On making barytons: Kogl 1679

April 22, 2011

Kogl 1679

There is no picture of this extant baryton from the 17th century, but plans for making it are available.

Currently located in the Institut fur Muiskforschung, Berlin, it was made in Vienna by Hans Kogl in 1679.

Gartrell in her book gives the following dimensions: total length, 122.6cm, body length, 60.8; length of bowed strings, 65.7, maximum length of plucked string, 91. It is a plain instrument with 6 bowed strings and 9 plucked strings. There is apparently a reference to it in “The Baryton”, Consort 23 (1966):121 by Janos Liebner.

This instrument pre-dates the first publication of music for the bartyon around 1700 by Krause, but commentators in the late 17th century link the instrument to music for solemn or mournful occasions. Thus it was used as an obbligato instrument for four of the arias in Emperor Leopold I’s arias in his Miserere per la Settimana Santa (c.1660).

While the published dances for amateurs and professionals of Krause stand 20 years after the Kogl instrument was made, 20 years before saw three baryton pieces composed by John Jenkins and ending up in the Kassel collection. For me, then, the Kogl instrument makes a nice bridge between the English viol repertoire and the burgeoning baryton on the Continent in northern Germany. To quote Gartrell:

By the opening of the eighteenth century, the baryton had made its way from England to northern Germany. Its repertory consisted largely of music arranged from the lute and lyra viol music of the day. Its fame, progress, and reputation sat within the four closely related courts of England, Wurttemberg, Brandenburg and Kassel, and a small group fo mobile composer-performers were responsible for its dissemination and growing reputation. This, then is the apotheosis of the baroque baryton, an instrument defined by its role as a solo, self-accompanying instrument and at the peak of its development.

In Gartrell’s inventory of extant baryton manuscripts, music from c.1679 would have to include the Gottfried Finger 7 Suites for gamba and accompanying baryton; the four arias with obbligato baryton by Emperor Leopold I and Antonio Draghi’s aria, I miei sensi, with baryton obbligato from La vita nella morte.


Gartrell, Carol A. A History of the Baryton and its Music.

Musikinstrumenten-Museum des Staatlichen Instituts fur Musikforschung, Berlin. Verziechnis der technischen Zeichnugnen. Catalogue number Z 86, 10 euros. M1:1, Aussenansicht Decke.


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