihuela d'arco, or early viol, and later the bass violin (direct ancestor of the cello).

The term "violone" is sometimes used to refer to the modern double bass, which belongs almost as much to the viol family as to that of the violin, having sloped shoulders, a flat back (often) and tuning in fourths. The double bass, unlike the original violone, is an unfretted instrument.

"Violone" is also the name given to a non-imitative string-tone pipe organ stop, constructed of either metal or wood, and found in the pedal division at 16' pitch (one octave below written pitch), or, more rarely, 32' (2 octaves below written pitch).

External links

* [ What is a Violone?] by Tharald Borgir & Alfred Planyavsky
* [ Violone photos]

ee also

*Double bass

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Violone — Le terme violone vient de l’italien et signifie « grande viole » . Historiquement, il ne désigne rien de plus qu’un « instrument grave à cordes frottées », qui peut être à trois, quatre, cinq ou six cordes accordées… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Violone — Violone. Moderner Nachbau eines historischen Instruments Der Violone ist ein historisches Streichinstrument der Gambenfamilie. Wegen der Bauart gilt er als Brückeninstrument von der Gambenfamilie zum Kontrabass. Er wird im Gegensatz zu den Gamben …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • violoné — violoné, ée [ vjɔlɔne ] adj. • 1930; de violon ♦ Arts décoratifs En forme de violon (caractéristique du style Louis XV). Fauteuil à dossier violoné; spatule violonée d une fourchette. ● violone nom masculin (italien violone, grosse viole)… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Violone — Vi o*lo ne, n. [It. violone, augment. of viola a viol. See {Viol}.] (Mus.) The largest instrument of the bass viol kind, having strings tuned an octave below those of the violoncello; the contrabasso; called also {double bass}. [Written also… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Violōne — (ital., »große Viole«; auch Contrabasso da Viola, Baßviole etc. genannt), ein zur Familie der Viola (s. d.) gehöriges Instrument, das vor dem Aufkommen des Kontrabasses (17.–18. Jahrh.) die tiefsten Oktaven im Orchester vertrat, bis es von dem… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • violone — [vyō lō′nā] n. [It, aug. of viola, viol, VIOLA1] the largest and lowest pitched viol …   English World dictionary

  • Violone — Un violone pintado ca. 1640 por Sir Peter Lely, pintor barroco anglo holandés, mostrando un gran instrumento bajo con forma de violonchelo pero con un largo diapasón y tocado con el arco palma arriba, a la manera de las violas da gamba. Un… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Violone — Vi|o|lo|ne 〈[ vi ] m.; s, lo|ni; Mus.〉 = Kontrabass [ital., „große Viola“, Vergrößerungsform von viola] * * * Vi|o|lo|ne, der; s, …ni, ugs.: s [ital. violone, eigtl. = große Viola]: Kontrabass. * * * Viol …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Violone — Vi|o|lo|ne der; [s], Plur. s u. <aus gleichbed. it. violone, eigtl. »große Viola«; vgl. 2↑Viola>: 1. Vorgänger des Kontrabasses. 2. eine Orgelstimme …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • Violone — (т. е. viola больших размеров) это контрабас, но не такой большой, как нынешний. Он имел большею частью три, а не четыре струны, как современный контрабас …   Энциклопедический словарь Ф.А. Брокгауза и И.А. Ефрона

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