Viola d'amore

Paolo Antonio Testore

Sforzesco Castle

Sforzesco Castle
Milan, Italy

The viola d'amore is a typical 18th century string instrument for which several composers, including Vivaldi and Bach, wrote musical compositions. It is generally moulded along the lines of the soprano viola da gamba, but is held and played like a violin. It has catgut strings that are pressed on the fingerboard and rubbed with the bow, and an equal number of metal strings that run under the fingerboard and vibrate as a result of an acoustic physical phenomenon called sympathetic resonance, thus resonating at certain frequencies. This specimen has six main strings and six sympathetic strings. A particular feature of this specimen is the shape of the sound holes that resemble a hybrid of the “F” design typical of violins and the "flame" design of the conventional viole d'amore. Having survived without undergoing changes, this viola presents completely original features, including the varnish.


  • Title: Viola d'amore
  • Creator: Paolo Antonio Testore
  • Date Created: 1739
  • Location: Comune di Milano - Museo degli Strumenti Musicali
  • Physical Dimensions: w21.2 x h73.8 x d4.7 (side height) cm (Complete)
  • Type: Musical instrument
  • Rights: Comune di Milano - Raccolte Artistiche del Castello Sforzesco.
  • External Link: http://strumentimusicali.milanocastello.it/
  • Medium: Maple, deal, beech, ebony
  • Art Form: Musical instrument
  • Original title: Viola d'amore
  • Artist Nationality: Italian
  • Artist Death Place: Milan (?)
  • Artist Death Date: 1767
  • Artist Birth Place: Milan
  • Artist Birth Date: 1700

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