The sixteenth-century basse de violon: fact or fiction? Identification of the bass violin (1535-1635). Page: 58
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alternative tuning G-d-a-e' is provided by Adriano Banchieri in 1609161 and Athanasius Kircher
The lower-pitched bass violin was tuned either Bb-F-c-g or C-G-d-a. The Bb-F-c-g
tuning is specified by Lanfranco,163 Jambe de Fer,164 Zacconi,165 Praetorius166 and Mersenne.167
Gerle168 and Praetorius described the C-G-d-a tuning. Hitzler's C-F-c-g tuning represents a
lower tuned bass violin, based on C instead of a Bb.169 Authors label the low bass violin by
placing the voice type "bass" in front of the general terms for "violin," such as basso violetta da
braccio & da arco (Lanfranco), kleine bass geyge (Gerle) bas de violon (Jambe de Fer), basso da
viola da braccio (Zacconi), Bas-Geig de bracio (Praetorius), Bass Geige (Hitzler),170 and basse
de violon (Mersenne).71 In this way, the diminutive words "klein" or "violetta" do not directly
indicate sizes of bass violins, but represent a generic nomenclature for violins.
It is most likely that the early bass violin with three strings was tuned F-c-g, as stated by
both Silvestro Ganassi172 and within Martin Agricola's first account from 1528.173 Agricola's
161Adriano Banchieri, Conclusions for Playing the Organ, transl. Lee R. Garrett (Colorado: Colorado
College Music Press, 1982), 48.
162Kircher, op. cit., 487.
163Lanfranco, op. cit., 137.
164Jambe de Fer, "Epitome Musical 1556," op. cit., 62.
165 Zacconi, op. cit., 171.
166Praetorius, op. cit., 39.
167Mersenne, op. cit., 243.
168Illingworth J. Pierce, "Hans Gerle: Sixteenth-century Lutenist and Pedagogue" (Ph. D. diss., University
of North Carolina Chapel Hill, 1973), 202-3.
169Schwindt, op. cit., 56.
170Kory, op. cit., 126.
171Mersenne, op. cit., 243.
172Ganassi, Lettione Seconda, op. cit., Capitolo xxiii.
173Agricola, op. cit., 51.
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Erodi, Gyongy Iren. The sixteenth-century basse de violon: fact or fiction? Identification of the bass violin (1535-1635)., thesis, August 2009; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc12121/m1/66/: accessed January 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .