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Scordatura [descordato, discordato] (It., from scordare: ‘to mistune’; Fr. discordé, discordable, discordant; Ger. Umstimmung, Verstimmung)locked

  • David D. Boyden,
  • Robin Stowell,
  • Mark Chambers,
  • James Tyler
  •  and Richard Partridge


A term applied largely to lutes, guitars, viols and the violin family to designate a tuning other than the normal, established one. Scordatura was first introduced early in the 16th century and enjoyed a particular vogue between 1600 and 1750. It offered novel colours, timbres and sonorities, alternative harmonic possibilities and, in some cases, extension of an instrument's range. It could also assist in imitating other instruments, and facilitate the execution of whole compositions or make possible various passages involving wide intervals, intricate string crossing or unconventional double stopping. North American and Scottish fiddlers commonly adopt ‘open’ tunings such as ...

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Rassegna musicale
Oxford, Christ Church Library
Washington, DC, Library of Congress, Music Division
Archiv für Musikwissenschaft
Zeitschrift der Internationalen Musik-Gesellschaft
D.D. Boyden: A History of Violin Playing from its Origins to 1761 (London, 1965)
G. Dodd, ed.: Thematic Index of Music for Viols (London, 1980-)
Revista de musicología
Acta musicologica
Musical Quarterly