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Classification Bowed string instrument
Related instruments

The arpeggione is a six-stringed musical instrument, fretted and tuned like a guitar, but bowed like a cello, and thus similar to the bass viola da gamba. The body shape of the instrument is, however, more similar to a medieval fiddle than either the guitar or the bass viol.

It enjoyed a brief vogue, perhaps a decade, after its invention around 1823, by the Viennese guitar maker Johann Georg Stauffer. The only notable piece extant for the instrument is a sonata with piano accompaniment by Franz Schubert, D.821, not published until 1871, when the arpeggione was long out of popularity. This sonata is now commonly played on the cello or viola, and many other instruments have received transcriptions as well.


  • Aquino, F. Avellar de. "Six-Stringed Virtuoso". The Strad Magazine, Harrow, Middlesex, UK, v. 109, n. 1297, p. 500–507, May 1998. About the arpeggione and Schubert's Sonata.
  • Sadie, Stanley, ed., The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 16, 6th. ed., London: Macmillan Press Limited, 1980. s.v. "Schubert, Franz" by Maurice J. E. Brown.
  • Tree, Michael, "Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata". The Strad Magazine, vol. 105, February 1994, p.142. Master-Class on Schubert's Sonata.

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