Definition of viola da gamba in English:

viola da gamba

(also viol da gamba)


  • A viol, specifically a bass viol (corresponding to the modern cello).

    • ‘The young prince was ten years his junior, but enjoyed playing the harpsichord and viola da gamba when politics allowed.’
    • ‘This CD contains music that spotlights either two violas da gamba together, or viola da gamba with recorder.’
    • ‘The instrumental accompaniment is improvisatory, earthy and ingenious: lute, theorbo, guitar and harp continuo, plus up to a trio of violins, viola da gamba, a cornet and a gentle sprinkling of percussion.’
    • ‘The viola da gamba which features in four paintings seems likely to be the same instrument throughout, and in any case the dimensions of different instruments do not vary greatly.’
    • ‘The marvelous playing of the viola da gamba instrumentalist was particularly distinguished.’


Italian, literally ‘viol for the leg’.


viola da gamba