Viola da Gamba Society of America – Database of Historical Viols

The VdGSA is pleased to provide an on-line and searchable version of the Peter Tourin/Thomas MacCracken list of extant historical viols. For information about the list, click on "About". Brief instructions to get you started in searching the list are in "Help", below.

The On-line Database of Historical Viols was prepared by, and is maintained by, Thomas MacCracken. The entire contents are copyright © Thomas MacCracken.

Please view the Introduction for more information about this project.

Additions, updates and corrections are most welcome; please contact the compiler at

Additional Documentation to Accompany the Online Database of Historical Viols
In addition to the database itself, users may wish to consult several documents containing supplemental information. The first is a combined bibliography and discography of sources cited in the fields titled Info Source, Literature, Photos, and Recordings. This expands the abbreviated author-date references found there by giving full names, titles, and places of publication for books and articles, or label names and catalogue numbers for recordings.

Five documents (one each for English, French, German, Italian,and Austrian viols) contain brief biographical sketches of the luthiers who are credited with having made the viols listed in the database. These are not based on any original research by the compiler, but simply aim to bring together information found in standard reference works and a selection of more specialized publications, though in many cases very little is known about the makers in question. As with the instruments themselves, additions and corrections concerning the lives of their makers are warmly invited in order to fill out what is for the most part a regrettably sketchy picture: please contact the compiler at

Finally, six more documents offer a preliminary analysis of the extant English, French, German bass, German non-bass, Italian, and Austrian viols currently contained in this online version of the complete database, discussing their distribution by maker, size, and current location.(German viols are covered in two separate documents, one for basses and one for all other sizes.)

How to search the database
Basic search:
  1. Select something from each of the three boxes below to state what you are looking for.
  2. Click "SEARCH & SORT".

More control:

  1. The "+" button allows you to narrow down the search
  2. "Choose Fields" selects what information will be returned
  3. "Sort Order" selects how the results will be sorted
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