Viola d'Amore Strings
A kind of viola popular during the late 17th and 18th centuries; also a stop on the Romantic organ that imitates its timbre. Normally the viola d'amore is about the size of a viola but with the physical characteristics of a viol: flat back, wide ribs flush with the top and back, sloping shoulders, and a carved head at the top of the pegbox. The soundholes are commonly in the shape of a 'flaming sword' and there is usually an additional rosette. The instrument is held under the chin and is played like a violin; it is unfretted. Its tone, though not as brilliant or powerful as that of the violin or viola, is similarly sweet. Usually there are 14 strings: seven playing strings, which cross the top of the bridge, and seven sympathetic strings, which run through the bridge and under the fingerboard into separate pegs in the pegbox. Various instruments, however, may have various combinations of playing and sympathetic strings. Courtesy of New Grove DMI © 1995.