Viola da Gamba Strings
An Italian term for the Viol. During the 16th century bowed string instruments were sometimes classified according to the way in which they were held during performance, the viol being designated 'leg viol' and the violin 'arm viol.' From the mid 17th century the bass instrument of the viol family was most regularly used, and 'viola da gamba' gradually assumed its modern specific meaning of bass viol. The abbreviated form 'gamba' is now frequently used. Courtesy of New Grove DMI © 1995.