The early violin and viola : a practical guide


The early violin and viola : a practical guide

Robin Stowell

(Cambridge handbooks to the historical performance of music)

Cambridge University, 2001

  • : pbk

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Includes a bibliography (p. 213-223) and index



This practical guide is intended for all violinists and viola players who wish to give - or to understand and appreciate - historically aware performances of early music for their instruments. It comprises discussion of the literature, history and repertory of the violin and viola, the myriad relevant primary sources and their interpretation, and the various aspects of style and technique that combine to make up well-grounded, period performances. It also considers various related family instruments, contains practical advice on the acquisition of appropriate instruments, and offers suggestions for further reading and investigation. Many of the principles outlined are put into practice in case studies of six works composed c.1700-c.1900, the core period which forms this series' principal (though not exclusive) focus. Music by Corelli, Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Brahms is examined with a view to recreating performances as faithful as possible to the composer's original intention.


  • 1. Historical performance in context
  • 2. The repertory and principal sources
  • 3. Equipment
  • 4. Technique
  • 5. The language of musical style
  • 6. Historical awareness in practice 1: three eighteenth-century case studies: Corelli, Bach and Haydn
  • 7. Historical awareness in practice 2: three nineteenth-century case studies: Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Brahms
  • 8. Related family members.

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