Violone

LUMVIOLONEGThe G-Violone was the most common form of violone during the 17th and early 18th centuries. Schütz (Musicalische Exequien, 1636) referred to it as ‘the most convenient, agreeable and best instrument to go with the concertato voice with the accompaniment of a quiet organ’. It was tuned G1–C–F–A–d–g and was the customary instrument used for continuo work, specified for such by J. S. Bach and many others. The advantage of a violone was that it could accompany both at 8-foot pitch and also 16-foot pitch as the occasion required, doing the service of both a cello and a double bass, but with the softer, more nasal tonal qualities of the viol. Walther noted with approval the old violone as preferable to the harsher bass violin (cello); but by the time of J. J. Quantz (Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen, 1752) it is stated that the violone ‘has justly been abandoned’. By this time the double bass had become more popular.