Various distant violins number 12


All members of the viol family are played upright (unlike the violin or the viola, which is held under the chin). All viol instruments are held between the legs like a modern cello, hence the Italian name viola da gamba ( it. "viol for the leg") was sometimes applied to the instruments of this family. This distinguishes the viol from the modern violin family, the viola da braccio (it. "viol for the arm"). A player of the viol is commonly known as a gambist, violist / ˈ v aɪ əl ɪ s t / , or violist da gamba. "Violist" shares the spelling, but not the pronunciation, of the word commonly used since the mid-20th century to refer to a player of the viola . It can therefore cause confusion if used in print where context does not clearly indicate that a viol player is meant, though it is entirely unproblematic, and common, in speech.

Jefferson recorded only three violin purchases, although he probably had other violins, and a Monticello slave said his master kept three fiddles. One of these was supposed to have been a valuable Cremona instrument, and we know that Cremona and Stainer violins and copies were plentiful in Virginia by the mid-eighteenth century. In 1770 the Jefferson home at Shadwell burned, but according to family tradition, a slave saved one of the violins. After Jefferson's death, the estate tried to have the two violins he still owned sold in England, but it is not know if this actually occurred, or if the appraisals agreed that the supposed Cremona instrument was valuable. Although many "Jefferson violins" have appeared over the years, there is no evidence that any of them were actually owned by him. He gave his kit to his grandson Meriwether Lewis Randolph, but we do not have that instrument, either.


Various Distant Violins Number 12Various Distant Violins Number 12Various Distant Violins Number 12Various Distant Violins Number 12

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