Glasgow Viol Consort

Martin Barnett

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I am offering FREE viol lessons as an alternative to beginners who would otherwise be looking to learn the violin, viola, cello or double bass. Lessons will be taught in minimum groups of two and can occur weekly or fortnightly to suit your other commitments. The only cost you will encounter will be the hire fee for acquiring your own instrument. This is arranged through a highly reputable source and more information on be found on the Viol Hire page. The average hire cost for a month is £25, the same as my hourly rate, and if you chose to come for a weekly lesson then you are already saving a lot of money for the lifelong skill and enjoyment I will be able to help you achieve.



Why are lessons free!?

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What's on offer?

I am very passionate about teaching and have taught the violin and viola privately for nearly 10 years. I have a 100% pass rate for ABRSM and Trinity music exams and pay a lot of attention to technical detail to get the best out of my students. As an enthusiast for early music and historically informed performance, I am keen to see the viol regain popularity but as generous as this may sound, my reasons are purely selfish! There are many active viol communities across the United Kingdom and beyond but Scotland sadly lacks such opportunities. I am keen to help as many people as possible become confident viol players who enjoy getting together with others to make music with the eventual goal of forming the Glasgow Viol Consort.




Although the viol may look like a cello, it is more of a distant cousin rather than a predecessor to the 'violin family' of instruments we know today.


Like the violin family, the viol is a bowed instrument with a hollow resonating body and a number of strings running the length of the fingerboard which are tuned via the peg-box at the top of the instrument. One of the obvious differences is that it has more strings (usually six or seven), is tuned similar to a guitar, has frets and is played vertically, being held between the knees rather than being elevated by a metal spike like the cello. The viol bow is more curved than the cello bow and is held in a different manner to accomodate a softer playing method.


The viol comes in many shapes and sizes but the standard instruments used in consort (group) music making are the treble (small), tenor (medium) and bass (large). See the pictures below:



So what is a viol?

Welcome to the home of the Glasgow Viol Consort; a developing project aimed at

getting beginners of all ages interested in the viol with the eventual goal of forming consorts

of varying sizes and abilities. Please read below for more information.

A consort of viols from a recent rehearsal

From left to right: A Treble, Small Tenor, Large Tenor & Bass Viol

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