Instruments | Arpeggione | Early Romantic | Classical
A bowed string instrument, the arpeggione was invented in Vienna by J. G. Stauffer in 1823–24. A kind of bass viol, with soundholes like a viol, it is waisted, but shaped more like a large guitar than a viol or double bass. Six-stringed and with metal frets, it was tuned E, A, d, g, b, e’. The arpeggione was played by Vincenz Schuster, who wrote a tutor for the instrument, and Heinrich August Birnback (1782–1848), who wrote a concerto for it. The main reason for the arpeggione’s continuing fame, however, is a sonata written for Schuster by Schubert in November 1824. This piece is now normally played on either the cello or the viola.
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