It’s hard to describe how much fun it is to produce the wonderful sound you get drawing the bow along the string. Even greater is the experience of playing with other viols. Music for viols is often called "consort music."


In seventeenth-century England, many aristocratic men (and some women) learned the viol as part of their social education. Families and friends would gather to make music together; much of the great repertoire of English consort music was written for this kind of gathering. The imitative polyphonic style of this music emphasizes the equality of every player and creates a conversational atmosphere. Additionally, much of this repertoire is not technically challenging, allowing relative newcomers to take part in sophisticated music-making.


Across the U.S. and Canada, groups of all levels get together to play consort music. You will find viol players some of the friendliest, most welcoming people you will meet. If you are interested in learning to play the viol, check out our rental program and consider finding a teacher. We can supply a list of online teachers or you can find local players through our Chapters and Areas. We also offer many different grants and programs to support viol playing.

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