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 and how to use it, click on "About". Brief instructions to get you started in searching the list are in "Help", below.

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

The following links open in a new window:

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.

A series of six documents (one each for viols made in England, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, and elsewhere) 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, a second group of eight documents offer a preliminary analysis of the extant viols contained in the database, discussing their distribution by maker, size, and current location and ownership. These are again organized by country of origin, namely England, France, Italy, Germany (basses), Germany (all other sizes), Austria, nine other so-called peripheral countries, and anonymous instruments.

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 below allows you to narrow down the search.
  2. "Choose Fields" selects what information will be displayed.
  3. "Sort Order" selects how the results will be sorted (then click "SEARCH & SORT" to refresh the results).
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