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.’
    • ‘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 marvelous playing of the viola da gamba instrumentalist was particularly distinguished.’
    • ‘This CD contains music that spotlights either two violas da gamba together, or viola da gamba with recorder.’
    • ‘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.’


Italian, literally ‘viol for the leg’.


viola da gamba