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Is there a distinguishing name for this stringed instrument that is, as best as I an find, otherwise referred to as a "five-string violin?"

"violin" with five strings

  • I don't think there is a special name. The five-string cello typically used fo Bach's solo suite #6 is also still called cello. – guidot Nov 26 '19 at 8:22
  • 5-string bass = 5-string bass. 6-string bass = 6 string bass. 7-string guitar = 7 string guitar, They're pretty accurate terms. Although tunings may vary. As in 5-string bass, low B. Maybe the tuning, if not ony one tuning, is an important factor in naming, as well. – Tim Nov 26 '19 at 8:57
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    Agreed with other comments. No special name seems to have emerged as yet, although the c-g-d'-a'-e'' violin/viola is a not uncommon instrument nowadays. My apprentice built one as her master instrument. – Scott Wallace Nov 26 '19 at 12:34
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    A sacrilegious one. – marcellothearcane Nov 27 '19 at 18:52
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They are simply called "five-string violins" in the English language, and usually combine the viola and the violin's ranges.

Other stringed instruments that have 5 strings are generally of the viol family, e.g. the pardessus de viole which could have 5 or 6 strings, or the quinton which specifically has 5 strings.

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  • So is it correct that quinton is a name specific to this instrument, but it has not been accepted into English (from French)? – feetwet Nov 26 '19 at 18:04
  • @feetwet After reading a translated version of the french wikipedia page, it looks to me like rather different instrument. The tuning has thirds in it instead of straight fifths, and often has frets. – luser droog Nov 26 '19 at 21:40
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    @feetwet The quinton is traditionally considered a member of the viol family; it is not a violin. However, there is some debate about how many violin characteristics it absorbed. Nonetheless, it is not the five-string violin. – Michaelyus Nov 27 '19 at 11:05
  • It might be mentioned that treble violas da gamba often had five strings (instead ot the more usual six nowadays). They sound better as a rule because there's less pressure on the belly. – Scott Wallace Nov 27 '19 at 20:36

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