Gross Geigen & Rybeben - North-Alpine ‚Viola da gamba‘ Ensembles in the Early 16th Century / Thilo Hirsch

I. Introduction

When Sebastian Virdung undertook the first attempt to classify the stringed instruments in his Music getutscht[1] in 1511, he could not have imagined that 500 years later there would be discussions about whether or not the depicted „Groß Geigen“[2] was actually a realistic stringed instrument and on what it could have been modeled. At least the qualifier “Gross” seems to indicate that the instrument is larger than the likewise described “clein Geigen”. However, in each case only a single instrument is illustrated in Virdung, so that no conclusions are possible concerning the formation of instrument families.

But when and where did the first larger stringed instruments, which were the prerequisite for an ensemble in three or four different registers, come into being? And how did they spread through Europe? In 1984, in his book The Early History of the Viol, Ian Woodfield advanced the hypothesis of a linear dissemination from Spain via Italy into the North-Alpine area.[3] But if you consider the various levels of European interconnection already extant before 1500 on the one hand,[4] and submit the (often only coincidentally preserved) sources to a critical inspection on the other, another explanation seems much more plausible: a nearly simultaneous appearance around 1500 in various European lands of larger stringed instruments for the expansion of the playable tonal compass into the low range. A part of this research project at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis was to develop a hypothesis for the reconstruction of an early North-Alpine “viola da gamba” ensemble. Three selected hypotheses and their basic principles are presented here.[5] A detailed version of this essay is to appear in late 2016 in the Basler Jahrbuch für Historische Musikpraxis.


II. Textual sources concerning ensembles of stringed instruments in the 15th and 16th centuries

For the comprehension of textual sources from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, it is always important to realize that many of the historical designations for stringed instruments (for example, viola, violone, vihuela, Geige, Rybebe, etc.) do not unequivocally indicate the playing technique, the size of the instrument, the manner of the subdivision of the strings, or the playing position. For these reasons, even the numerous extant sources, from as early as 1418, for three “Geiger,” “Gaijger,” “sonatori de viola,” “gygen,” and “gigern” cannot prove the existence of early ensembles of stringed instruments with different sizes of instruments and different ranges. These are much more likely to have been three vielle or rebec players (with instruments of the same size, played “da braccio”) of whom we cannot even be certain whether they really played together or only on the same occasion (for example, in a procession). This changed only in 1515 with the mention of three “Geigern,” and of four “geygern” in 1516, at the court of Maximilian I.[6] In connection with the illustrations in Maximilian I’s Triumphzug, it at least seems conceivable that this was an ensemble of stringed instruments in different sizes and registers.[7]

The first unequivocal evidence for a Gross-Geigen ensemble with at least three different sizes of instrument is the so-called Wiltzell manuscript from ca. 1523/24, which contains sixty-two pieces (mainly so-called tenor songs) for four and five “Geygen.”[8] A majority have concordances in the early song books that from ca. 1515 increasingly allude to the additional possibility of purely instrumental performance:

  • 1512 , [song book of Ehard Öglin], Augsburg
  • 1513, [song book of Peter Schöffer], Mainz
  • um 1515, [song book of Arndt von Aich], Cologne. The indication “to be used artfully with other musical instruments” appears here for the first time.
  • 1534 Der erst teil. Hundert vnd ainundzweintzig newe Lieder, Nuremberg (Hans Ott): “to serve on all kinds of instruments.”
  • 1539–1556 numerous other song books with the indication: “also to be used on instruments.”

Taken together, all these musical sources directly or indirectly associated with an ensemble of Gross Geigen represent an extensive discrete song repertoire that can be played by a four- or five-part ensemble of Gross Geigen.[9] Yet, what morphological characteristics did the North-Alpine Gross Geigen have? And what did a complete ensemble, with which the preserved music could be adequately executed, look like?


III. Three hypotheses for the reconstruction of an ensemble of Gross Geigen

A critical examination of the early textual sources by Sebastian Virdung, Martin Agricola, and Hans Gerle in conjunction with selected iconographical evidence forms the basis for the three variants of viola da gamba ensemble presented here.[10] The chronological approach is reversed, from the secure to the less secure hypotheses.

1. Model after Hans Gerle 1532:

Hans Gerle’s Musica Teusch auf die Instrument der grossen vnnd kleinen Geygen (Nuremberg 1532) is the earliest method to deal in detail with playing the viola da gamba (called “grossen Geygen” here) and its repertoire.[11]


Figure 1: Hans Gerle (~1500 – 1570), Musica Teusch, Nuremberg 1532,
title woodcut, photo: public domain

Iconographical comments

On the title woodcut of Musica Teusch, four morphologically similar Gross Geigen (in at least two different sizes) are depicted. The instrument on the far left side has only four strings, but five tuning pegs. The other Gross Geigen are each shown with four or five strings and six frets, but without bridges. On fol. [A4] of Musica Teusch is found yet another detailed woodcut with two “Geygen.”


Figure 2: Hans Gerle, Musica Teusch, Nuremberg 1532, fol. [A4]. photo: public domain.

The purpose of this latter illustration is to explain the string names and the tablature letters for “Geygen” with five and six strings. The size of the two depicted instruments cannot be determined, however they are probably not bass instruments, since Gerle only mentions five frets for them in the text.[12] The most important morphological characteristics of these two instruments are the convex upper bout at the neck, the pointed and rounded-off corners of the middle bout, the inward-facing C-shaped sound holes, the missing bridge (which is however unambiguously mentioned in the text),[13] the neck – which increases in thickness only slightly toward the base – with its seven double frets, and the sharply bent pegbox without a scroll or similar element as termination.

Indications in the text

In his four publications between 1532 and 1552, Hans Gerle described himself as a “citizen of Nuremberg,” “lutenist,” and “lute maker.”[14] In personal union, he was a musician[15] and instrument maker as well as the author of method books, and composer of music for lute and “Geygen.” The fact that Gerle republished Musica Teuschin 1546, fourteen years after its first appearance, with a nearly identical text, but new pieces of music, shows this method’s consistency with regards to content. Concerning the sizes, the number of strings, and the tuning of Gross Geigen, Gerle wrote the following (fol. aij v): “Whoever has the inclination and wish to learn the ‘grossen Geygen,’ must first look and be aware of how many strings the ‘geyg’ has, which he desires to learn, for some have five and some six, although five are really enough.” The tunings of the three instruments are given as follows (since, according to Gerle, the lowest string is not necessary, it is given here in square brackets):

Discant:  [a], d, g, h, e1, a1 (7 frets)
Tenor/Alt/Vagant: [D], G, c, e, a, d1 (7 frets)
Bass: [A1], D, G, H, e, a (5 frets)
The tuning pitch is, as on the lute, in each case just short of the breaking point of the highest string.[16]


Playing technique
To be found in Gerle are the very first details of viola da gamba playing technique: the “grossen Geygen” are held between the legs, yet not so low as to hit the bow against the legs.[17] The right hand should guide the bow straight and at the correct distance from the bridge, and only play on individual strings. The fingers of the left hand should not stop the strings on, but rather between the frets, and press the string firmly, “for otherwise it does not sound.” The fingerings are chromatic and remain only in first position (i.e., index finger on the first fret, middle finger on the second fret, etc.) Everything that goes higher is fingered with the (extended) small finger. Gerle’s print contains the following genres as repertoire for the Gross Geigen:

1532, Musica Teusch:

1546, Musica vnd Tabulatur:

  • 12 secular songs
  • 2 sacred songs
  • 1 instrumental piece (four-part fugue)
  • 8 secular songs
  • 1 sacred song
  • 12 chansons


The repertoire thus mainly consisted of vocal works that were intabulated for the Gross Geigen in German lute tablature. Beside the illustrations of the “grossen Geygen” in Gerle, there is a 1629 painting by Hans Baldung Grien that shows a morphologically very similar instrument.


Figure 3: Hans Baldung Grien, Frau mit weissem Hermelin, 1529,
Munich, Alte Pinakothek, detail,  photo: T. Hirsch.

A comparison of the depicted instrument (the size of the instrument in relation to the body size of the woman standing next to it) with the information in Musica Teusch concerning tuning, pitch level, and ambitus of the preserved repertoire allows the assumption that Baldung’s instrument very probably corresponds to Gerle’s treble Gross Geige. In contrast to Gerle’s woodcut, the painting offers an abundance of detail information that, in conjunction with further iconographic material,[18] can provide valuable clues for a reconstruction of a Gross-Geigen ensemble after Gerle.

2. Altdorfer / Burgkmair Model, ca. 1516–18

The earliest preserved illustration of two North-Alpine Gross Geigen in the same group of musicians is found in Hans Burgkmair’s Triumphzug of Maximilian I (printing block from 1517). In the first written “concept” from 1512,[19] the title of this illustration is “ain Musica mit Geigen. vnd lautten” (music with violins and lutes) and the verse for the inscription “Der lautten. vnd Ribeben ton” (the sound of the lutes and viols).[20] A further Gross Geige is depicted in the wagon of “süeß Meledey” (sweet melody; printing block from 1516–18).

Figure 4: Hans Burgkmair, Triumphzug Maximilians I.,
wagon of lute and ribeben players
, 1517,
detail. photo: T. Hirsch.
Figure 5: Hans Burgkmair, Triumphzug
of Maximilians I, wagon of 
„sueß Meledey”,
1516–18, detail, photo: T. Hirsch.


The three “Geigen” or “Ribeben” depicted in the Triumphzug display the following morphological characteristics: the pointed upper bouts are conclave at the neck. The middle bouts are relatively wide and have rounded-off corners. The flat bellies have inward-facing C-shaped sound holes, whereby the bridge visible on only one of the instruments is located on the lower third of the belly, far below the sound holes. The back on the instrument seen from behind is possibly laterally inserted into the downward extension of the neck. The thickness of the necks increase only slightly toward the base; the nearly flat finger boards are shown with different numbers of frets. The instruments have five or six strings, whereby the seven strings visible under the bow stick on one instrument are probably an engraving error (Figure 4, left viola da gamba). The sickle-shaped pegboxs are bent sharply backward and furnished with a single-loop scroll as termination.

Miniature Triumphzug
Prior to Burgkmair’s printed version, there already existed a version of the Triumphzug painted on parchment by Albrecht Altdorfer. Unfortunately, the first section of this so-called miniature Triumphzug is lost, and only various later copies have come down to us. In these, numerous elements were traced from the original, others however added freely. [21]


Abb. 6: Anonymus after Albrecht Altdorfer, called Miniature Triumphzug
of Maximilian I, Der Laüthen und Ribeben thon“, 1606, Madrid,
Biblioteca Nacional de España, detail, photo: T. Hirsch.


Since the instruments in the various copies deviate from one another in many details, I will only take into consideration here the morphological attributes that are consistent in all versions of the “Laüthen und Ribeben” (lutes and viols) wagon: the two depicted instruments each have a different body outline. The for the most part somewhat larger instrument on the right always has the characteristic corners on the upper bout and is always shown with frets. The upper edge of the bridge of the instrument on the left is depicted as being slightly rounded.


Excursus on the term "Ribebe"
Even the instrument name “Ribebe,” which is also found in the forms “Rybebe,” “Ribeba,” “Rebeba,” etc., raises questions.[22] It is used in North-Alpine sources for the first time in 1512 in the concept of the Triumphzug in addition to the designation “Geigen.” Mentioned by name is a North-Alpine “Ribeben-Geigen” player only in 1519 in an “Abrede” (a kind of employment contract) for the Salzburg court chapel between Cardinal Matthäus Lang and the musician Ulrich Schubinger.[23] The latter was a musician at the court of Isabella d’Este in Mantua from 1502 to 1518. However, in 1505 he was probably also for a short time in the service of Maximilian I in his home town of Augsburg.[24] Did he possibly bring a stringed instrument with special features with him from Mantua to the Habsburg court (and later to Salzburg) at this time? Or is it only a new, exclusive instrument name for the Gross Geigen?

In Italy the term “ribebe” was apparently common for a stringed instrument for the accompaniment of singing, as shown by the 1470 first edition of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decamerone.

Giovanni Boccaccio, Decamerone, Venedig 1470
Nona giornata, Novella quinta: „Ma laltro di recata la ribeba con gran dilecto di tutta la brigata canto piu canzoni con essa.“

In Italian iconography, there are several illustrations that show instruments with pointed corners on the upper bout. Could this have been the distinguishing feature of the “Rybeben”? One of these illustrations is found in Ferrara, the city in which the Augsburg-native Michael Schubinger, the brother of the above-mentioned Ulrich Schubinger, is documented from 1499 as “viola” player, and from 1502 also as “viola grande” player.[25] It is a ceiling fresco by Benvenuto Tisi in the Sala del Tresoro of Palazzo Constabili.[26] Alongside other musical instruments, a five-string instrument is depicted (together with a bow) lying on a balcony parapet.

Figure 7: Benvenuto Tisi called da Garofalo, ceiling fresco in the Palazzo
Costabili in Ferrara, ca. 1506, detail, photo: T. Hirsch.


In spite of intensive research, a number of questions with regard to a hypothetical “Rybeben” ensemble after Altdorfer/Burgkmair remain unresolved:

  • Does the instrument name “Rybeben” indicate a special kind of Gross Geige with characteristic pointed bouts and an Italian origin?

  • Is it an ensemble of morphologically similar or different instruments?

  • What sizes of instrument existed?
  • What repertoire was played on “Rybeben”? Was it the same as in Gerle, in as much as the latter also contains numerous works by musicians and composers at the court of Maximilian?


There are further depictions by Albrecht Altdorfer of the instrument model with the characteristic pointed upper bouts. However, since these come from different contexts, the question of whether these could be the different registers of a “Rybeben” ensemble must also remain unanswered.

Figure 8: Albrecht Altdorfer, The viol player,
1519–1525, detail, photo: Public domain.
Figure 9: Albrecht Altdorfer, Arion and a Nereide, 1520–1525, detail, photo: Public domain.


3. Virdung Model, 1511

Many musical instruments were depicted and named for the first time in Sebastian Virdung’s Musica getutscht of 1511. This makes it all the more difficult to cast doubts on an illustration like that of the “Groß Geigen.” But is it actually a realistic stringed instrument? Particularly the flat belly with a crossbar to which the strings were fastened would rather speak in favor of a plucked-string instrument.

Figure 10: Sebastian Virdung, Musica getutscht, Basel 1511, fol. Bij, photo: public domain

Astonishingly, in 2004 a fresco completed in 1476 by the Italian artists Francesco Pagano and Paolo da San Leocadio, who went to Spain in 1472 with the household of Rodrigo Borgia (the later Pope Alexander VI),  was rediscovered in the cathedral of Valencia.[27] The vihuela da mano illustrated here resembles Virdung’s “Groß Geigen” in so many details that one wonders if Virdung’s instrument was also originally based on a vihuela da mano. A vihuela da mano in indeed not mentioned by name in written North-Alpine sources until ca. 1570, but there are numerous depictions of plucked, guitar-like instruments, such as those among the music-making figures on Nuremberg’s Shrine of St. Sebaldus (executed ca. 1515–19) by Peter Vischer the Younger.

Figure 11: Francesco Pagano, Paolo da San Leocadio,
Music making angels
, 1476, detail: angel with vihuela da mano, cathedral of Valencia, photo: T. Hirsch.
Figure 12: Peter Vischer the Younger, Music makind figures on the Shrine of St. Sebaldus, 1515–1519, photo: Evang.-Luth.
Kirchengemeinde Nürnberg-St. Sebald.


Thus numerous unanswered questions exist for the hypothetical reconstruction of a Gross-Geigen ensemble after Virdung:

  • Is Virdung’s Gross Geige really a bowed string instrument or was a plucked-string instrument mistakenly depicted with a bow and erroneously labeled “Groß Geigen”?

  • Did the instrument serve for playing chords or could individual strings, apart from the outer strings, also be bowed?

  • In the event that the instrument existed in various ranges, was this an ensemble of morphologically similar or different instruments, and in which playing position were they used?[28]
  • What repertoire was played on these instruments around 1511? Was it the same song repertoire as in Gerle (including concordances with earlier songbooks)?


A number of images from the first third of the sixteenth century that display a Gross Geige with similar morphological characteristics as in Virdung “correct” Virdung’s woodcut by replacing the crossbar with a string-holder in conjunction with a raised bridge (partially implied only by a line), which is necessary for playing on individual strings (as a prerequisite for multi-part ensemble playing). Accordingly, the stringed instruments depicted by Urs Graf, Wolf Huber, and an anonymous painter could be realistically drawn or painted Gross Geigen in various ranges as well as a variation, supplemented by technically expedient elements, of Virdung’s model.

Fig. 13: Urs Graf, Woman with infant and fool, around
1525, detail, Basel,
Fig. 14: Anonymus, Allegory of music, ar. 1520, LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely
Collections, Vaduz–Vienna, Inv.-Nr. GE 202,
detail, photo: © LIECHTENSTEIN.
The Princely Collections, Vaduz–Vienna.

Fig. 15: Wolf Huber, Allegory of music, 1530, detail. From:
Wolfgang Pfeiffer, Ein Wandgemälde
von Wolf Huber
, Zeitschrift für
Kunstgeschichte, 26/1 (1963), 42.


IV. Outlook

In comparison to medieval stringed instruments, the source situation for the North-Alpine Gross Geigen after 1500 is extensive: there are first instrumental methods, numerous illustrations, and a broad repertoire. However, there are also elements, as, for example, the inner construction of the instruments, for which only indirect inferences are possible.[30] Even if numerous questions are still unanswered, a starting point – in conjunction with the knowledge gained about the Italian viola da gamba in the first part of this research project – for a reconstruction of an early North-Alpine “viola da gamba” ensemble seems given. At this point, further knowledge can probably be gained only through empirical tests in connection with an extensive, identifiable Gross Geigen repertoire. To provide an impression of this wonderful music, a sound sample for viola da gamba and lute from Hans Gerle’s Musica vnd Tabularur from 1546 follows.[31]

Sound sample:
Ludwig Senfl, Ich schwing mein Horn, Thilo Hirsch (renaissance viol), Marc Lewon (lute). Diminutions after Gerle and Neusidler by T. Hirsch. Live recording from the 2015 symposium in the Music Museum, Basel.


[1] Sebastian Virdung, Musica getutscht, Basel: Michael Furter, 1511, fol. [B2r].

[2] Since the orthography in the sources is always different, the term Gross Geige is used in this essay, where it is not a direct quotation.

[3] Ian Woodfield, The Early History of the Viol, Cambridge: University Press, 1984, 61–117.

[4] Concerning the close connections between Spain and the North-Alpine area, see, for example: Klaus Herbers, Nikolas Jaspert (ed.), "Das kommt mir spanisch vor" Eigenes und Fremdes in den deutsch-spanischen Beziehungen des späten Mittelalters, Münster: Lit Verlag, 2004.

[5] Concerning the fundamental problems of a reconstruction of music instruments, see: Thilo Hirsch, „Zur nachweisorientierten Rekonstruktion einer Renaissance-Viola da gamba nach Silvestro Ganassi“, in: BJbHM, Winterthur: Amadeus, 2015 (im Druck).

[6] Keith Polk, „Soloists and Ensembles in the 15th Century“, in: Early Music 18/2 (1990), 191: 1515, „Augsburg. BB, f. 28  three „geigern“ of Maximilian I. the players named were Casper and Gregorien Egkern and Jorigen Berner.“ and 1516, „Augsburg, BB, f. 28, four „geygern“ of Maximilian I, the players named were Caspar and Gregorien Egkern, Jorigen Berner and Heronimus Hagen.“

[7] Concerning Maximilian I’s Triumphzug, see also the essay by Martin Kirnbauer.

[8] München, Universitätsbibliothek, Ms. 718. – see also: Armin Brinzing, Studien zur instrumentalen Ensemblemusik im deutschsprachigen Raum des 16. Jahrhunderts, Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Rupprecht, 1998, 66–91.

[9] In contrast to the lute repertoire, the adoption of Italian or Spanish pieces is not documented in North-Alpine musical sources.

[10] Even more hypotheses would have been possible, for example, on the basis of the depiction of a string ensemble in the Musée de la Renaissance in Ecouen (circle of Hans Burgkmair, Music Ensemble, ca. 1520, Ec. 1949b). However, in my opinion, there is no apparent connection here to the preserved repertoire and textual sources.

[11] Hans Gerle, Musica Teusch / auf die Instrument der grossen vnnd kleinen, Nürnberg: Hieronymus Formschneider, 1532.

[12] Hans Gerle, Musica Teusch, Nürnberg 1532, fol. Aiijr.

[13] Hans Gerle, Musica Teusch, Nürnberg 1532, fol. Br: „Vnd befleis dich das du den bogen wann du geygst / gerad vnd eben auff den sayten nicht vber ein ort zufern odder zu nahendt von dem steg darauff die sayten ligen fürest“.

[14] Hans Gerle,  Tabulatur auff die Laudten, Nürnberg: Jeronymum Formschneider, 1533.

Hans Gerle, Musica vnd Tabulatur / auff die Instrument der kleinen vnd grossen Geygen, Nürnberg: Jeronimum Formschneyder, 1546.

Hans Gerle, Ein newes sehr künstlichs Lautenbuch, Nürnberg: Jeronimus Formschneyder, 1552.

[15] Johann Neudorffer’s Nürnberger Nachrichten (1547) reports that Gerle is “himself also proficient in lute playing, violin, and singing.” Cited in: Georg Wolfgang Karl Lochner (ed.), Des Johann Neudörfer Schreib- und Fechenmeisters zu Nürnberg Nachrichten von Künstlern und Werkleuten daselbst aus dem Jahre 1547 nebst der Fortsetzung des Andreas Gulden, Wien: Wilhelm Braumüller, 1875 (Quellenschriften für Kunstgeschichte und Kunsttechnik des Mittelalters und der Renaissance, Bd. X), 162.

[16] Hans Gerle, Musica Teusch, Nürnberg 1532, fol. [A4]v: „so zeuhe [...] die quint sayten in rechter maß wie du wildt / Doch nit zu hoch auff das sie es erleyden mög vnd nit zerspring“.

[17] The problem of holding the viol too low is also not unknown to today’s gamba pupil. In order to be able to bow the highest string near the bridge, the viol should not be held too low, since otherwise the point of the bow gets hung up on the left knee.

[18] In particular, the so-called Karlsruhe Sketchbook by Hans Baldung Grien. (Kurt Martin, Skizzenbuch des Hans Baldung Grien Karlsruher Skizzenbuch”, Basel: Phoebus-Verlag, 1959).

[19] Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, A-Wn Cod. 2835, fol. 3r-25r. In 1512 Marx Treitzsaurwein recorded the program of the Triumphzug that was dictated to him by Emperor Maximilian; cf. Franz Schestag, „Kaiser Maximilian I. Triumph“, in: Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen des Allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses 1 (1883), 154-81, 154.

[20] See note 8.

[21] Eva Michel, „Kopie nach Albrecht Altdorfer und Werkstatt [...]", in: Eva Michel, Maria Luise Sternath (Hg.), Kaiser Maximilian I. und die Kunst der Dürerzeit, München etc.: Prestel, 2012, 245.

[22] Since the orthography in the sources is always different, the term Rybebe is used in this essay, where it is not a direct quotation.

[23] Hermann Spies, „Beiträge zur Musikgeschichte Salzburgs im Spätmittelalter und zu Anfang der Renaissancezeit“, in: Franz Martin (Hg.), Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Salzburger Landeskunde, Salzburg: Selbstverlag, 1941, 66.

[24] Keith Polk, „Instrumental Music in the Urban Centres of Renaissance Germany“, in: Early Music History, 7 (1987), 162–163.

[25] William F. Prizer, "Bernardino Piffaro e i pifferi e tromboni di Mantova: strumenti a fiato in una corte italiana“, in: RIM 16/2 (1981), 163 und William F. Prizer, „Review“, in: JAMS 40/1 (1987), 100–101.

[26] As Ercole I. d’Este’s ambassador, Antonio Constabili visited the court of Maximilian I on a number of occasions. enciclopedia/antonio-costabili_(Dizionario_Biografico) (19.09.2015).

[27] Massimo Miglio et al., Rinascimento italiano e committenza valenzana. Gli angeli musicanti della cattedrale di València, Roma: Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo, 2011.

[28] In 1529, in his Musica instrumentalis deudsch, Martin Agricola “multiplied” Virdung’s woodcut by showing four instruments in slightly different sizes. However, Agricola did not use Virdung’s model to illustrate the “grossen Geigen” described in the text, but rather for an “ander art grosse odder cleine Geigen” (another kind of large or small violins) with only four strings. To make things even more confusing, the same woodcut was used in a new edition of Musica instrumentalis deudsch, which appeared in 1545, to illustrate the “grossen welschen [Italian] Geigen”.

[29] See also the essay by Martina Papiro.

[30] For example, the fact that in many illustrations the bridge is placed very far from the sound holes speaks against the use of a soundpost near the bridge.

[31] In the absence of a Gross Geigen, played on a reconstruction of an Italian viola da gamba (without soundpost and bass bar) after Silvestro Ganassi (1542/43).

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