- Michael Tilmouth
- , revised by Basil Smallman
A composition for three string instruments. The term is generally used to refer to works from the Classical period to the present, scored either for two violins and cello or for violin, viola and cello; many Renaissance consort pieces and Baroque sonatas, however, were also written for three string instruments, either viols or violins, with or without continuo (see Sonata, §1).
The trio for two violins and cello was an outgrowth of the Baroque trio sonata, and many such works in the mid-18th century bore the title ‘sonata’, including trios by J.G. Schwanenberger, J.F. Reichardt and C.A. Campioni (Six Sonatas or Trio’s,c1764). There was a tendency at this time, as in much pre-Classical music, towards a texture in which the two violins were treated on more or less equal terms while the bass was used to provide harmonic support and a pulsating rhythm. In some cases (Campioni’s sonatas and Pugnani’s op.1, ...