A tenor violin
is an instrument with a range between those of the cello
and the viola
. An earlier development of the evolution of the violin family of instruments, the instrument is not standard in the modern symphony orchestra
. Its tuning, typically G-D-A-E - an octave below the traditional violin places the range between the cello
and viola and thus is sometimes confused with the modern baritone violin
which has the same tuning on the standard violin body. As a formal development, the 17th century tenor violin existed as an instrument with a body larger than a viola but with a short neck. In earlier designs, the tenor was played upright in the musician's lap.
Improvements in string technology in the 18th century led to greater focus of sound coming from the viola and cello ranges leading to a diminished role for tenor violins and violin makers constructed fewer of these instruments. It is known that Antonio Stradivari constructed two different models of tenor violin as well as tenor variations of violas.
Sometimes versions of the tenor violin are also called violottas.
Extant Tenor Violins
Kory, Agnes "A Wider Role for the Tenor Violin?". The Galpin Society Journal
Vol. 47 (Mar., 1994): pp. 123–153.