Viola D’Amore

vee-oh-lah duh-mor
The viola d'amore is a string chordophone instrument that is used particularly for playing the baroque era of classical music. The chief difference of a viola d’amore compared to a violin or viola is that it has six or seven strings compared to the traditional four, though it can have many more. The viola d’amore literally translates to “viola of love”.
History of the Viola D'Amore
The viola d’amore was developed in the 17th century as a new way of expressing the tone of a traditional viola. The first written records of a viola d’amore appear in the 1640s in Germany, though nobody is exactly sure how it came to get its name. There are additional strings, often called sympathetic strings, that are set underneath the played ones in order to create a fuller tone from the instrument. Variations of the viola d’amore can have as many as fourteen strings. The viola d’amore became popular with baroque composers and was famously utilised by German composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach also adopted the oboe d’amore during this time. The viola d’amore is a much more rare instrument today though it still finds use for playing this genre and era of classical music
Inventor: Unknown

Where to Buy

£300 - £1,000

Hear the Viola D'Amore

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How to Play

A stringed instrument similar to a viola, but with additional sympathetic strings that vibrate in resonance with the played strings. It's played with a bow and is often used in Baroque and Classical music.

In Popular Music

The viola d'amore is not often used in popular music as it suits baroque classical music, but it is suspected to have been used uncredited by artists such as Pink Floyd and Nick Cave. The viola d'amore has been featured in classical music pieces such as St John Passion by JS Bach and the ballet of 'Romeo and Juliet' by Sergei Prokofiev

Famous Players

Fabio Biondi, Jordi Savall

Close Relations

Viola, Violin
Video Credit: Academy of Ancient Music
Understanding the Viola D'Amore




17th century






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