Viola da gamba 7-string missing

• May 28, 2015 - 13:32
S4 - Minor
by design

Spin off from #62276: Viola da gamba in 2.0 missing pizzicato and tremolo channels

Currently there is a Viola da gamba in instruments.xml, it does have 7-strings in its string data, but those are not the ones that should be in for a 7-string one?


I have to apologise, Jojo--I did a bit more digging this morning and you are correct: The default 'viola da gamba' comes up on the Staff Properties as having 7 strings, tuned to A1, D2, G2, c3, e3, a3, d4, which is indeed the standard tuning for a French gamba. The presentation of instrument characteristics in 2.0 makes this much clearer than it was in 1.3, but I had not looked beyond the names in the instrument list itself until you protested. I was relying on (what now seems like faulty) memory of 1.3 colouring C2s red in gamba parts.

Could this issue be modified to focus on clearing up the identification of the various gambas in the instrument list? Perhaps the addition of qualifiers, either parenthetical or not: Viola da gamba (7-string) or 7-string Viola da gamba, etcetera.


Phew, so my confusion was for good reason ;-)
There is currently only one Viola da gamba, and it has 7 strings, there is a comment in the file claiming that the 6-string variant had been removed as being a duplicate
Also tablature definition for the existing (7-string) one is set up to use a "tab6strFrench" tablature type, so there's a mismatch I think.
So I guess we'd need both, 6-string and 7-string Viola da gamba, with the appropriate string data and probably also with the appropriate tablature.

It is surely possible to split the current viola da gamba definition into a 6-string and a 7-string variants; in fact, when I initially added the instrument, the two variants where there.

But someone excepted (unfortunately I do not remember the details) and eventually the agreement was that the 6-string was not really necessary: if a piece does not need the 7th string, it will simply not use it.

The colour indication of note heads may make sense for modern, 'standard' instruments, but it is not really applicable to historic instruments. For Renaissance or Baroque pieces, the problem is not existent; for contemporary pieces (there are a few), it is the responsibility of the author to ascertain (s)he is writing within the possibilities of the instrument and (s)he would rather likely assume the 7-string instrument anyway.

Tablature is also not an issue: in viola da gamba tablatures -- as well in tablatures for lute or other Renaissance plucked instruments -- there are always 6 lines at maximum; notes on additional strings are indicated by various additional devices.

That said, if someone feels the need to come back to the previous decision and add the 6-string version back, he is welcome to do it!