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The presence of multiple strings and frets on the lyra-viol, a long-extinct 17th-century “lyre” akin to the viola da gamba, allows the instrument to accompany itself.
That makes it much more than a solo instrument, as this anthology of music from England and Holland demonstrates: you are constantly astonished by the variety of conversations going on within each musical dance.
Smith’s approach to this specialist but diverting repertoire, sourced from an obscure British Library manuscript, is a judicious mix of the scholarly and the pragmatic.
Tickle the Minikin (17th-century lyra-viol music)
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