The lirone (or lira da gamba) is the bass member of the lira family of instruments that was popular in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. It is a bowed string instrument with between 9 and 16 gut strings and a fretted neck. When played, it is held between the legs in the manner of a cello or viol (viola da gamba).
The Lirone is a bowed string instrument with between 9 and 16 gut strings. It is held between the legs in the manner of a cello or viol and like the viol its neck is generally fretted. Its flattened bridge allows for the playing of chords of between three and five notes. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians describes it as essentially a larger version of the lira da braccio, which has a similar wide fingerboard, flat bridge, and leaf-shaped pegbox with frontal pegs.
The lirone was primarily used in Italy during the late 16th and early 17th centuries (and particularly in the time of Claudio Monteverdi) to provide continuo, or harmony for the accompaniment of vocal music. It was frequently used in Catholic churches, particularly by Jesuits.
Despite the resurgence in Baroque instrument performance during the 20th century, only a handful of musicians play the lirone. Notable performers on the instrument include Erin Headley of England, Hille Perl and Claas Harders of Germany, Annalisa Pappano of the United States, Laura Vaughan of Australia, and Paulina van Laarhoven of the Netherlands.
- Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. L. Macy (accessed 11 November 2006)
- Pio Stefano (2012). Viol and Lute Makers of Venice. Venezia, Italy: Venice research. p. 441. ISBN 9788890725203.
- "Baroque Musical Instruments". Catacoustic Consort. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
- Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. L. Macy - Erin Headley, "Lirone"
- Claas Harders
- Laura Vaughan
- Paulina van Laarhoven
- Erin Headley. "Lirone", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (accessed November 11, 2006), grovemusic.com (subscription access).
- John Weretka. "Homer the lironist: P.F. Mola, Art and Music in the Baroque"