The Baryton: How a forgotten instrument is making a comeback
Gavin Dixon reports on the comeback of ‘the king of instruments’
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The early Baroque period was an experimental era for stringed instruments, and many elaborate designs – hybrids and radical restylings – briefly flourished. The baryton is one such instrument, incorporating elements of the lyra viol (a small viola da gamba) and the lute-like bandora. The result is an instrument with two sets of strings: the usual set at the front which are bowed or plucked (and are made of gut); and backstrings that run beneath the front set and behind the fingerboard, acting as sympathetic strings but with a window at the back of the neck allowing them also to be plucked, for example for pizzicato bass-lines (these are made of metal)…