Baritone: description of the instrument, what it looks like, composition, history

Baritone: description of the instrument, what it looks like, composition, history

In the XNUMXth-XNUMXth centuries, bowed string instruments were very popular in Europe. This was the heyday of the viola. In the XNUMXth century, the attention of the musical community was attracted by the baritone, a member of the string family, reminiscent of the cello. The second name of this instrument is viola di Bordone. The contribution to its popularization was made by the Hungarian prince Esterhazy. The music library has been replenished with unique creations written for this instrument by Haydn.

Description of the tool

Outwardly, the baritone looks like a cello. It has a similar shape, neck, strings, is set during the Play with an emphasis on the floor between the musician’s legs. The main difference is the presence of sympathetic strings. They are located under the neck, used to enhance the sound of the main ones. The sound is produced with a bow. Due to the vertical arrangement, the playing technique is limited. The sympathetic strings are excited by the thumb of the right hand.

Baritone: description of the instrument, what it looks like, composition, history

Device baritone

The musical instrument has a similar structure to the viola. The oval-shaped body with an open box for sound extraction has a “waist” for the removal of the bow. The number of main strings is 7, less often 6 is used. The number of sympathetic strings varies from 9 to 24. Resonator holes are arranged in the form of a snake. The neck and headstock are wider than those of related instruments. This is due to the large number of strings, for the tension of which two rows of valves are responsible.

The timbre of the baritone is juicy, similar to the vocal definition. In musical literature, it is notated in the bass clef. The range is wide due to the large number of strings. It was most often used in orchestral performance, in the works of Haydn it often had a solo role with alternating rhythm from fast to slow. The orchestra also included other representatives of the bowed family – cello and viola.

Baritone: description of the instrument, what it looks like, composition, history


The baritone became especially popular in the middle of the XNUMXth century. It was promoted by the Hungarian prince Esterhazy. At the court during this period, Joseph Haydn served as bandmaster and composer. He wrote plays for court musicians. The ruling dynasty paid great attention to the development of culture, music sounded in the palace and park complexes, paintings were exhibited in the halls.

When the new baritone instrument appeared, Esterhazy wanted to surprise the world with beautiful pieces and playing skills. The court composer managed to create a number of masterpieces in which the baritone surprisingly combines with the cello and viola, contrasts the sound of plucked strings with bow strings.

But he did not long attract the attention of musicians. The literature for this instrument is scanty, insignificant. The complexity of the Play, the tuning of numerous strings, and the unusual technique caused oblivion for this “relative” of the viols. The last time his concert sound could be heard was in Eisenstadt in 1775. But the passion of the Hungarian prince was the impetus for writing works for baritone, which went far beyond the limits of his palace halls.

Haydn Baryton Trio 81 - Valencia Baryton Project

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